Paint and primer coatings of the same base are usually equal in quality from manufacturer to manufacturer. Differences in both products occur when less expensive additives are used in either the paint or the primer.

Of course, most professional painters do have a brand preference when it comes to their paint. In most cases such preferences are due to price, viscosity (thickness) or drying time.

With that said, what paint or primer would be the best for the average homeowner to use. Well, it all comes down to the job at hand, price your willing to pay, color and whether you, yourself, like the product that you're applying.

It's all somewhat confusing I know, so the best paint buying tip that I can give is mid priced paints from one well known manufacturer to another are very much the same in quality and durability.

As an example, if brand A's best mid priced paint (for your specific type of job) is $35.00 and brand B's mid line paint its going to cost you $45.00 then I would recommend the lower priced paint. The same rule goes for both lower and higher priced coatings.

Do keep in mind though, whether it's good quality paint or not, you may still find a reason (once the paint is rolled on) to dislike it.

When it's all said and done you will have to apply the stuff to see if you're going to like it. So, be sure to test a small amount of your chosen paint prior to buying a large amount of a particular paint brand.


Good quality latex paints are the most widely used paint coating. Latex paints are better for the environment having low or no volatile organic compounds.

Other advantages of a latex coating would be ease of clean up along with quick drying properties.

Latex paints also tend to hold their color well once dried.


Using alkyd paint and primer indoors is (in my opinion) the same as jamming crazy glue up your nose and rubbing glass in your eyes.

Even so, I do still have to apply oil based paints every once in a while being as some jobs require an alkyd coating.

As an example, un-painted textured ceilings, should be coated with an oil based paint or primer.

Crappy floors are another project that I will use an oil or alkyd to paint on.

Whatever the job, be sure to always wear coveralls, throw away shoes, gloves, goggles and a respirator when painting with an alkyd product.


Kitchen and bath paints tend to have additives that can fight against mold or mildew and will perform well in humid conditions.


Most kids room paints focus on the paint having little or no toxins (VOC's or volatile organic compounds) while at the same time being very durable and scrubable.


Trim paints are designed to handle some abuse, wash easily and will usually flow out nicely while being painted.

Most trim paints do have a gloss level though and when using a paint that has a gloss finish (sheen) then the surface being painted needs to be in very good condition. Otherwise any dents scratches or groves will stand out once painted.


Modified oils are created so as to have some of the advantages of both an oil (alkyd) and latex based paint and primer. Such advantages would include the leveling (or flowing) properties of an oil based coating and the easy cleanup of a latex paint.

An extra advantage of modified paints etc., are their durability which is another property of oil paints.


Waterborne products are one of my favorite coatings to use. Waterborne has a lot of the same properties as oil based paint and primer but cleans up with water.

Newer high end paints that are referred to as non-voc, are considered environmentally friendly and usually belong to the waterborne family. I try, whenever possible, to apply waterborne to most areas of a home.

Now I can hear you saying "It can't be that good, there has to be something wrong with it". Your right, it's not perfect.

The number one disadvantage is that waterborne cost more and it also dries very quickly requiring some practice to apply. You can mix in a drying inhibitor but that adds dollars to the job.

Waterborne's third problem is sheen. Most waterborne paints do not match the shine you have become accustomed to with other paints.


Almost all industrial or commercial paints are formulated using some type of volatile solvent.

Some high end latex can be used though, but it does depend on the job being done.

Your paint supplier will assist you with selecting the appropriate coating for your specific project.


Paints that are designated as paint and primer in one tend to have excellent coverage (especially when painting very dark colors) and will adhere to some surfaces that other paints will not.

Do keep in mind though that most good quality combination paint/primers are usually on the pricey side.


There are so many different kinds of paint and primer a person could spend weeks just reading the labels on the cans.

I try and stick with two types of primers for my projects.

One is called plastic or speed primer and the other is a drywall sealer. Plastic primer is very expensive, yet it sticks to almost anything.

Drywall sealer on the other hand is high hiding and works best on unpainted drywall.

The only time I steer away from these two coatings is when I'm painting metals.

A tip when using primer is to add your left over pastel colored interior paint, to the primer (3 primer to 1 paint) and use the mixture as an undercoat for new drywall.


Every once and a while customers ask if they can use leftover exterior products on the inside of their homes.

Most other contractors have no qualms applying outside paint and primer onto interior walls. I do agree that painting a surface as oppose to throwing a coating away is the best alternative.

Even so, I myself would not always recommend products intended for the outside used on your interior walls. Reason being is that some exterior paints have chemicals added to them which will keep bugs and fungus away. Plus there could also be a multitude of other goodies mixed in with the paints formulation.


Elastomeric's are the best exterior paint product that you can apply to your home. By using an Elastomeric you will have long lasting durability and color retention. Elastomeric's do have disadvantages such as cost, coverage per square foot (compared to other paints) and they are much more difficult to apply.


I find that the best paint to use are ones that can be applied in multiple conditions or job type. As an example, most mid range or high end combined paint and primers can be used for a majority of painting situations. Of course such paints are also expensive.

You will have to decide on what product works best for your particular situation.

This paint types page will help you find more information about each individual paint coating mentioned (or not mentioned) above.

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