Pro Painters Speak: Top “Triple Threat” Interior Paint

Written by on November 20, 2014 in Industry News, Uncategorized with 217 Comments

interior paintWe’ll keep this one short and sweet.

If you’re just getting here, check out the discussion going on in the Comment section below, thanks to the gracious input of contractors around the world.

Here’s What it’s About:

If you could only use one LINE of interior paint (Duration, Aura, etc.) for all of the ceilings, walls and trim in your professional life, what would your triple threat choice be?

This is not a “which manufacturer do you like best” poll. It is more of a “if you could only have one line, which interior paint could do it all for you in 2 or 3 different sheens?

For this discussion, price is no object. We encourage you to reflect on versatile products that perform well in the most categories and deliver value with the good finish.

Post your answers in the comment selection below, please.

We believe it is critically important for paint manufacturers and consumers of paint to know what the pros really value in interior paint products.

Results will be ongoing in the comment section!

Thanks for speaking out.

[Related: Pro Opinions on Paint Grade vs. Stain]

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217 Reader Comments

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  1. John Smith says:

    So any results?

  2. Chris says:

    So did Scott (who had a problem with the guy who listed the results before December) ever publish the results for this survey?

    • Drake says:

      No, and he also edited the part about him posting the results out of the original post to make me look bad, as well as deleting several of my posts across the site.

      • Scott Burt says:

        Come on now, Drake. That’s a bit of a stretch. While we do edit some of the irrelevant emotional content from posts occasionally, the results of the survey – the input from contractors who cared more about the topic and the reasons behind their choices than which brand is “best” – are always undiluted here. That is the spirit of this site. It works for many, many people in all walks of the industry on a daily basis.

        • Drake says:

          We must have different definitions of “irrelevant emotional content.” You literally edited out a tech data sheet link. That’s about as emotionless as it gets. I’m not interested in brand wars and that’s not why I’m here. Contrary to your snap judgment of me, I recommend paint from many different brands (yes, even that one!). I just make sure to recommend the right tool for the job, which means not telling people to go ahead and use a product whose TDS explicitly warns against using it for that purpose. Sorry to be dragging drama out in comments, but I don’t appreciate my helping people being deleted.

    • Scott Burt says:

      No problems here, Chris. The comments and thought processes of the contractors who contributed to this survey are the value in this post. I haven’t seen the need to cloud it with another post on the topic. The results are here for those who read.

  3. Deb says:

    Looking for recommendation… Live in Pacific Northwest. Which is a better exterior paint?
    Miller Paint or Benjamin Moore

    • Scott Burt says:

      Hi Deb

      We have never used Miller but have heard great things about it from colleagues in the region. BM has good paint as well. We have used lots of the Regal Select Soft Gloss over the years.

  4. AURA! It is the best of the best

    Emerald is like water in comparison.

    Love your articles Scott!

  5. Kathy Griffis says:

    Last year I stumbled upon Ben Moore’s “Advance”, in satin, for my massive new cabinets, in our live-in reno house. Wow! I will never buy another paint. Yes, it’s expensive. Yes, I no longer care!!!! I am doing old wall panelling now, from 1974, and instead of our walls looking like , “Well, y’know…we had to try *something*, right?”, (just covered up wall panelling), to, “Wow! What kind of texture did you put on your walls?!!! ” Advance dries to a silky finish, is as hard as a rock, it’s scrubbable, and has made our poor old wall panelling look like it’s supposed to look that way! Like we CHOSE it because we liked it! (And with this sheen…we do!)

    • Scott Burt says:

      Beautiful stuff, Kathy, thanks for sharing your project!

    • Benzy says:

      Valspar just as good. Cost less.

      • Mike's Custom Painting says:

        Everybody has an opinion when it comes to Paint. Opinions are useless unless they are backed up by facts. The only way to truly establish facts is to test the Paints in question. This cannot be done on a 3 by 5 card, It needs to be conducted in real world scenarios on real world products.
        Everything needs to be considered, like substrate, types of Primers etc. I just got finished helping a guy to finish a job where the blue tape I gave him to use was removing the paint. He blamed the tape, but any professional worth is salt know that blue tape shouldn’t remove good paint. Come to find out, he used PVS primer (absolute crap in my opinion) and the paint was not adhering to it. Had he used what I originally told the HO to use, there would have been no problem. At the very least, he should have done a test to see if the PVS was an appropriate primer, which it is not and never will be.

      • Kathy Griffis says:

        Benny, Valspar is “just is as good” as…?

  6. Tim Comi says:

    I’m really liking the emerald. Semi-gloss sprays wonderful. Satin brushes great. Matte rolls awesome.

  7. Bret says:

    I would choose Cashmere hands down and for many reasons. The most important reasons are that the sheens cover most all customer needs and it covers and “lays” down very smooth when applied correctly to most every interior surfaces. Here are some other good reasons to pick Cashmere and Sherwin-Williams in general: SW is everywhere, product is generally well stocked, priced right, typically excellent rep service, delivery service, typically knowledgeable store employees, consistent tinting and color consistency. These are things are often hard to find particularly with paint dealers and box stores.

  8. Mark says:

    For true triple threat, I’d say Diamond Vogel’s Permacryl.
    For ceilings: Diamond Vogel’s Elevate is hands down the best ceiling flat I’ve ever used. Eggshell, I like BM’s Ben line. Semigloss, BM Regal.

  9. Drake says:

    Since Scott Burt seems like he’s not going to post the results, I’ve tallied the results. Not sure if he just never got around to it or didn’t like the results. I’ve left off, in the name of brevity, any line that didn’t get more than one vote, and any vote for a manufacturer instead of a line.

    Winner: BM Regal Select
    Second: BM Aura and SW Cashmere

    Votes, in order:

    BM Regel Select: 22
    SW Cashmere: 9
    BM Aura: 9
    SW ProMar 200: 3
    SW ProMar 200 Zero VOC: 2
    Rodda Paint Lasyn: 2
    Miller Evolution: 2
    Rodda Paints Unique: 2
    SW Super Paint: 2
    Behr Ultra: 2
    Behr Marquee: 2

    • Drake says:

      For those interested in the lines that got a single vote, I’ll list them here:

      BM Advance, DE Suprema, SW Emerald, C2 Paints Luxe, PPG Silken Touch, Kelly Moore Acry-Plex, PPG Pure Performance, Denalt Celestial.

    • Scott Burt says:

      Hey Drake, thanks for the follow up. Not a personal thing at all, the comments and votes have been here for folks to read. Our readers generally don’t require spoon feeding. The important thing is that people are thinking about their businesses and how to do better.

      • Drake says:

        I quite believe you that your viewers don’t require spoon feeding. I just understood from the original article that this was something that was going to happen:

        “Results will be published in December, and we will make sure the paint world gets the news!”

        Naturally, I must assume that either you didn’t like the news or thought your readers needed spoon feeding at the time you wrote that. Otherwise, not sure why no results were posted.

        Just having a laugh Scott; all in good fun. I do appreciate the website.

    • The pacster says:

      Looks pretty convincing to me! The two BM products got more votes then all the others combined. Maybe there are some people with some idea what quality is after all!

    • Benzy says:

      Thanks Drake. Excellent post.

  10. Jeff says:

    Thanks Tim. Please note that one may now get a Graco Magnum X5 for a mere $252 on Amazon – the big box stores charge $329 for the same thing. A heck of a bargain – I couldn’t pass it up!

  11. I’d have to say Aura is the top choice. Although it’s not right for every application, it’s probably my favorite.

    • Bill says:

      Aura is garbage for that kind of money. Any low voc paint drys way too fast and goes on like glue. Even if you condition it before use it’s hard to work with. Ben Moore latex satin impervious is a better choice.

  12. Drake says:

    Heya Scott,

    Did these results get published? I’m curious to see the final tally.

  13. Nick Hunter says:

    I’d have to say kelly-moore acry-plex, flows like butter and is hard as a rock. Hopfully get to try Rodda products soon!

    • Mike says:

      Kelly who?
      Just kidding. I have heard of them, but we don’t have it here in Hawaii or I would definitely give it a try.
      Where can you find the stuff?

  14. Dan says:

    This is what we have found to be our best formula for success:

    CEILINGS: California Diamond
    WALLS: C2 Luxe Eggshell, with FPE a close 2nd
    TRIM:C2 satin or BM 314

    • Dan says:

      Having just posted that, here is my choice for “one manufacturer, three interior sheen levels”:
      1. C2
      2. FPE
      3. BM
      4. California

  15. George says:

    Scott, no finer pain line top to bottom than FPE Fine Paints of Europe. People here have mentioned dead flat.I have never seen a true flat such as Fine paints of Europe. 0 light reflection, superior coverage. Washes better than any other coating I have ever used, even burnish or rub marks wash off leaving it perfect again. Best primer, varnish ( both oil and acrylic) oil enamel, acrylic enamel. Amazing product.the Dutch make the best paint in the world. That’s why they have over 270 paint manufacturers in Holland. American companies could make the dame quality paint, they just don’t.

    • Scott Burt says:

      Thanks George, yes they do make some fine product. Is there a particular line that they offer that would work across 3 sheens?

    • Mike says:

      Wow! I’m learning a lot about paints I’ve never heard of. Somebody needs to start a store that carries all these different brands and let us painters choose which ones we want.

  16. Matt says:

    Like most here know already, there is no one line that delivers all of the specifics like dead flat, durability, leveling, odor, ect. That can make you wonder if it is on purpose that there are so many product lines from each brand…. pricing for each line could be a possibility. With that said, I would stick with Benjamin Moore Regal Select.

    • Scott Burt says:

      Thanks for the pro feedback, Matt. RS seems to be a popular choice so far. Cheers!

    • Rachel Routhier says:

      I agree…I use a lot of different products for each step of each job. BM Waterborne ceiling paint is my go to for no lap marks on every ceiling, large or small. Wall and trim paint change with the specs of each job. I have been using BM Regal Select a lot recently for walls and trim, and love the coverage and durability. Ceilings make it tricky to pick just 1, but I would go with the Regal Select.

      • Scott Burt says:

        Thanks RR, and a big fat happy holidays to you.

      • Talers says:

        Hi Rachel, just curious why Regal Select is not also your first choice for ceilings? I’m looking to buy a single paint to use on both my walls and ceiling… Should I stick with Regal Select? I read that it is low-splatter, which seems especially handy for rolling ceilings. Further, my ceiling is texturized, requiring a thick nap roller. TYIA!

        • Drake says:

          Hey Talers,

          If you don’t mind someone else popping up, there’s a couple considerations to take in mind:

          1) Most people don’t do flat walls these days (except for contractors looking to save money), and sheens other than flat typically don’t look good on ceilings. This means typically using different sheens on wall/ceiling, which means you don’t need to stick to one line for any particular reason.
          2) Benjamin Moore’s Ceiling Ultra Flat (product 508) is one of the flattest ceiling paints available on the market. This gives exceptionally good looking ceilings, even when they aren’t perfect, making it a better choice than Regal Select flat for ceilings in many cases
          3) The 508 ceiling paint is also considerably less expensive than the Regal Select in most stores (I sell it for almost $10 less) which means using it for the ceiling saves you money and gives better results

          I would assume Rachel’s reasoning also follows one or more of those lines of reasoning. Cheers!

          -Ben Moore retailer

          • Talers says:

            Thank you, Drake. I appreciate the info. I have a 10×12 bedroom (with one window, one door, and a 5′ closet). I’m painting over a dark blue-gray whole-room mural with white (matte finish). Good coverage is key, but so is cost. I thought it might be more cost effective to buy one gallon of regal select for the walls and ceiling… ? Will I need more than one gallon, (in which case I will follow your suggestion), and/or should I use primer as well? I’m planning on one quart of satin for the doors/trim. Thanks!

          • Drake says:

            Well, if you figure up the raw square footage without taking out for the doors/window, you get 472 square feet. That’s just a little bit more than you’ll typically get out of a gallon of paint. Taking out for the stuff (depending on their size) probably gets you to almost exactly one gallon. It’s really tricky to say when you’re right on the line like that. If you’re looking to save money, I would do what you’re planning, start with 1 gallon, and then if you need more get a quart. Try to make sure you stop somewhere there’s a natural line if you think you’re not going to make it (the end of a wall, etc) and stop before you empty the gallon so you can mix the quart with the rest of the gallon to ensure a perfect match.

            Alternatively, for about $ 15 more you could go the ceiling paint/wall paint route. Then you should definitely have plenty for the walls and ceiling both, and you could save the ceiling paint for another project if you seal the can nicely.

            The big unknown is whether it’ll cover in one coat. Regal Select has great coverage and I’ve had incredibly good luck with it in situations like yours, but it’s hard to make any promises. It might be worth doing a small patch, seeing if it covers, and if not going back to the store to pick up some inexpensive primer just to help the color change. Keep in mind, also, that “dirtier” whites (ask about White Dove and Steam for popular off whites with a little color to them) will cover much better than stark off-whites like Simply White will. Cheers and good luck!

          • Drake says:

            I should also note, I just remembered that your ceiling is textured. That means greater surface area to paint. As I figure it with the textured ceiling you almost certainly won’t get by with a single gallon for the whole room. Heavy texture can nearly double the amount of paint needed! Sorry to have neglected that in my earlier post!

        • Scott Burt says:

          Hi Talers

          The most important consideration, which hasn’t been discussed yet…is, has your textured ceiling been painted previously? If you do not know for sure, it is entirely possible that it is original. We see that a lot in the field. If you have reason to believe that this is the case, do NOT use any waterborne primer or paint on your ceiling or you will find the fastest and messiest way to strip it to raw sheetrock.

          If you know that it has been painted, you have many more options and it would be prudent to cut mfr recommendations for spread rate per gallon in half to be safe. Two gallons for sure.

          • Talers says:

            Thanks so much for your helpful information, Drake and Scott! Yes, the ceiling has been painted previously.. (thanks for warning, I’ve experienced that phenomena before!) Cheers!

          • Scott Burt says:

            You are welcome, Talers.

  17. Michael Miraglia says:

    Hands down the best interior Eggshell paint is sherwin williams Pro-mar 200, Benjamin Moores Regal wall satin would be my only choice for interior flat, and lastly for a superior exterior product is Sherwin Williams Super Paint. As far as one line of paint though for interior on 3 different sheens “Sherwin Williams”

    • Scott Burt says:

      Thanks Michael, which line from SW could cover all 3 interior bases for you?

    • mike ess says:

      i dont do that much painting .. but im a custodian in a public school and mostly all they use is pro mar 200 … this paint can really take a beating and a cleaning over and over again– we have 3 regular painters that swear by it .. from 70 yr old buildings to new construction

  18. Sherri says:

    I’m surprised that no one has mentioned Pittsburgh Paint’s Pure Performance line. Great price, great product.

  19. Don’t have a product like that. Cashmere would be that paint if they had a dead flat for ceilings.

  20. Lynn Waller says:

    I would have to say that Benjamin Moore Aura would be my choice. I use it in 95% of the homes for clients, even office spaces as well, and retail settings. I trust the application, and appearance.

  21. Steve says:

    The Sherwin Williams Promar 200 No VOC Line works well for us.

  22. i have been in the custom home painting business for over 40 years, so i guess I am “old school”.
    Each market is different represented geographically as well as quality of houses or commerical buildings. Our company specializes is very high quality painting, with that said there is no one paint that can do what you are asking for the type of work that we do for our customers.