Benjamin Moore Color Samples - quality

graywings123February 26, 2011

On the label of a pint of paint:

Usage: Benjamin Moore Color Samples contain premium quality interior paint and are intended for color representation only.

I asked the guys at the store whether it could used as wall paint and they were quick to discourage me, saying the paint would not hold up. Does this make sense?

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Lori A. Sawaya


Paint is a recipe. To make the full recipe takes a list of ingredients. Some of those ingredients are expensive - all ingredients add to cost.

'You get what you pay for' is so very true when talking about paint - the adage applies incredibly accurately in this case.

They (paintmongers) have done the math. Expensive paint costs more because you are getting more expensive and higher quality ingredients in expensive paint recipes.

You can build in a little up-charge percentage for a name brand label - but it's the fair market that controls how much that 'name brand up-charge' can actually be - it is not the bulk of the cost. Plus, for that brand name up-charge you are (usually) getting something for it - like bona fide paint & color expertise and service.

Cheap paint is lesser - plain and simple it is lesser in quality because its ingredients are lesser in quantity and/or quality. And it is priced accordingly.

Which brings us to paint samples.

A paint sample's recipe is adjusted to what the market is willing to spend on a sample pot of paint. In the case of samples that often means "performance properties" of the ingredients are the first to be whacked off the list of ingredients in order to cut the overall cost down to $3.00, $4.00, $5.00, etc.

If the market says samples should cost $5, then you're getting $5 worth of paint in the pot - sans those "performance properties".

No "performance properties" means the paint quality is exactly just enough to accurately preview color -- and that's it. Nothing else.

It's not built for long-term durability, washability, and/or lightfastness could be compromised meaning shine a flashlight on the wall for ten minutes and the color will fade.

A flashlight might be a slight exaggeration.

If the staff at your store advised you that their samples are "are intended for color representation only" then they are telling you their samples are not their *real* paint recipe.

Many of the paint brands that have actually packaged their *real* paint recipe in sample pots will be soon be phasing out their sample pot programs. Instead they will be crafting solutions to promote purchasing whole quarts of *real* paint for the paint color sampling process.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 7:34PM
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Just seconding what funcolors said. The BM hotline told me that the paint sample pints are essentially "watered down" versions of their paint. Might work on a craft project or something, but not designed to hold up like real wall paint.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 9:20PM
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I hear what you are saying but it seems false advertising to call it premium quality interior paint. I paid $7 for the pint which computes to $56 a gallon. You can buy Regal in the $30 range.

I'm putting it to the test. I have a bathroom painted in Ben Moore Straw, except for an area behind a storage unit that was left blue. I've removed the cabinet and have begun painting with the sample paint.

Here is the before pic. No matter how poorly the sample performs, it's going to be an improvement. The sample is a spot-on match with the existing paint.

This will be a good test for fading given the presence of the window.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 9:20AM
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The money is never going to equal out ounce for ounce. When any of my customers are debating about whether or not a quart of paint will be enough, I remind them that 2 quarts of paint is about the same cost as a gallon; kind of like Costco & bulk discounts. With samples, you're paying for the convenience of trying a color. Notice that the "premium quality interior paint" isn't identified as any of their paint lines (ben, Regal, Aura, etc.). I'm not sure which ingredients the BM samples skimp on (my guess would be the hide & adhesion elements?), but even on your wall, I don't think it could be any worse than the cheap paint many people use! Like off-label uses of anything, though, if it doesn't work out, BM can say they warned you.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 4:30PM
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