Which is the Perfect Interior Paint Finish for Your Project?

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Bryan Tibbetts - Owner, Fresh Colors Painting


The information on flat wall paint is somewhat outdated and misleading. Some home improvement shows and articles are misleading the public into thinking that flat wall paint is not washable. This is simply not the case these days. The Ultra-Premium Paint Lines nowadays can have a great deal of washability, and some are even scrubbable.
Porter's “Silk N Touch” Flat is our Preferred Wall Paint because it is Highly Washable in Flat, even Stain “Resistant”, Self Priming, and is superb at hiding imperfections in drywall. And let’s not forget what the previous gentleman said “you can go back and touch up any area and there are not telltale marks where you did the touch-up”. Hiding drywall imperfections, in my opinion, make flat wall paint the preferred sheen for most walls in residential homes. With flat paint being washable these days, I don’t see any reason to use anything else on walls. With just a couple of exceptions such as: wall’s in bathrooms where there is a high humidity levels from those that like to take a lot of hot showers, or baths, and above countertops and stoves where constant cleaning is needed.
Most residential builders require a level 3 drywall finish. I even see level 3 finishes on homes priced over 500k. A Level 5 finish is the highest finish available and a level 4 is a lot more expensive than a level 3. One of the biggest mistake’s I see homeowners make when painting walls is applying a wall paint with a sheen, like Satin, to walls that have a lot of natural light. “Light walls” as their called, are walls that stand perpendicular to a light source. When viewed at an angle the drywall imperfections are highly noticeable on light walls making them a really choice for shiny wall paint.
I think some people believe that Satin is more “luxurious” or that is more “High End”. I’ve even heard a few people tell me that they like the way it “feels”. Which I think is kind of funny because I for one don’t go around “feeling” walls.

Andrea Gray


Flat paint is preferred by contractors because it is "forgiving"- tht is, you can go back and touch up any area and there are not telltale marks where you did the touch-up. With ANY other finish, even matte, if you find, let's say a bubble or you remove a picture hook later on in the life of the paint job, your touch-up will show.



i would like to be able to print the articles. a link for friendly print would be nice on your website.

Paul Schroder


I tend to like an eggshell on interior walls. Applied correctly it looks great. Some flat/matte paints are quite cleanable now days.

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I second the original question (still unanswered). Speaking as someone who logged in today to try to find an attorney, I see this category as one that's exactly what I have my Angie's List membership for:

1. It's important that I find a good one
2. I'm not an expert enough to know myself who is a good one
3. The industry is full of advertisements and misinformation
4. I wish I knew what experiences other people have had

I don't care about lawns--I planted mine in clover and don't have to mow it. When I do need to mow I use a rotary Fiskars mower, which is great--or a scythe. That's right--a scythe (the European type, which is smaller, and it's very good exercise). Gas-powered mowers, chemical fertilizers and weed killers--all nasty stuff that gets into everyone's air, soil, and water. I'm sure my neighbor doesn't like my wildflowers, semi-wild pockets of fruit bushes, and unmown areas and yes, dandelions (I have 10 acres) but that's too bad. It's better habitat for wildlife, especially the pollinators on which our food supply depends. I think this obsession with the Great American Lawn is a waste of time and resources. Plant some food instead.

I'm not sure Angie et. al. want you to have a complete answer to this question. By re-subscribing at the Indiana State Fair in 2012, I think I paid $20.00 per year for a multi- year subscription. Maybe even less. At the other extreme--and I hope my memory isn't faulty about this--I think the price, for my area, for ONE year was an outrageous $70.00. And they debited me automatically without warning. I had to opt out of that automatic charge. I like Angie's List, but if some of the companies they monitor behaved the way they do in this respect, they'd be on some sort of Pages of Unhappiness. I'll be interested to see if this comment gets published or censored out of existence.

That's very difficult to answer without seeing the house. As one poster said, the prep is the most important part. On newer homes that don't have a lot of peeling paint, the prep can be very minimal even as low as a couple or a few hundred dollars for the prep labor.

On a 100 year old home with 12 coats of peeling paint on it, then the prep costs can be very high and can easily exceed 50% of the job's labor cost.

A 2100 sq ft two story home could easily cost $1000 just for the labor to prep for the paint job. That number could climb too. Throw in lots of caullking  or window glazing, and you could be talking a couple or a few hundred dollars more for labor.

Painting that home with one coat of paint and a different color on the trim could run roughly $1000 or more just for labor. Add a second coat  and that could cost close to another $1000 for labor.

For paint, you may need 20 gallons of paint. You can pay from $30-$70 for a gallon of good quality exterior paint. The manufacturer of the paint should be specified in any painting contract. Otherwise, the contractor could bid at a Sherwin-Williams $60 per gallon paint and then paint the house with $35 Valspar and pocket the difference. $25 dollars per gallon times 20 gallons? That's a pretty penny too.

That was the long answer to your question. The short answer is $2000 to $4000 and up, depending upon the amount of prep, the number of coats, the amount of trim, and the paint used.