Which paint is best?

Better quality paint means you will have to paint your home fewer times over the years. Because paint technology has improved significantly in the past few years, it’s cost-effective to buy better quality paint and save on labor costs by not having to paint your home as often.

Paint brands sell both “fair” and “fantastic” paint

Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore are simply brands of paint.

Like cars, there are entry-level and luxury paints within each paint brand.

Beware of a quote with only the brand name listed.shrewin williams sign

When a painter tells you they use “Benjamin Moore paint”, it explains nothing about the paint they’ll be applying.

You need to know the grade of paint within the Benjamin Moore brand that’ll be applied.

For example, Benjamin Moore’s interior product lineup includes:

Benjamin Moore’s Aura (the best interior and exterior products from Ben Moore’s lineup)
Benjamin Moore’s Regal (a mid-range paint)
Benjamin Moore’s “Ben” (a value-priced paint)
Benjamin Moore’s “Super Spec” and “Super Hide” (commercial products)

The quality between the four Benjamin Moore paints above include differences in:

Paint washability
Color retention & resistance to fading
Low odor
Environmental friendliness

The cost of using a better paint:

Because most of the cost to paint is in the time and labor, using a better paint only adds about 2% to the cost of a professional paint job. If you’re doing the project yourself, better paint usually pays for itself in the time you save by getting great coverage.

Bottom line:

Your written paint quote should specify the paint brand AND paint grade.

Our general paint recommendations for homes in the Boston and South Shore area:

Interior walls: Sherwin Williams Duration Home in matte finish

Interior trim: Sherwin Williams Duration Home in semi-gloss finish

Exterior Trim: Sherwin Williams Resilience in satin finish

Exterior wood clapboards, decks & fences: Sherwin Williams Woodscapes Solid Stain (looks like paint, but seeps into the wood to protect it.)

Exterior cedar shingles: Sherwin Williams Woodscapes Stain in transparent, semi-transparent or solid, depending on the look you’d like.

Choosing a paint finish or sheen:interior painting boston

All paint brands and grades come in several finishes. Here are the reasons to choose one over the other:

Matte or flat: A “designer- look” for walls, but may be less washable and scrubbable. Flat paints also hide imperfections better than shinier finishes.

Eggshell finish: A washable finish for walls with a little sheen. Think of the outside of an actual eggshell to visualize the finish.

Satin: A nice finish for exterior trim. Shinier than eggshell, but not as shiny as semi-gloss.

Semi-gloss: Great for interior trim and high visibility areas like front doors. The shine of a semi-gloss paint exposes
imperfections, so prepare and sand well before applying.

High-Gloss: Usually sprayed on new doors & cabinets. Not brushed or rolled often because high gloss paint exposes imperfections and brush strokes.

Low and No VOC Paints – advantages and disadvantages:

VOCs are volatile organic compounds, airborne chemicals that produce odor while the paint is still wet.

When applying paints that contain VOCs, odors can continue to release slowly over several years. This can lead to various individual side effects, like skin or allergy irritation, headaches, tiredness, and trouble breathing.

  • Low-VOC paints still give off a slightly less noticeable odor than normal VOC paints.  Low-VOC paints offer more colors and options than no-VOC paints.
  • No VOC – “odorless” paints. When using these types of paints, you can expect almost no odor.  No VOC paints come in a limited variety of colors, however.
  • Low and No VOC paints contain fewer fungicides than regular paint, so they tend to grow mold and mildew easily.
  • Both low and no-VOC paints may require more coats of paint to cover completely.

Choosing a paint color:

Choosing a color keeps people second-guessing themselves until they see the finished product. To make choosing a color easier, we offer the following color services to all of our customers:

Free, in-home color consultation with one of our three designers to choose a color that works with your existing furnishings and lifestyle. In our experience, taking one hour with our designer makes the difference between a “good” and “awesome” final outcome.

We can help you choose a color for both your exterior and interior spaces, and we’ll never push you to choose a designer or trendy color you don’t like.

Paint Samples on Door
We can order free large paint samples in any Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore color. Because this customer was using Farrow and Ball paint, she painted her own from sample jars.

Free large color samples: We offer this service even if you paint yourself. Tell us which Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams colors you’re considering, and we’ll mail you large color chips sized approximately 8” x 10.” We’ll even send you multiples of each color, so you can hang them in different areas of your walls and see how the light affects the colors in different places. If you’d like us to mail you free large color samples, email [email protected] with your colors and mailing address. Choose as many colors as you’d like! Really


Our painters can paint color swatches on the first day we arrive. If you’re down to two colors and can’t decide between them, our painters will paint both colors for you on your walls the morning we arrive.

If you have any questions about paint brands, colors or sheens, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at [email protected].

We’re happy to answer your questions, even if you’re doing the painting yourself.