We spent 60 hours researching and testing more than 10 different brands and types of interior paint and found that cost, coverage, and brand reputation were the most important factors involved for consumers who were searching for interior paint. Montage Signature Paint scored high marks in all categories and is our top pick. Montage Signature paints is popular for professional painting as well as residential. The superior coverage allows for even results and easy application. The improved technology used in this great paint makes it seal solidly, protecting your walls against mildew, moisture, and mold. This paint is also eco-friendly and made from pollutant-free materials.
Interior Paint Buying Guide
When looking for the best interior paint there are several things you want to be on the lookout for. We have listed them below:
- Hides dark colors easily – Look for interior paint that has primer and paint in one to cover dark colors without having to do extra painting with a primer first. The best results will come from 100% acrylic latex paint. Many brands offer self-priming paint since it has become so popular.
- Covers well – A high-quality interior paint will cover with just two coats. Although many self-priming paint states you can cover in one coat, you will get a lot better results by using two coats regardless.
- Scrubbable – Look for a quality paint that can handle being scrubbed. Scrubbable paint is especially important if you have kids since little ones can put all kinds of dirt, stains, and marks on your walls. Scrubbable paint will not come off or fade when scrubbed even if you clean it aggressively.
- Goes on easily – Top quality paint will go on smoothly without leaving any kind of roller or brush marks.
- Mildew resistant – If you are painting a bathroom or kitchen look for paint that is resistant to mildew, mold, and moisture. This will prevent it from bubbling and peeling.
- No sticky finish – Some paint that is lower in quality will stay sticky even after the recommended curing period. This makes it a lot more susceptible to dings and marks. Look for fast-drying paint that cures quickly. Some quality paints on the market will dry in as little as one hour.
- Stain-resistant – Even when you are being careful it is easy to leave stains on the walls. A quality interior paint will be stain resistant and easy to clean if you do get something on the wall including crayon marks, drink stains, fingerprints and more.
Before Purchasing an Interior Paint
We have compiled this helpful list below that offers tips on what to take care of before you purchase an interior paint.
- Prep the surface – When you are planning on repainting the walls in your home, make sure you check out the wall surfaces first. You want to look for stains, cracks, and other flaws on the surface you are repainting. If you are painting brand new dry wall or you are trying to cover a dark color, get the primer and paint in one.
- 2-in-1 paint – Interior paint that already has the primer in it has become very popular with homeowners that are repainting their homes. This self-priming paint eliminates the need for having to prime the walls first and then paint. All of the top brands offer a self-priming version of their paint.
- Water-based latex – If you are looking for paint that wears better than others look for water-based paint. This type is safer to work with, is easier to clean up, and does not have the strong odors oil-based paints can have.
- Low or no VOCs – Paint fumes are notorious for causing bad headaches and even nausea. If you are exposed to paint fumes for long periods of time there is a risk of kidney or liver problems. Look for paint that has little or no VOCs which will pose a lot less hazard than high VOC paints will. The majority of top paint brands will offer you a low VOC option.
- Choosing Finishes – There are many different types of finishes available to choose from. These include flat, semi-gloss, eggshell, satin, and more. Each type of finish has its advantages and special look so make sure to read more about the finishes below so you can figure out which one matches your needs the best.
- The right amount – The best way to figure out how much paint to buy is to multiply the height of the room by the length of the walls. This will give you the square footage of each room you are painting. Don’t forget to add the square footage of the ceiling if you are painting that too. Most quality paint will cover 350 to 450 square feet per gallon on average. Don’t forget to account for the fact that it will take more paint to cover up darker walls and purchase accordingly, especially if you are covering it with a light color.
Types of Paint Formulas
There are several different types of paint formulas to choose from. Take a look at the different kinds below so you understand what types you should use in certain circumstances.
- Oil-based – Oil based paint is also called solvent-based or even alkyd paint. Oil-based paint dries a lot slower than other types and will need paint thinner to clean up. The slower drying time allows oil-based paint to even out properly, eliminating roller or brush strokes. Once oil-based paint dries, it hardens to a hard shell.
- Low VOC – some paint solvents have materials that will off-gas, creating that strong paint smell. These fumes can be hazardous to your health. As concern rose about these compounds, paint companies began removing or at the very least, reducing these solvents to make paints that were healthier and safer to be around. These improved paints are thicker than the traditional style and dry quickly. Some companies add conditioners including Okon and Floetrol that can extend the time you work with them without adding VOCs to the mix.
- Latex – Also known as acrylic or water-based, this type of paint is the best for DIY projects and painting and can be cleaned up with just soap and water. The majority of paint on the market is latex. Due to the limiting of solvent-based paints going on, in some places latex is the only option available in gallons.
Types of Finishes Available
There are several finishes you can choose from when it comes to interior paint. The finish refers to the luster or shine of the paint once it has dried on the walls. We have listed the different finishes below so you can learn what characteristics each type has.
Different finishes work for some rooms better than others so once you know these different factors you can determine which finish you want for your project. The type of sheen you choose will definitely need to match the room. If you are painting a kitchen or bathroom you will want to use a paint that is resistant to moisture and that has a slight sheen or gloss to it. We have listed the different finishes below so you can learn what characteristics each type has.
- High gloss – sometimes high gloss paint is just labeled gloss. This offers the highest level of stain resistance and is very durable. It is a great choice for cabinets, interior doors, and the kitchen.
- Semi-gloss – Semi-gloss paint is very durable and resistant to stains making it a great choice for high traffic areas like the bathroom and kitchen. Semi-gloss has a shine to it as well and is very easy to clean. Semi-gloss is also often used for trim around windows and doors. Semi-gloss works well on any kind of trim including stair bannisters.
- Satin – Satin is pretty durable and also has a slight sheen to it that is not as much as semi-gloss or high-gloss. Satin finishes are good for kids’ rooms, hallways, and even living rooms and is also a popular choice for intricate molding. Satin finish areas resist fingerprints and stains.
- Eggshell – Eggshell finish is long lasting and very washable. It has a low level sheen and works well in lower traffic areas of your home including the master bedroom, dining room, and some other formal areas that don’t have a lot of people coming and going. Eggshell cleans easier than flat finishes.
- Flat – Flat paint is washable but does not have any shine to it at all. It hides any imperfections that may be on the walls. Flat paint is a great choice for ceilings and other rooms that are low-traffic.
Once you have decided what rooms you are going to paint and what type of sheen you’re after, there are some other options you will be able to decide as well such as color and brand.
There are many choices to make when choosing an interior paint and all those options can make the whole process confusing. That is why we provided you with this helpful guide and the three top-rated interior paint reviews above.
The three top interior paints featured in this guide are all excellent choices that will work for any interior painting project you have to do. All three are available in a variety of colors and several finishes as well. If you’re looking for reputable paint that will last, you can find it within one of these three choices.
All of the information you have learned in the buying guide will help you understand the different finishes available and how to determine which finish you want based on the room you are painting. You also have the knowledge to determine what makes top-quality paint so you do not waste your money on thin, poor quality paint that will not provide any decent coverage.
Painting the rooms in your home is a great way to give your home a whole new look without having to go into major renovation projects. Ensuring that you have all the right information and taking the time to sort through the different paints available will provide you with the best paint and the best results you could ask for without the headache of wondering which one to choose.
Remember to look for paint that is low VOC, washable, scrubbable, that is self-priming, and that is from a reputable company. You will pay a little more per gallon for a top quality paint but it will last a long time; much longer than poor quality paint that looks like it needs repainting after only a few months. Spend a little more now to create a look you will be proud of for years.