Paint Guide - How To Buy Top Quality House Paint

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How To Buy The Best Top Quality House Paint

Painting your house is rewarding in several ways but only when you have chosen quality paint products. When you step out to choose the right product, the number of choices can be overwhelming for any homeowner. If you are planning to paint your house so that you won’t be back on the ladders in a couple of years, we have created a paint guide for you. This is what you need to know to superior quality house paint.

Whether you handle the painting project on your own or hire a team of professionals, it involves a serious commitment of time, money, and effort. And if you want to the make most of your investment, know the difference between low-quality and high-quality paints. Then comes the phase of choosing between latex and oil paints, the right sheen and quantity for your particular house painting project.

Characteristics Of A Superior Quality Paint

Imagine a paint that lasts long, does not drip, adheres to every surface, levels smoothly, and offer complete coverage. It does not fade and chalk over the decades! Such perfect sorts do not exist yet and we are years away from developing one. That’s because house paint ingredients have too many limitations and trade-offs. But still, there are low-quality and high-quality paints. Here are some characteristics of superior quality paint.

high quality paint for house painting

Better Pigments- Better Coverage

Top-quality paints have incredible hiding qualities. That’s because they contain better pigments. The most expensive pigment used in paints is titanium oxide. It is a pure white powder that offers the best hiding for walls. 

Superior quality paints contain higher percentages of this pigment and you can tell it by reading the composition of any paint product. The higher the percentage is, the less paint material is required to achieve that fine coverage. Moreover, top-quality paints have pigments that are smaller and purer thus they do a better job of blocking the existing color and filling in.

Top Quality Resins- Lasts Long

Understanding the chemical composition of paint is pivotal to recognize high-quality paint. The next important thing is the amount and quality of resins. Resins or better known as binders are plastic-like ingredients that encapsulate the pigments to create a film. 

If you need paint for wooden surfaces, look for a product with the best latex resins made up of acrylic. The fine particles of acrylic paint deeply penetrate the wood pores and adhere well. They can resist blistering, peeling and wear better than other paint materials.

Glossy paints have much more resins than flat paint. Always choose a product that contains a higher percentage of high-quality resins for a stronger, long-lasting paint film.  

More Combined Solids- A Thicker Paint Film

The ratio of binders and pigments determines the thickness and sheen of the paint. Flat paints have more pigment and less resin whereas glossy paints have more resin and less pigment. Whichever paint sheen you are looking for, prefer a paint product that has more combined solids. Cheaper paints have more water content. The best paint products may have more than 45% combined solids to provide greater durability and better hiding.

High-Quality Additives For Smoother Application

Other than above mentioned basic ingredients, high-quality additives lend better qualities to the best paint products available on market. Following is a list of some of the most commonly used additives by the top-notch brands.


These additives slow down and smooth out the brush stroke to leave an even thick coat of paint on the surface. Due to the addition of thickeners, high-quality latex paints smooth out as evenly as oil paints. Hydroxyethylcellulose is the most commonly used chemical as a thickener.


Surfactants are added to stabilize the color and viscosity of the paint. These chemicals improve the adherence of paint and help it to soak in the wooden surfaces.


It is no secret that mold can grow onto a painted surface. High-quality house paints also contain mildewcides to minimize the risks of mold growth. Although these chemicals only protect for the first few years, they are worth investing in.

Antifreeze Agents

Superior paints have better freeze-thaw stability due to the addition of antifreeze agents. Glycol derivatives have been applied to increase stability.

While other additives prevent foaming and improve paint flow. All these additions increase the cost of paint but add years to your paint coats.

Quality House paint

Latex VS Oil Paint

The most perplexing question is to choose between latex and oil paint. Oil paints are also called solvent-based paints and they have been used for decades for woodwork and exterior surfaces. They have excellent leveling characteristics, flow uniformly and provide a tough finish. The oil paints designed for exterior paints have additives that work well in sub-freezing temperatures.

Although oil paints offer several paints, their use has been clamped down by state and federal air quality laws. That’s because a gallon of solvent-based paint contains about 2 quarts of mineral spirits which evaporates as VOCs. 

Modern environmental and health protection regulations affect the makeup of oil paints, reducing the amount of VOCs. Such paints only differ a little from latex paints and are more difficult to apply and dry slower. 

Owing to improvements in technology, water-based finishes are far more durable than even six years ago. You can get incredible gloss retention and fade resistance as compared to oil paints.

In a nutshell, latex paints are a better option when you're looking for the best interior house paints. Oil paint is best for trims, windows, and front doors.

Choosing The Right Paint Luster

You cannot be successful in finding the best quality house paint without paying attention to luster. The luster or sheen mainly depends on the mixture of resins, pigments, and inert chemicals. Select the paints with enamel finishes for an even and extra-smooth finish.

Glossy paints have more resins as compared to pigments. They should be used for doors and trim. It is durable and washable as compared to the reverse.

If you want to hide irregularities and imperfections of your house walls, opt for flat paints. Flat paint looks great on ceilings whereas an eggshell finish is perfect for the walls. When you are calculating the amount of product you need to purchase, consider the square footage of the area for accurate estimates.

Understanding Scrubbable Paints

Interior paints endure physical abuse a lot more than exterior paint. The best scrubbable paints are designed to withstand this abuse. Most modern interior paints have scrubbable ratings that are established by a set of standard tests. You may not find this information printed on the paint can but the supplier must have this information.

This rating is used as the right paint product for interior walls because flat paints often smudge on cleaning. Eggshell paint with a high scrubbable rating is the best choice for any home.

painting wood with clear paint finish

Selecting A Clear Paint Finish

When it comes to painting wood, you have to pick the right clear paint finish. The decision depends on whether you need the grain to stand out or not.

Polyurethane is the most durable finished and is suitable for cabinets, paneling, doors, and other high-traffic surfaces.

Varnish is thinner and it's best to consult a professional for using it. It leaves a thin layer over wood which fades over time.

Shellac is another material used for finishing wood surfaces but it is not recommended for surfaces that are exposed to water.


How Is Paint Made?

A typical batch of latex paint contains about 15-20 ingredients. Base paint ingredients are grouped into four categories, pigments, resins, solvents, and additives. Pigments are the fine particles that provide the coverage whereas colorants are also added to give different hues. Resins are the binders that hold pigment particles together after the paint dries. Solvents are the carriers that help the flow of paint between brush and surfaces. Solvents evaporate when the paint dries. Additives improve the workability and lend different attributes to paint.

What Is Pigment In Paint?

Pigments are natural or synthetic finely ground insoluble particles in the paint. They are added to impart colors and desired physical or chemical properties to chemical formulations. Organic pigments do not disperse easily over the surface whereas inorganic pigments offer easy application and smoother coverage. 

Most of the dark or black synthetic pigments are derived from tar and other petrochemicals. White, opaque pigments such as titanium dioxide are used to provide opacity and lighter hues of other colors. Extender pigments are cheaper but added to support the function of opaque pigments. Some examples include diatomaceous silica, china clays, calcium sulfate, and calcium carbonate.

How To Make Paint Thicker?

You can add thickening agents to increase the viscosity of the paint. The most common thickening agent for water-based paints is hydroxyethyl cellulose. Read the directions of the bottle to know the exact ratio to be used.

It is best to add less than the recommended amount and mix well before adding the remaining thickening agent. Adding more than recommended amounts can cause premature cracking and peeling of paint. Stir well and test before applying on the entire walls.

If you are using acrylic paints, purchase a suitable medium to add to your paints. Gel or matter medium works well to maintain the color of acrylic paints. Start by mixing small amounts of medium and test on a piece of paper to check the thickness. Blow-dry to see the final finish and check if you need to add more medium.

Some DIY techniques also employ corn starch to make thickeners at home. We recommend you purchase commercial products or you may end up affecting the finish and durability of your house paint. Know that fixing a poor job is far more difficult and expensive than purchasing top-quality products firsthand.