Best Brand of Paint?
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Joined: 20 Aug 2004
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Location: Portland, Maine, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:44 pm    Post subject: Best Brand of Paint? Reply with quote

This is the question I get most about painting; "I want a good paint job, so what is the best brand of paint?"

The paint industry does not want you to know what I am about to tell you.

The brand of paint has nothing to do with the success of a paint job, especially when it comes to long-term durability.

The old saying is true: A good paint job is 80% preparation, 20% application. My new saying is even truer: An excellent paint job is 95% preparation.

Here Phyllis uses the Wet Abrasive Scrub method to clean the clapboards. Brushing on the paint is the fun at the end of the project, like the frosting on the cake.

If 0% failure is when all the paint falls off the next year (yes I've seen it happen), and 100% success is that it still protects the wood and looks good 25 years later (yes this is possible, I've been doing it for the past 40 years); if this is how you describe success, then...

40% of the success is in selecting an appropriate treatment, such as spot paint maintenance or full recoating, or complete paint removal, etc.

40% is timeliness of the treatment, say every 2 years, 10 years or 20 years. If you put it off longer you'll have more than paint problems to deal with.

10% is in the skill and knowledge of the worker, from the first time DIYer, to the contractor who has painted hundreds of buildings.

9% is correct selection of the product type, such as paint or stain, oil-based alkyd or waterborne acrylic, oil-based primer or latex primer.

ONLY 1% of success is in the selection of the specific product, which makes little difference. The brand make no difference at all !

So, if this is true, why does it sound so UPSIDE DOWN CRAZY? Everybody says, "X Brand is best," "I only use Y Brand,"we used #%@& Brand and it failed, so now we use Z Brand, and pray it works." Why? Because the paint manufacturers and marketers have spent millions of dollars in marketing and advertising over the past 60 years to convince, brainwash, fool and trick us into BELIEVING that the brand makes a difference. It's a matter of belief and faith, not practical experience and real evidence. The only difference that brand makes is how much in profits the manufacturers and marketers can report at the end of the quarter.

So how can you overcome the brainwashing? Think for yourself, instead of trusting what the paint manufacturers want you to believe. Yes, it's easy to believe in a BRAND, and difficult to THINK, but you can do it. You are off to a good start: You are here asking questions, you have assessed paint conditions and know your climate. Instead of buying a brand of paint, hire a knowledgeable painter, or learn about painting if you are a do-it-yourselfer. Painting is not rocket science, and you can learn to do it.

To find a knowledgeable painter, seek one who has painted at least a few-hundred or even several-hundred houses. Five or ten houses, sixty or ninety houses is enough experience do a job that looks good, but not enough to accumulate the deep knowledge that is needed for truly long-lasting work.

If you are a do-it-yourselfer, you need to study and practice. Read the articles that are written by painters, the workers with the brushes in their hands, not the advertising written by paint manufacturers. Read the Old-House Journal paint articles going back to the 1980s. Subscribe to a painter's journal such as Painting and Wallcovering Contractor, or study at their website:

To practice, start out on the barn or around back of the house. First paint ten 1'x1' squares. Yes, that's right, you are now "in training" so this means, get everything together, paint 1'x1', then clean your brushes and put everything away, figure out what went right and what went wrong, then the next day get it all out and do better the next time. You will begin to learn what you need to know as you build your experience level.

Then paint ten 10'x10' sections, after each one figure out what went wrong and right, then plan to do better on the next. You will learn how to do good work and build up the muscles to scrape and brush with control. Then paint a 10' wide section from foundation up to the eaves. You will build stamina and develop endurance and learn how to work in high places without killing yourself.

By this time you probably have most of one side of the barn painted, go ahead and finish it up with two or three more 10' wide sections. Now you know enough about painting to hire and supervise a good painter, or perhaps you will know enough to paint the rest of your place. Otherwise, it's a hit-or-miss affair. You might hit it just right. If you miss, call me in the morning and I'll help you out.

--John Leeke
by steam and heat he strips it neat
by brush and hand it looks right grand
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Don Wagstaff

Joined: 09 Sep 2010
Posts: 100

PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 6:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


I agree with this premiss that paint manufactures make largely artificial distinctions between their products in order to differentiate themselves in the market place consisting of individual competitors. That is not to say that all paints taken together do not have differing characteristics. A good test, as an example, is a price difference based on color. Similar paints should differ in price according to color because one pigment will differ in price from the other. If you ask your Sherwin Williams paint dealer how much that paint costs in blue and how much it costs in magenta and the price is the same or the response, "it doesn't matter", this would be a cause for further questioning.

I take it for granted that the soil around the parameter of any old house already contains lead from all the previous scrapings, sandings and oxidation of old paint layers.


Don Wagstaff
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Site Admin

Joined: 20 Aug 2004
Posts: 2980
Location: Portland, Maine, USA

PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paying attention to the lead health risk is important. Lead-Safe work practices are needed to manage the lead health risk of any paint removal method. Read, understand and follow the Lead-Safe work practices described in the publication: "Lead Paint Safety, a field guide for painting, home maintenance and renovation work." Download it at:


by hammer and hand great works do stand
by pen and thought best words are wrought
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