Ok, I'm paint ignorant... Help me with my new house

midwestmamaJuly 24, 2010

We are building a new house. It is getting close to painting time. I am hiring that part done... we entertained the thoughts of doing it ourselves, but its an issue of time. We have always painted all of our rooms etc... I have NEVER bought expensive paint before. I did once buy Behr at $22 per gallon (which about killed me) because I was using the exact same kind the previous owner had.

Can someone please tell me what I have been missing by buying cheap paint? Most of the painters we've interviewed had said they use SW. One does Pittsburg, and a few have us buy our own.

Our exterior is hardi plank pre primed. Our inside is all drywall and oak trim (some to be stained, some to be painted)

Why is some paint better than another? What do I need to know? We live in Iowa, HOT HUMID summers, FREEZING COLD winters. We have 4 boys and live in the country, so lots of mud, dirt, etc...

Thanks for your help! I was so exciting to discover the paint forum! I had never even noticed it before!

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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

What do you want to know? Cheap paint is just that, cheap. It is cheap because it is made with cheaper products and will not hold up well. It is you're home, do what you want with it but if it were me I would buy the BEST paint possible. This is what you are going to live with and look at every day from now on. I do not understand the mentality of using cheap inferior paint. You have spent countless dollars on building a new home and then want to finish it with some crappy paint( Behr would be in this category).Now is the time to do it right, hire professional painters who will treat your home right with quality primers and paint. Anything from the big box stores does not involve quality and if the painters suggest that, you need to look for different painters.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 5:23AM
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Lots and lots of people use Behr paint and they are perfectly happy with it, in the same way that lots of people drive a Hyundai rather than a Lexus. I've used Behr Premium Plus Ultra a couple of times and it has been fine. But then, I am happy drinking box wine, and if I posted a similar question on a wine connoisseur forum, the reaction from an expert would be the same as the above.

The big cost of your project is in hiring the painters. They are probably going to have a brand they prefer to use.

Yes, it is shocking how much paint costs. Your paint is more likely to run about $30 and up per gallon.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 8:11AM
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It's okay to use cheap paint on drywall. That will not hurt anything. In fact, cheap flat paint will hide drywall seams and look best in critical light. But, if you bump the walls, it will show as a dull spot...this is the drawback to using flat paint. You just can't touch your walls and will have zero durability. The time to buy expensive paint is when you are looking for washability. Cheap washable paints will look bad (flashy) on the walls and will not clean well. It is also important to use good paint outside....cheap paint outside, just why? The last thing you want is peeling and failing paint in two years. You also want to use high quality paint on your interior trim.

As for the painters, it is not so important that you know which brand they are using, but the exact product. All manufacturers sell low grade paint. It is up to the painter to choose which grade and this is where the homeowner can get blindsided because they don't ask. Also, painters that ask you to supply the paint could mean that they don't understand the difference between good paint and bad themselves and this could be a bad sign. Why would I as the pro painter ask my customer to pick and supply the paint? I know what paints I like and I know why I like them and it is my job as the painter to educate the customer, not the other way around. You want to find a contractor that sounds like he knows his stuff...these guys that think paint is paint you should not hire.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 8:23AM
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Not certain if you are speaking about painting for the exterior or interior.

Hardi Plank is, I believe, a concrete product. Therefore pretty unafffected by mositure and a quality latex paint should be fine.

For the interior, I always provide rather contrary advise for new construction. That is to select a neutral paint which will please you for the first year. During that time you can get a feel for the lighting, furnishings and personal preferences for your new home to repaint - which will then be necessary.

Reason it will be necessary is that during the first year your home will settle and the materials will dry. Accordingly you will begin to see nail pops and taping seam splits. These are inevitable and is why your builder will provide a 1-year follow-up inspection to repair these issues. But they won't repaint - that's your job! That's when a quality paint will be your best investment because better paints generally cover more area per gallon, cover in fewer coats, clean better and maintain their appearance for more years. Truly a $40 per gallon paint is worth the difference (and quite possibly less costly) unless you're planning to move shortly after completing the paint job. Personally I like SW Duration but many here like BM Aura - both top-of-the-line products. I'm not a fan of Behr, though I used it in our basement. I felt is was unusually thick and applied differently, and after about 5 years I notice it getting a chalky surface.

Where in Iowa? I grew up on a farm near Newton and went to college in Iowa City. Know the climate well!

Enjoy your new home.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 2:00PM
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I will be looking more in depth at which exact paints they use, as the bids have just included general things like Sherwinn Williams, but not the specific paint.

I have heard that a lot will settle in the first year. We are general contracting it ourselves and so there is no one year check up per se, but we get to fix it all as we go. My neighbors parent's just had everything sprayed white due to this. Then when the year was up they changed up colors. But many of the rooms didn't need fixing and I would like to have some color along that year.

I had never really thought about how paint could be better or worse. However, in hindsight, we've had some really crummy paint. I won't get into those stories now, but I gave up and went to spray paint once because the paint was so bad... seriously. (painting furniture vs walls though)

As to where in Iowa... I am from Muscatine, but we currently live in Ankeny and are building in the country East of Des Moines (technically Runnells) I also went to U of I for a little while. Graduated from ISU.

We certainly plan on enjoying this house. It has become my full time job and we have learned a lot through this process. It is definately OUR HOME, not just a house.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 9:00PM
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A basic builders' grade paint for new drywall will be fine for now.

Generally builders spray, then back-roll a very basic combination primer/paint in an off-white color. Then after the first year, following any wall repairs, a quality top coat will adhere fine.

Go to a paint retailer and ask about their various paint grades. There are many quality brands. Since you are doing your own general, some may provide a contractor discount (probably 20%). Keep in mind, your painter will probably charge additional if you furnish paint because that 20% is part of his profit margin to do the job.

Yes, Ankeny area is growing around Des Moines. They say everyone should build once. We have, enough said. I know you will enjoy the new home and it sounds like you're in the final stretch.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 9:26AM
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"I had never really thought about how paint could be better or worse. However, in hindsight, we've had some really crummy paint. I won't get into those stories now, but I gave up and went to spray paint once because the paint was so bad... seriously. (painting furniture vs walls though)"

You know that spraying furniture is actually sometimes a better way to do it? No brush lines! :)

In the past I have used Behr and been fine with it. However, I can't vouch for its durability and colorfastness, because I used Behr to paint every single room of a house we only lived in for 3 years. We'll likely never see it again and won't know how the Behr held up.

I've discovered some really high-quality paints lately and have greatly enjoyed working with them. They feel different in the pan, on the roller, and when rolling out on the wall. Also, on this forum I learned about something called "edge cling" or something....and that is, higher quality paints used on trimwork can make a huge difference, because cheaper paints "pull away" from sharp corners and better paints "cling" to those corners, giving a uniform coat all over the trim. I'm glad I read that person's post before I dove into my trimwork!

Good luck and have a blast. My first painting project had me in furious tears, and now it is one of my favorite activities in the world to do!! I would encourage you to practice and learn to do it yourself!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 10:34AM
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Several of the painters we've spoken to use the ProMar 200 paint from SW. Superpaint or SuperPro or something for exterior. I'm hoping this is an acceptable paint.

Now we're just waiting on a few more (recommendations from the SW lady I went in and talked to) I'm so anxious to get going on this, but we have another day of rain, which is slowing the drywall and texture too. Ugggggg

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 1:07PM
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I've used Porter Paints for 5 years now on 3 of our homes and one big fence. I like the service, advice and product.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 12:14AM
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