Here’s how to get started on your next home painting project

Ace Hardware carries Benjamin Moore paint with three different levels:

  • Ben brand: Entry-level, economical, for someone who’s never painted before, easy to make it look good, might take an extra coat, $48 per gallon

  • Regal brand: Mid-grade, preferred by contractors

  • Aura brand: High-end, supposed to make your walls look perfect, $90 per gallon

Russell Bates, Benjamin Moore’s corporate trainer for the Southeastern U.S., explained the finer points of paint levels.

“We have three basic brands for our premium paints,” Bates said. “We have our Ben brand which is for new homeowners, primarily people who are new homeowners, it has a really easy application characteristic, we suggest about anybody can make the paint look really good. We have a Regal brand which is a workhorse product, we sell more of this brand than any other product we manufacture. This is for contractors, homeowners, anyone who wants a really good finish out of their jobs. And then we have our Aura brand which is our super-premium brand, best paint in the marketplace in our opinion. Ideal for high and homes, high-end office spaces.”

Consider how shiny you want your walls to look:

  • Shiny: Semi-gloss — usually for trim around doors and windows and for baseboards

  • Satin: Slight shine — great for being able to wipe off handprints

  • Eggshell: Mostly flat — most popular

  • Matte: Totally flat

“The lower the sheen, the easier it is to hide those mistakes,” Bates said. “So contractors love those types of products. The standard product for most homes and most office spaces is eggshell, which is a little bit glossier, still allows for the chance to hide some mistakes that might have happened and the joint work or something like that, but easy to apply and gives a really nice even level finish. The higher sheens — satin, semi-gloss and gloss — are usually used for trim molding, those type of things, where you would like to set off those areas with a slightly higher sheen so it reflects a little more light, kind of accents the wood being used in those areas.”

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Bates said as a general rule, the more you spend on paint, the more you should spend on rollers and brush.

The thicker the texture you’ll be painting over, the thicker the roller cover nap, i.e. how soft and fluffy it is.

For interior latex water-based paint, buy a synthetic brush! To be safe, make sure it says “all paints” on the label. A brush with natural fibers in water-based paint will swell and the brush would go bad.

Interior paint is very different than exterior paint — don’t mix them! Exterior paints are flexible and breathable. Interior paints are tough and washable so they can be cleaned.

What about ceiling paint?

“Designers are now starting to use ceiling paint as a fifth wall,” Bates said. “So they’ll actually design ceilings to come in different colors. Our ceiling paint is now made in a base so you can make it in any one of our 3500 colors and whatever color you want on the ceiling.”

Bates suggested choosing a flat sheen for ceiling paint.

“The thing about ceilings is they probably get the least amount of work from the contractor building the house so there’s not much care taken up there,” Bates said. “So the flatter the paint on the ceiling the better the ceiling looks. So our ceiling paint is the flattest product we make.”

Next week, we put our advice to the test and paint a wall!

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