Painting Like A Pro: Choosing The Right Paint

How to pick the right paint for your project
Jan 15, 2020

In the last part of this series, we covered what tools you’ll need to help you paint like the pros. Now that you have the right tools, it’s time to figure out what paint to use for your renovation project. Let’s talk about what you’re painting. Is it indoors or outdoors? Is the surface smooth or rough? Do you want the finished product to look glossy or matte? All these questions, and more, need to be answered to get the best results.

In this article I’ll go over the different kinds of paint you can use for various projects. Knowing what kind of paint you need can save money and frustration when going to purchase. Once you have a color in mind, we’ll begin working through the next steps.



Once you choose a paint color, you’ll need to decide what finish you’d like the final product to have. Do you want a flatter, satin finish; or a more shiny, glossy finish? Satin, or matte, finish provides little to no shine, and offers less stain resistance. Glossy finish carries a high shine and is often times more washable. Whatever finish you decide on, make sure to purchase a color sample kit for testing (more on that later).


To ensure your final color covers completely and looks great, paint a primer coat first. Primer brings old walls back to a neutral color, seals up tiny holes in drywall, and helps final coat last even longer. Primers don’t have to be top-of-the-line to get great results. Take your time when rolling out walls and some generic primer should do the trick. Most gallons of primer will cover approximately 400 square feet, or a 12×12 room with 8’ ceilings. Try out this primer from Sherwin Williams:

Remember that primers can be tinted to closely resemble final color. This comes in handy when making a large color transition like dark blue to fiery red; and can also save you from having to apply multiple coats.


For most interior walls, people prefer high-quality, durable paint. They’re willing to pay a bit more to ensure paint will look better and last longer. While oil-based paints are more durable, many people choose latex paint because it tends to dry quickly and hold color. Latex paints are easier to apply and clean up can be done with water.

To paint interior garage walls, I prefer to use this paint because it’s cheaper and still provides a decent final look:

For painting interior walls, I prefer to use a better quality paint. For a better paint that’s still affordable I choose this:

If you want to go a step up in quality from the ProMar 200, you’ll need to drop a little more money. Purchasing a higher quality product can make application easier and paint last longer. Sherwin Williams offers their SuperPaint, which is touted as a Primer and final coat in one. While this is a novel idea, painting a primer layer first is always good consideration. Here’s the SuperPaint I would recommend:

Alternatively, Benjamin Moore offers a large line of interior paints that are high quality, but also higher price. Weigh the value of your project vs. the cost of supplies. If you’re flipping a house to sell quickly, you may not want to drop a lot of money on paint. But, if you’re creating your dream home it may be worth spending extra.


Because exterior walls are exposed to all sorts of weather, wear, and tear, they need to be more durable than interior paints. When choosing an exterior paint type, consider the material being painted. If it’s wooden siding the wood might need to be sealed before applying final coat. If you’re painting vinyl siding it requires a 100% acrylic.

For wooden siding, I like using a wood sealer, then coating with stain or final alternative color coat. When applying stain I like to use:

For vinyl siding I suggest using a 100% acrylic paint that is formulated specifically for outdoor use. This product is what I prefer to use:

Helpful Tips

  • Once you choose a color and finish consider getting a sample test kit to try at home. This can help you save time and money if the color you choose doesn’t quite fit.
  • Talk to paint store about setting up an account. Depending on how much you plan on painting, some stores may let you set up an account as a contractor, potentially saving you money in supplies.
  • Don’t be cheap. This doesn’t mean you have to buy expensive paint, but don’t try and stretch the paint you have. Running out of paint halfway down a wall means repainting the entire thing later. Plan correctly, buy primer, and get enough final coat to cover everything at least once.

That’s it for this installment of the Paint Like A Pro series. If you’ve picked out the paint but don’t have the time to paint it yourself, I’d love the opportunity to help you. Fill out my work estimate form to get started on your painting project.

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