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Old 10-12-2009, 12:15 PM   #1
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High luminosity; zero-VOC paint


Hi, folks.

I am re-painting an interior-unit townhouse which does not get a lot of natural light. So I would like to brighten it up as much as possible with the paint.

It may be sold soon, so I want to stick with white, but I could use advice on what shades, brands, products and/or finishes would brighten up the room most.

The cabinetry and trim is bright-white, so I should keep the trim like that. The walls then need a little contrast. Right now they are a flat yellowish-white (and very cheap, "builders' special") paint. I would like to use the brightest shade I can which still contrasts with the bright-white trim.

Do certain brands or kinds of paint have a higher luminosity than others? Also, does eggshell look cheesy? Any recommendations along this line would be greatly appreciated.

Current occupants have high chemical sensitivity, so all paints must be zero-VOC.

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Old 10-13-2009, 08:57 AM   #2
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High luminosity; zero-VOC paint


I have not yet used a lot of this Benjamin Moore Natura product but it is zero VOC and I was pleased with its performance. Harmony is the zero VOC brand in the Sherwin Williams line. I have not yet been asked to use it.

http://www.benjaminmoore.com/bmpsweb...s%2FNaturaTabs

As for wall colors? What color are your floors? For a rental, I would stay to neutrals that blend with the flooring like I do for gallery clients. A nice soft, light, warm gray usually works, a light straw yellow, etc. I hate white ceilings. I used a Pittsburgh color (mixed into Benjamin Moore paint) called South Peak for an old victorian with deeper red-orange tint to hardwood flooring.

Eggshell will be fine. Any good quality paint will have nice luminosity but plan on two coats.


Last edited by user1007; 10-13-2009 at 09:04 AM.
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Old 10-13-2009, 10:01 AM   #3
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High luminosity; zero-VOC paint


I'm looking for all shades of white. My main question is if different brands/kinds/formulations of paint have a different luminosity.

For example, does a cheap paint reflect as much light as a top-of-the-line paint of exactly the same hue?
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Old 10-13-2009, 12:13 PM   #4
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High luminosity; zero-VOC paint


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Originally Posted by Toe View Post
I'm looking for all shades of white. My main question is if different brands/kinds/formulations of paint have a different luminosity.

For example, does a cheap paint reflect as much light as a top-of-the-line paint of exactly the same hue?
You should probably get your hands on an off-white color chart and/or color fan to pick your colors if you want all whites.

There is no such thing as cheap paint especially when you factor in the tools and time to put it on every year or so! None of the zero VOC paints are even inexpensive.

The reflection is irrelevant if the paint fails and peels of the walls, if you can get it evenly on the walls in the first place. The cost of paint has mainly to do with the chemistry and the surface it leaves behind. In latex finishes, you should aim as close to 100 percent acrylic as you can afford for the truest and most colorfast reflection and overall life and durability. Higher gloss surfaces will be more light reflective and, I suppose, luminous. Since it is a rental, low VOC contractor grades of major paint brands---Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore, MAB, etc.---will save you some money but will not have the solid acrylic content (I use a lot of them though) and will be vinyl and acrylic blends. They will not have as many sheen options but will come in at least flat, eggshell, and semi.

Do stay away from the box store brands. You will fight putting them on and you will not be happy in the long run.

Last edited by user1007; 10-13-2009 at 12:20 PM.
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Old 10-14-2009, 03:01 PM   #5
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High luminosity; zero-VOC paint


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Originally Posted by sdsester View Post
Harmony is the zero VOC brand in the Sherwin Williams line.
I believe Harmony is zero VOC until you put colorant into the can. Could be wrong though.......Natura is the only product that I know of that starts zero VOC and ends zero VOC in any color. Competitors can not say or do the same..........Natura comes in Flat, Eggshell, and Semi-Gloss.
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Old 12-21-2009, 08:08 PM   #6
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High luminosity; zero-VOC paint


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Originally Posted by sdsester View Post
I have not yet used a lot of this Benjamin Moore Natura product but it is zero VOC and I was pleased with its performance. Harmony is the zero VOC brand in the Sherwin Williams line. I have not yet been asked to use it.

http://www.benjaminmoore.com/bmpsweb...s%2FNaturaTabs

As for wall colors? What color are your floors? For a rental, I would stay to neutrals that blend with the flooring like I do for gallery clients. A nice soft, light, warm gray usually works, a light straw yellow, etc. I hate white ceilings. I used a Pittsburgh color (mixed into Benjamin Moore paint) called South Peak for an old victorian with deeper red-orange tint to hardwood flooring.

Eggshell will be fine. Any good quality paint will have nice luminosity but plan on two coats.

I have a terrible time picking just the right color and I, too, have an interior lighting problem. My house has so little natural light that the colors I use need to all be bright enough to not make the rooms look like caves.

Consider, though, what 'sdsester' is saying about the light colors, instead of white. The human eye is most sensitive to color in the yellow-green part of the visible light spectrum. This means that even though white is the most reflective option, the "light straw yellow" he mentions above may actually make the room appear brighter, lighter and more inviting. I've seen light yellows that are so striking that they looked like the spot painted that color was actually glowing! It was really cool.
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Old 12-23-2009, 07:32 PM   #7
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High luminosity; zero-VOC paint


Many "fan decks" will list the LRV (Light Reflective Value) of the different colors
As others have mentioned,I wouldn't go strictly by the LRV, but it can "shed some light" on the reflectivity of different colors

I can recommend the Natura line from BM, and they have some great subtle colors over there
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Old 12-24-2009, 02:16 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by slickshift View Post
Many "fan decks" will list the LRV (Light Reflective Value) of the different colors
As others have mentioned,I wouldn't go strictly by the LRV, but it can "shed some light" on the reflectivity of different colors

I can recommend the Natura line from BM, and they have some great subtle colors over there

Cool! I didn't realize they had that info available...I mean, not for public consumption. I've never been able to get my hands on an actual "fan deck". The sample "cards" that I have were gained by standing at the paint color areas at Lowes and taking one of every single color they had. Of course, I only recommend this method of "fan deck" assembly for people who can handle being stared at, since doing this will make you look like you're completely insane. Totally worth it, though. Heehee!

Do you have any suggestions for book or video tutorials that show how to apply paint to something like a picture frame, using a brush? I can't seem to get it smooth without applying too much. Then, if I apply too much, it will run and blob up. I've gotta figure out the technique. Can you help?
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Old 12-24-2009, 03:18 AM   #9
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High luminosity; zero-VOC paint


A box store will not know what a fan deck is. A real paint store will have them and will either sell or lend them to you. I have never bought one but I buy lots of paint. You can also order them online from the major paint companies.

Would you buy burgers or donuts at a box store? Why in the world would you buy the crappiest paint on the planet from one?

Not sure what you are painting your picture frames with?

Make sure you are using a nice, quality brush and not a cheap Chinese craft store type one. And just because the frame molding is only 1" doesn't mean you should be using a 1" brush. Invest in a nice 2.5 angled sash brush. Take care of it and it will last a long time. You will have more bristles to feather out your surface and it will actually hold some paint. Used on its edge, you will learn that you can almost pinstripe with it.

If you are using latex interior house paint, try adding some Floetrol. It is a gift from God. If you are doing the national craft store approach to paint, stop it. Box store crap by any other name? At least buy from an art store. Liquitex and other long standing brands of artist paints have all kinds of mediums to add to solid acrylic to give you a mirror like finish in whatever sheen you have in mind. They have gotten insanely expensive though.

Last edited by user1007; 12-24-2009 at 03:23 AM.
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Old 12-24-2009, 03:55 AM   #10
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High luminosity; zero-VOC paint


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Originally Posted by sdsester View Post
A box store will not know what a fan deck is. A real paint store will have them and will either sell or lend them to you. I have never bought one but I buy lots of paint. You can also order them online from the major paint companies.

Would you buy burgers or donuts at a box store? Why in the world would you buy the crappiest paint on the planet from one?

Not sure what you are painting your picture frames with?

Make sure you are using a nice, quality brush and not a cheap Chinese craft store type one. And just because the frame molding is only 1" doesn't mean you should be using a 1" brush. Invest in a nice 2.5 angled sash brush. Take care of it and it will last a long time. You will have more bristles to feather out your surface and it will actually hold some paint. Used on its edge, you will learn that you can almost pinstripe with it.

If you are using latex interior house paint, try adding some Floetrol. It is a gift from God. If you are doing the national craft store approach to paint, stop it. Box store crap by any other name? At least buy from an art store. Liquitex and other long standing brands of artist paints have all kinds of mediums to add to solid acrylic to give you a mirror like finish in whatever sheen you have in mind. They have gotten insanely expensive though.

Awesome, thank you! That's exactly the kind of stuff I need to learn. Honestly, I had no idea that Behr and Valspar were the "cheap" paints until you mentioned it on this site. I thought I was doing well by buying those. Ah...ignorance is not bliss after all. ;-) I have two shops right up the road from me: Sherwin Williams and a mom and pop place that sells Dutch Boy. Would either of them be on your pick list?

With that in mind, please tell me what brand of paint you recommend for painting on the inside and/or outside of the house and what brand you recommend for art/woodworking projects? Also, I have several brushes that I've bought over the years. I've ruined quite a few, but I've finally figured out how to properly clean them, now. The ones I have now are Purdy and Wooster. Are those quality brushes? Do you recommend a different brand?


Oh, yeah...to paint the frames, I was using an old, half-used gallon of Behr Latex Interior paint. And I wonder why I had trouble getting a good finish. lol Ok...I get the idiot stamp for the day.

Last edited by GertieCraign; 12-24-2009 at 04:01 AM.
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Old 12-24-2009, 04:13 AM   #11
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High luminosity; zero-VOC paint


Dutch Boy
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Old 12-24-2009, 04:41 AM   #12
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Dutch Boy
Thanks, man.

Hey...what in the world are you doing awake at this time of night? I thought only crazy people like me were up at this hour?
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Old 12-24-2009, 06:01 AM   #13
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Dutch Boy
Sherwin Williams bought Dutch Boy so it could have an absolute crap retail brand to sneak on stupid consumers wanting to save $10 a gallon like the box stores do. Do not even think of going down this path.

I use Purdy and Wooster brushes so you are in the right territory. And it sounds like you a are learning to take care of them.

As for your art projects? Shop where artists do and not a stupid box store crafts place. In an art supply store, you might even get informed advice you need. At Michael's or chain craft store you will get minimum wage people that got fired last week because they forget to check cigarette IDs at the convenience store across the street.

Last edited by user1007; 12-24-2009 at 06:11 AM.
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Old 12-24-2009, 10:03 AM   #14
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High luminosity; zero-VOC paint


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Thanks, man.

Hey...what in the world are you doing awake at this time of night? I thought only crazy people like me were up at this hour?

I may very well be crazy but I only sleep at most 4 hours, so at 5:13, I was actually up for an hour or so already.
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Old 12-24-2009, 07:10 PM   #15
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I may very well be crazy but I only sleep at most 4 hours, so at 5:13, I was actually up for an hour or so already.

Omg... I would die. Seriously. Less than 7hrs and I get hyper and weird and then just crash halfway through the day. It's ugly. ;-)

Thanks, again, for all the advice. I'll get on it, after all the Christmas hoopla is over, and I'll let you know how I do.

Take care, and Merry Christmas!

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