(© Copyright 2011 Shawn
Cole. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Most people buy paint based on price and have no idea why one paint
brand or even different paints by the same manufacturer cost different
prices. The simple explanation is that not all paint is equal in
the amount of "pigmentation" (solids) that the paint contains.
Price is not an indication of how well a paint "covers". Usually
the more you pay for a gallon of paint - the better it covers because
you are paying for the manufacturer to put in more and the actual
"paint" pigmentation into the gallon for better coverage.
For instance, Home Depot sells 2 different buckets of Bear brand paint
- Bear Paint ($85 for 5 gallon bucket) and Bear Brand Premium for
$120 for a 5 gallon bucket. Same manufacturer but the Bear
Brand Premium has more actual paint pigmentation in it and covers the
walls much better than the standard Bear Brand. Thus the
Bear Brand Premium is a better value because two coats will cover much
better than the standard paint.
Paint coverage is determined on the thickness of the paint on the wall
after it dries. Paint with less solids, is thinner and thus does
not cover as well. For example, The more solids in a gallon, the
less square foot of wall it will cover but with cover better. The
amount of solids in a paint, regardless of the specific brand, will
always cover the same amount of square feet. Thus
paint with less solids will paint more square feet but will not "cover"
as well because the thickness of the paint is thinner, allowing
imperfections in the wall or previous paint to show through more
easily. More solids in the paint cover less square feet but go on
thicker and cover those imperfections better.
Manufacturers charge by the amount of solids they have in their
paint. That is why there are two different prices for the Bear
paint in the above example. Simply put, the Bear Brand Premium
has more solids and thus costs more. This example works on
every paint brand that offers different types of paint within the
manufacturer's line of products.
Things are harder for a building owner to figure out when comparing one
brand of paint against another brand of paint.
Manufacturers don't want to tell the amount of solids so the average
building owner or homeowner usually buys a brand of paint and then
chooses which of the different paint qualities he wants to pay for
within that brand. This is where painters
and owners have a "preference" to a brand of paint. They have
found that for the money a certain brand and level within that brand
did well for coverage for them. The sad truth is that price alone
is not indicative of the type of coverage. Too bad it isn't that
Painting with top-quality paint can add years to the life of a
paint job and ultimately save hundreds or even thousands of dollars
over the long-term. With proper surface preparation, good paint
could last 10 years with cheaper paint only lasting 4 years. Good
paint washes better after it is on the wall. That could save an
owner having to re-paint an apartment when a tenant moves
out. It is always cheaper to wash down the walls than
paint. Even paint with less solids in it will do a very
good job covering a wall with two (2) coats. The real question is
whether it is really cheaper in the long run to pay $35 more per 5
gallon bucket in the above example on Bear paint and get the paint with
more solids than risk using paint with fewer solids that does not
withstand the abuse of a tenant. In the long run, it is more
economical to pay a few dollars more for paint with more solids and
better coverage upfront and maybe not have to repaint those walls when
the tenant moves out.
Paint Coverage Rate
There are different factors that determine how well any brand of paint
will cover and wear. Some are:
If you paint a new color over a different color, expect that the
coverage will not be as good for the first coat. The reason is
that you have to cover-up the old color whereas if the paint is the
same color, it is simply "refreshing" the same color.
- the exact coverage rate
- type of surface being painted
- type of paint
- method of painting
- color of paint
- whether the surface is rough or smooth
- the condition of the previous paint on the wall
- darker paint goes farther than light color paint when covering
This is why it is a good practice for building owners not to treat
their apartments as if it were their home. In a home,
people like different rooms to be different colors. In an
apartment, most owners find out that it is better to paint the ceiling
and walls the same color and generally even have a preference to the
brand of paint so they don't run into having to "cover-up" the existing
color before the new color shows nicely. Remember this is not
your home, this is a business. Keep your expenses
down. Don't pretend to be a home decorator.
Your tenants don't appreciate it.
If you still want to use different colors in every room, remember that
painters, including Cole Maintenance charge more because of the extra
time to clean up after using a paint and then changing
colors. Time is money. Don't spend more than
you have to. When one tenant moves out, you
stop earning money. You need to get another tenant in as quickly
as possible. No tenant will ever turn down an apartment that he
wants because it is painted in one color. They don't even think
about that. They pick an apartment based on the amount of rent
they have to pay and whether it is clean.
No matter how much you pay for good paint with lots of solids, the
paint job will not be as good as it can if the surface contains large
cracks or crumbling areas or water damage that has not been
repaired. Cole has actually had an owner want his
apartment painted with 156 nails still in the walls and small
holes. When Cole explained that the nails have to be pulled and
the holes patched before painting, the owner actually said - "let the
new tenant hang their pictures where the nails are already
there." This is a true story.
Cole will look over damaged walls, pull nails, plaster the holes at a
very reasonable price.
Understanding What Makes a Quality
Choosing a good quality paint has advantages over buying the cheapest
paint when painting a room. Good paint goes on faster and easier
and has good hiding qualities to cover up imperfections on the
wall. Buying a better paint also means not having to put on extra
coats of paint because the better paints provide better "coverage" than
cheaper and thinner paints which will require more coats of paint to
achieve a good surface. Buying a better paint also means you can
wash the dirt and grime off the wall easier and maybe avoid having to
repaint the entire wall again when a tenant allows his child to draw on
the wall with crayons
A paint is composed of pigments, binders, resins (liquid) and various
additives. The pigments give the paint color; the
vehicle (water for latex paint) make it easier to
apply; binders help it dry; and additiveds serve as
everything from fillers to anti-fungicidal agents. Hundreds of
different pigments, both natural and synthetic exist. Paint is
made up of different percentages of these components
Understanding what makes up a good paint will help the building owner
make an informed decision as to which paint is best for the
job. How the manufacturer adds these basic component
determines the price per gallon and how the paint performs on the
What Do Manufacturers Put In Paint?
All latex paint has 4 basic components:
- Liquids (water) also
known as the Vehicle
Pigment is the component that provides
the color. It is made of finely ground powder which does not
dissolve. This powder is suspended in the liquid. There are
two types of pigments:
These pigments provide the primary
color of the paint. This type of pigment is very expensive and
only high quality paints to a lot of this type of pigment.
These pigments are less expensived to
use than primary pigments. They also do not hide imperfections as
well, nor do they allow for the owner to scrub marks off the paint as
well as paint that uses primary pigments do. These extender
pigments are usually made from clay, silica, talc, and / or chalk.
Paint that is made with more prime pigments is naturally more expensive
than paint that uses extender pigments. The combination of using
different percentages of the primary and extender type pigments
determines the price of the paint and the ability of the paint to cover
either, scrub off marks better, etc. That is why one manufacturer
makes several different lines of paint at different prices.
The different lines of paint are determined by what percentage of each
of pigment is in the paint and why some paint costs $12 a gallon while
the same manufacturer has $30.00 a gallon paint to offer to the
buyer. The other cost factors are listed below.
The binder is the actual film forming
component of paint. The binder consists of acrylics,
polyurethanes, polyesters, resins, epoxy or oils. As the wet
paint is put on the wall, the binders control how the paint dries
and/or cures. As the water component of the paint evaporates, the
binder forms a solid film on the top layer of the paint. Latex
paint is a water-based paint that means any spills can be cleaned up
using water. Depending on the binder, some paints "cure" --
meaning all the parts of paint fuse together so that water will no
longer affect the paint. Enamel type paint usually cures rather
than the latex paints simply dries.
(also known as the water or resin)
The main purpose of the water in latex
paint is to regulate the "viscosity" of the paint. Viscosity of
the paint refers to the thickness of the paint. Water has a low
viscosity while honey has a high viscosity (thickness). The less
viscosity of the paint, the easier the paint spreads on the wall.
In other words, the thinner the paint, the more wall surface it will
cover. That may sound good but the coverage is a thin layer of
paint that may not cover any imperfections under it and may require two
or more coats to provide good "coverage". The lower the viscosity
(thickness) the more square feet a paint will cover per gallon.
Because the thinner paint is actually thinner, the imperfections on the
wall may show through, resulting in the need for a second
coat. Paint with a higher viscosity are thicker
paints which cover imperfections better. These are
the paints advertised as "one coat coverage". Although the gallon
may not cover as many square feet per gallon, the higher thickness of
the paint eliminates the need for a second coat and thus saves the
building owner the expense of applying a second coat of paint.
The three main ingredients of paint as
described above may also have a fourth ingredient known as an
"Additive". Some additives improve the flow of the paint when
being applied, some improve the finished appearance, some control
foaming, some provide UV protection from the sun fading the paint and
some fight bacterial growth when paint is applied in moist areas
such as the bathroom.
The more additives, the higher the quality of the paint and the higher
the price per gallon.
The manufacturer may put in an additive such as:
so that the paint covers the wall with a thicker layer of
paint to hide what is underneath
additives to help prevent paint components from separating
are preservatives to help prevent mildew when paint is
applied in wet areas like a bathroom
as paint is applied, tiny bubbles of air are created
and a defoamer bursts these bubbles
Makes a Better Paint?
Quality Latex Paint
Standard Quality Latex Paint
30% to 45% binders and pigments
Less than 30% binders and pigments
Remainder of gallon liquids and
Remainder of gallon liquids and additives
Thicker dry film on paint surface
Thinner dry film on paint surface
The High Quality Latex Paint has higher solids content that provides a
thicker dry paint film, which results in better hiding, durability and
resists dirt better and holds up better to scrubbing the paint to get
Look at the can of paint and find the specifications of the paint
label. The solids content of the paint may be on the paint can
specification sheet. It can be expressed by weight or
volume. Latex paints range from 25% to about 40% volume of solids
depending on the quality of the paint. The more solids, the
better quality of the paint.
Binder = Solids
The Solids + Liquid
= Coating Coverage
Choosing the Right Paint Finish Can
Help Extend the Life of the Painted Surface
A homeowner usually chooses a "flat" finish for the walls of their home
but a flat finish may not provide the protection you need in an
apartment building where the tenants write on walls, have children who
put dirty finger prints on the paint, draw with crayons on the walls
and generally abuse the painted surface. Choosing the right
finish of the paint can upgrade the life of a cheaper per gallon paint
to perform better and last longer.
The different finishes provide more ability to wash the paint and may
eliminate having to paint as often. It is always more economical
to wash the walls than to re-paint the entire wall again.
Remember that a cheaper paint with a more durable finish may be an
alternative to purchasing a more expensive can of paint.
a very expensive can of paint with a "flat" finish may not hold up as
well to washing as a cheaper paint with a satin or semi-gloss finish.
Finish is best suited for low traffic
areas. A flat finish is the best at hiding minor
imperfections in the wall. If you have tenants who damage the
walls in their apartment, a flat finish does not wash off the dirt and
grime as well as other finishes.
Eggshell finishes have a very low sheen and hold up well to medium traffic
areas. This finish is very good at hiding minor
imperfections to provide better washability than a flat finish paint.
Also called "Lo-Lustre".
means slightly shiny
finish. This type of finish is easier to clean than the eggshell
finish. It is a good choice for areas of medium to high
traffic areas where walls can be damaged with dirt, crayons and
general grime. This finish holds up better and can be washed
easily which may prevent having to repaint a wall.
sheen and is best used in a high traffic
people in the room get the wall
dirty). Different paint manufacturers have different levels of
shine on their semi-gloss finished paint. Some have a shine
barely noticeable while other manufacturers may have the finish very
Gloss A high gloss finish to the paint is best
suited to high
areas and is usually best to put in kitchens because of
the advantage that grease and grime can be most easily washed off the
The above information will help the building owner read the
specifications located on the gallon of paint and/or on a specification
sheet. Some owners have preferences on a specific brand of
paint. That's okay. The best way to determine the
manufacurer and the specific type of paint in that line of paint is a
combination of preference and experience and knowledge of what the
paint label describes.
Combinations of the above components of paint explain why one
manufacturer will offer up to a dozen models or types of paint at
different prices. The more pigments, additives and binders
used, the more expensive the paint and the higher the quality of the
in your building.
Know that the cheaper the paint, the lss durability and the ability to
wash off dirt it will probably have
- 80% of the wall paint on commercial jobs is an egg shell finish
are not decorating your home where you may want o have every room a
differnt color. It is far cheaper to paint all the rooms in an
apartment the same color. If one wall needs to be touched-up, you
can use the leftover paint to do so. You will not remember the
exact brand and color name if you have rooms in different colors.
Just remember to keep the leftover paint at room temperature and don't
allow it to freeze -- so don't put it in your garage in winter
walls in an apartment are painted far more often than you would do in
your home. Tenants may move out after their year's lease
is up and the walls need to be painted again if the dirt does not wash
wall to hang pictures and "stuff".
holes to be pulled out and the holes patched. Never
assume that the next tenant will use the sem nails to hang his pictures
and "stuff". As a personal note, I had a tenant put 235
nails in the walls to hang so many pictures and junk that it was
amazing for a two bedroom, one bath apartment.
Hire a Painter that Does Not Have Liability Insurance
Cole Maintenance has a ONE-MILLION
DOLLAR INSURANCE POLICY. Some of the men who
advertise in the yellow pages or on line are part-time painters who
have full time jobs and paint your apartment on the
week-ends. They may not be insured since these insurance policies
I have discovered that most of the men to advertise that they paint
never answer their phones. You call them and find yourself
leaving a message on a recorder. They may call you back in a few
days. Cole Maintenance answsers his phone when
you call. Several phone numbers are available for you to
call. Painting on week-ends is no more costly
than painting an apartment during the week.
Cole Maintenance believes that building owners should put their money
into their building, whether in counter-tops, flooring or paint.
That is why you can take control of the amount you want to invest in
the paint. You can choose an expensive paint or an
inexpensive paint based on your needs. Never again do you have to
pay top dollar for a paint job only to find out that the paint that was
used was the cheapest your old painter could find but charged you
top-buck claiming it was great paint.
Cole Maintenance will paint a two-bedroom, one bath apartment
$200 in one color per coat.
You provide the paint. You decide what you want to
pay for the paint. You keep the receipt for the
paint and deduct the paint on your income
taxes. Cole Maintenance provides you with a receipt for the labor
you deduct on your income taxes.
You decide if you want to purchase a high quality-one-coat paint that
covers in one coat. You may decide, after calculating the cost
differential, that you want to purchase a standard, less-expensive
paint that may require two coats. You control how you
want to spend your money. Never again will you pay a small
fortune for a painting job that is supposed to have included the "best"
paint -- only to discover the paint was not the top of the line paint
for which you paid.