There’s no doubt that home projects can be expensive. It’s not surprising that we try to save wherever possible. When it comes to painting materials, though, sometimes choosing a more expensive (but higher quality) product can actually cost less.
Before we compare paint costs let’s look at what makes one paint better than another. It all boils down to the chemistry in the can. Premium quality paints use superior ingredients like titanium dioxide – this is what gives paint its covering power. They also use 100% acrylic resins, which are more expensive but help the paint stick better, resist cracking and increase long term durability. Most premium paints will also have a midewcide which is especially helpful in warm moist environments like ours. Additionally they are often zero or low VOC with no harsh smells or harmful fumes.
It’s easy to see why premium paints are better but how can they cost you less even though they’re more expensive? Let’s do the math! For this example I will compare our ultra premium Benjamin Moore Aura Matte interior paint at $79.95 per gallon and Benjamin Moore Ultra Spec Flat for $39.95 per gallon. Now let’s pretend I’m repainting a standard 12′ by 14′ bedroom, about 400 square feet or one gallon of paint.
At first glance it wold make perfect sense to spend $40 less and choose the Ultra Spec. But since it doesn’t cover as well, you will probably need two coats. That will cost you $79.98 for two gallons. Oh wait – that paint is not self priming so let’s add another $50 for a gallon of primer which raises the total to $129.98.
Now let’s talk about time. Instead of spending a couple of hours applying only one coat of a higher quality paint, you now have to waste an entire day applying one coat of primer and two coats of finish. If you’re doing the job yourself that’s one thing. If you have to pay a painter for three coats instead of only one, the labour costs skyrocket! Even on the low end of $25 per hour that can quickly turn into an extra $100 – $150.
Finally, a higher quality more durable paint will last you longer so you don’t have to repaint as often. Remember, inexpensive paints won’t be washable so you will have to touch up every couple of years. Premium paints are designed to be scrubbed clean and many contain mildewcides so they stay looking fresher longer. Plus they keep your family safer with more environmentally friendly ingredients.
When planning the budget for any project – do your research. Make sure to weight the upfront cost with the long term return. In some cases, it makes perfect sense to pick the budget friendly option. Sometimes I can end up costing you more but being informed will help you make the best decision.
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