Paint/Applicator Review From A DIY'r - Painting - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 04-27-2010, 04:19 AM   #1
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Paint/Applicator review from a DIY'r

As the title mentions, I'm not a pro. I'm just an average schmuck that was too poor to hire a pro to paint several rooms in my house.
Either way, I am approaching the end of my large (for me) painting project, and I thought I'd share my thoughts on the products I used.

First off, i should mention the color wheel we used to choose colors. My wife and I are definitely NOT interior decorators.....and we can't afford to hire one either So we needed help. The local BM shop had an Affinity color wheel that we purchased. It was a godsend. 144 colors that all coordinate with each other (for the most part).
1- We didn't have to ask ourselves "does this color go with that color". The color wheel took that out of the equation.
2- There are only 144 colors in the Affinity pallete. The standard SW color wheel I have has eleventy-billion colors. Less colors actually made the decision loads easier. We also prefer "quieter" colors, so the Affinity line is right up our alley. SW might want to consider dumbed down version of their color wheel. What percentage of their customers want to view 30 versions of ultra-bright yellow and electric blue. Imean, those colors exsist for a reason, I just think a smaller color wheel, void of radical colors, is beneficial for the average DIY'r. Thats what the BM dealer sold us.

Sherwin Williams Superpaint (Int)- Superpaint is really the benchmark that all other paints should be judged. Sure, there might be better products on the market, and there are defintely worse. But the Superpaint is a product that really has no weak points in my opinion. In fact, in terms of coverage, I have never used anything better (although I certainly haven't tried everything).
I used flat on the majority of the walls and semi-gloss in the master bathroom. The flat turned out wonderfully. Despite my poor technique, not a brush or roller mark could be found. Truly an easy prduct to work with- even for a rookie. Oh, and speaking of rookies, I made a serious rookie mistake. I mis-calculated the amount of paint I'd need in my master bedroom. I ran out about 2/3 of the way through the second (and final coat). Amazingly, the SW store managed to make another gallon for me that matched 110% perfectly to the rest of the room. My mistake went unnoticed, because it was unnoticable. Even more amazing was the color I was using was from the BM Affinity palatte. SW still mixed the paint perfectly.
The semi-gloss also was easy to apply. However, the sheen was WAY shinier than I remembered semi-gloss to be. Had I known beforehand, I probably would have opted for satin. Oh well, washibility was my main criteria and we still like the results. It also helps that the walls are ding/dent free. Either way, our (very slight) disappointment in the sheen is a product of bad homework on my part.
I paid about $25 per gallon (on sale). At that price, I truly don't understand why people use Big Box specials at a very meager savings. SW runs sales on a fairly regular basis it seems. My advice would be to hold out for a sale at SW and skip the trip to Lowes/Home Depot. the difference in finish between economy paint and quality paint is defintiely worth the extra $5-10.

SW Duration Semi-Gloss- As mentioned before we were choosing colors off the BM Affinity Pallete. The wife chose a very rich brown color for our bathroom. The SW store said they couldn't mix such a dark color in anything other than Duration (they gave a reason, but I don't remember what it was). Either way, it was about $10 more than the Superpaint. The duration sure went on nicely. The finish was georgeous. The color, even for a brown, was really intense. Hard to explain. The Duration really displays the color well. I suppose its worth the extra $$. I still think Superpaint is the better value though. The wife wants to paint the kitchen a rust/maroon color. I'll probably go with Duration Satin for that job. If its truly more washable than Superpaint, it'll definitely be worth the extra dough.

SW ProClassic Latex Enamel Semi-Gloss- I got this stuff to paint trim and doors. At first, I hated it. I couldn't seem to smooth it out before the it dried. Brush marks galore!! After reading up on the issue, I added some floetrol to the paint. Viola!! I was able to apply thinner coats. With the thinner paint I had to watch closely for runs, but the slower drying made it possible to correct the few I found. There is probably a product available that is easier to work with....without the additives or the $40+ price tag. Hopefully I'll find it before my next painting project. However, in the end, the Proclassic produced a good result. The trim and doors look very nice. But I'll probably look at another product next time.

SW Cashmere Low-Lustre- Bought this as an eggshell for an accent wall in the kitchen. I haven't applied it yet, but I plan to soon. I hope I like it. I've read mostly good things.

Olympic Premium Ceiling Paint- Here was a surprise. I royally goofed up with a roller while painting the walls in a small powder room. Put a large smudge of paint on the ceiling. I really didn't want to invest much in a ceiling paint for such a small area. It was also a Sunday evening and Lowes was the only store still open. So I went with the Olympic. What can I say? It turned out great. I've used Olympic wall paint in the past, so I was prepared for mediocre results, but this stuff was as good as any ceiling prouduct I've used in the past. I decided to use the rest of the can on another room that had a few unidentified marks on it. It too turned out great. A freshly painted ceiling really makes a difference in a room. At $14.50ish, it was a great value. If these rooms hold-up well, I might consider painting more ceilings with Olympic premium.

Zinsser 1-2-3 Latex Primer- I have very little experience with primer, so my impression should be taken with a grain of salt. I was painting over some whacky colors and some stains. I read some reviews on various primers. 1-2-3 didn't seem to be the foavorite of too many people, but it wasn't anyone's least favorite either. Main complaint I read was "1-2-3 is good primer, but there are comparable products that are slightly cheaper". I was willing to pay a little extra for a product that I was confident would not let me down. So I went with 1-2-3.
It got the job done. One coat prevented any stains from seeping through and probably contributed to the great results I got from the top coats. My only complaint was the smell. Very strong odor that lingered for 2-3 days. Maybe all primers are like that? No big deal, I'd buy the stuff again unless I find a cheaper product that works just as well.


Obviously a wide range of opinions on "which brush is best". I read several message boards and blogs. It seems no particular brush commands more than about 3-4% of the market share. I came to find that the construction and materials of a brush is important, but a brush that fits the painter's hand and is comfortable to use is equally important.

After using 6-7 different brushes on this project, I came to really like a Wooster Easy-Flo 2" angle brush with short/stubby handle. It was comfortable to use, versatile, relatively inexpensive ($9.50), and applied a nice coat. Lowes had them on sale (20% off), so I picked up two more. I cut-in, painted trim, doors, and window sills with this brush. Worked great.

I also used a couple varieties of Purdy brushes. They worked fine. I can see why so many pros like them. I just personally like the particular Wooster brush so much, I didn't see the point of paying the premium for the Purdys. Coming to like cheaper gear is a blessing I suppose

Additionally I also tried two SW "contractor series" brushes. Honestly, don't waste your time. They aren't much cheaper than Purdys, and are no cheaper than a retail Wooster. However, both the Purdy and Wooster are clearly of high quality, perform better, and hold-up better. The SW brushes were losing bristles on the first cleaning.


SW Contractor Series Woven 3/8- Decent rcover. Left some lint in the finish even after preparing the cover with a shop vac. they also didn't seem to hold a lot of paint. I got them on sale for $2 each. I got what I paid for. I would never use them again on any surface that demanded a truly flawless finish.

Wooster 3/8 Standard Interior Roller (Blue nap)- Really nothing noteworthy. It worked well, and left no lint behind. Like the SW cover it seemed to hold very little paint. At $3.50, they were a good value and I'd probably use them again if I were looking for the best bang/buck combo.

Purdy White Dove 3/8- Easily the best of the three. Held tons of paint, provided even application, was durable, and was 100% lint free. they were about $4.25 each, but are worth the small extra expense. Its defintiely my cover of choice from now on.

Whizz Roller System 4"- I bought this to paint my french doors. It came with a couple foam rollers. It worked quite well. I rolled on the paint, and lightly brushed it to smooth the finish. I was having trouble getting traditional nap covers to leave a decent finish. The Whizz system did the trick. Other types of covers are available for the roller frame. I tried the cover designed for walls as well. Fantasic product for painting in tight spots. The finish was every bit as nice as the White Dove. I was pleasantly surprised. At $2ish each, the covers aren't too expensive either,and can be bought in packs of 6 at a discount.


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Old 04-27-2010, 03:32 PM   #2
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Thank You

Thank you for your comprehensive (and well written) review of paint products and tools that you used for your (sounds like pretty decent-sized) project
I'm sure many DIYers (and even Pros) will find it very helpful
Your "occasional painter" opinions are greatly valued here

I must admit to (and often post) a personal opinion (shared by most if not all Pros who give DIY advice) that DIYers and Pros share a common goal; to get quality results with the least amount of investment of time and money
Sometimes Pro advice can be "written off" as "I'm not a Pro" or "Well easy for you to say; you just charge more" by some DIYers
I'm pleased to see such a report like yours, from an occasional painter (familiar with some products and tools and having done painting projects before) where that (our "Pro") advice to use quality products and tools is supported

I especially liked your views on the Affinity color collection
I strongly agree that having eleventy-billion or even a mere 5400 colors to choose from can elicit "brain-freeze" and therefore reduce the color part of a paint project to the "uber-boring" default "Linen White" (nothing says Cheap Apt. Rental as much as "Linen White")...or as often as not, or perhaps way more often, canceling the project completely ("permanent hold" due to a color choice induced "brain freeze")

Admittedly, the Affinity Collection is not for those that are wanting "Clown Nose Red" or the "Yellowest Yellow That Ever Yellowed" (for those consumers I'd recommend the Color Preview Collection), but the fact that the Affinity Collection is is limited to 144 colors and that any three of which chosen at random will work together (or as we often call it: "Play Nice With Each Other") from a design standpoint is truly amazing
BM spends a huge amount of resources on color and it shows, and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that if one has the chance to attend a BM "Color Seminar" (especially one that has Fran-Hi Fran!) to do so

Your reviews and results of brushes and roller sleeves is also right on point and greatly appreciated


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Old 04-27-2010, 11:08 PM   #3
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Thanks Slick. I was hoping someone might find my review helpful and/or interesting. I have greatly benefitted from message boards covering a wide array of industries and topics- including this one. They can really be a great source for real-world information. I try to give-back when I can. Hopefully somone benefits from it. If not, well the advice is worth what I charged for it
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Old 04-28-2010, 07:08 AM   #4
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paint applicator

I too am an applicator, not a pro. I would however like to know exactly what a "pro" means. I realize the skill and craftsmanship that goes into a trade, so I am not being arrogant or sarcatic. Aside from "book knowledge" about paints and painting, is a pro any better at cutting in or rolling than a really good DIYer? I have been applying for a long time (summers when I taught hs, and now, that I am retired), and notice my skill improves with each job. Any pros out there with a link to what really constitutes a professional painter? I'd love to explore.

I hooked up with SW years ago and use their products unless a client chooses to do otherwise. I have used both Lowes and HD paints and they are inferior, but not totally useless. I enjoy reading these posts, but at my age, painting is therapeutic and fun. The difference between teaching and painting is that as a teacher, I didn't know if I did a good job until years later. With painting, I know where I start, know where I finish, and know instantly whether I did a good job!
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