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Common Paint Questions

Common Paint Questions

Painting is a common DIY task. Today’s Ace Hardware Project of the Week is painting and answering some common paint questions.

How much paint?

The most common question is how much area will one gallon of paint cover. For most paints, one gallon will cover 350-400 square feet of wall space.  However, the quality of the paint will affect how well the paint covers that area.  This is what we refer to as “hide.” High quality paint like Valspar Optimus has excellent hide capability and will give you a true one-coat finish in most cases.  Lower quality paints which contain more water and fewer solids may require two coats to cover the same 350-400 square feet. Other factors that determine how much paint you will need include the type of surface being covered, the color currently on the surface and the color being applied.  Ask the paint expert in The Paint Studio at Ace Hardware for guidance.

How does someone recognize good quality paint?

Paint has three components: the solids, the pigment and the liquid.  The best paints contain a higher volume of solid materials. For example, a low priced gallon of paint with a solid content of 19 percent might require multiple coats and cover about 200 square feet while a higher-priced gallon with 41 percent solid content will cover about twice that amount.

Oil-based Vs. Water-based

Due to environmental concerns, most paint has moved from oil-based to water-based latex.  Is this a problem? No, it’s not a problem at all. In fact, for most applications, the water-based latex paints are a far better choice as they have great features that oil-based paints did not.  This includes less odor, easy clean up with water, faster drying, ease of touch-up, ease of application, less fading on exteriors, no yellowing on interiors and less likely to crack or peel.

How to choose sheen?

Sheen, or the shininess of the paint, definitely should be a consideration.  In general, the more sheen, for example semi-gloss, the easier it is to clean the painted wall.  However, more sheen also means seeing more imperfections in the wall. We usually recommend a flat or matte sheen for living rooms and master bedrooms where you want a rich look and don’t have too much concern about durability. Eggshell is great for bedrooms, hallways, and family rooms where you might need a bit more ability to clean the walls. And satin or semi-gloss is usually recommended for kitchens and bathrooms where you need excellent clean ability and durability against humidity.