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Step 3: Quantity & Quality of Paint




How much paint?

  • Measure the room (s) you’ll be painting, rounding up to the nearest foot. You want to get slightly more than you need to ensure you’ll have enough (if coverage rate is not exact) – and that you’ll have some left over for touch up. For wall paints – and especially custom colors, never change gallons in the middle of a wall – always at the corners or edges.

For help with calculating, go to our Paint Calculator.

Why Top Quality Paint is the Best Buy

No matter what kind of paint you choose, you’ll find a variety of prices and a wide range of quality. You’ll pay less per gallon for lower quality paints, but don’t let that fool you. You generally get more for your money, and a much better value, with a higher quality paint.

Why a High Quality in Paint Means High Value

A good quality paint goes on faster and easier.

  • Good hiding and flow means the paint will go on with less brushing, less retouching, etc.
  • You may need LESS COATS to achieve good hiding and an attractive uniform appearance.
  • Less spattering can mean faster, easier cleanup.

For exterior work, the cost per year is lower with a top quality paint. If the surface is properly prepared and you use the right tools, you’ll need to repaint less often and there will be less maintenance. You probably won’t have mildew to remove, nor should you have to worry about chalking, cracking, etc.

For interior work, you should expect a top quality paint to last longer and give you more value. A quality paint resists dirt and staining better, and stands up to repeated cleaning better than an "economy" paint.

How Paint Ingredients Affect Quality Pigments

Provide color or whiteness and hiding

  • Top quality paints have higher levels of high-hiding pigments
  • Top quality exterior paints have more durable pigments that resist chalking and fading better


They "bind" the pigment into a tough, continuous film and help the paint adhere to the surface.

  • Top quality flat paints have a higher binder to pigment ratio.
  • Many top quality exterior latex paints are based on 100% acrylic binders for maximum:
    • adhesion when wet for resistance to blistering and peeling
    • resistance to mildew and dirt
    • alkali resistance over fresh masonry


Liquids carry the pigment and binders. In oil-based and alkyd paints, the liquid is a paint thinner. In latex paints, the liquid is water.

  • Top quality paints have less liquid and more solids (pigment & binders).


Ingredients used at low levels to provide key properties, such as:

  • Mildew resistance (mildewcide), found in quality exterior paints.
  • Better flow & leveling
  • Splatter resistance

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