What makes a good house paint?
May 10, 2017 4:03 PM   Subscribe

We painted the interior of our house with recycled latex paint. It seems porous and collects lots of marks and handprints. When we go to paint the exterior (and, eventually, repaint the interior) what should we be looking for to avoid these problems?

The recycled paint came from here and has a matte finish. We put two coats over textured and primed drywall.

For the exterior, we'll be painting HardiePanel (fiber cement that is apparently pre-primed) and some primed wood trim. Should we be looking elsewhere for paint? Is there something we can add to recycled latex paint (or paint over it) that will help keep it from getting dirty so easily? Is this paint acceptable to use in a rainy climate and in wet/humid areas, like the kitchen and bathroom?
posted by sibilatorix to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
Matte paint, while easy to apply and doesn't show imperfections in the paint, is the most susceptible to picking up dirt. In order of "most difficult to keep clean to easiest to clean", flat/matte > eggshell > satin > semigloss > gloss.

As you go higher up the glossy scale, it's easier to clean and resists dirt but it also gets shinier, which will show imperfections in the paint more.

In our home, we have semigloss for kitchen and bathroom and cabinetry, eggshell for everything else.
posted by Karaage at 4:27 PM on May 10, 2017 [8 favorites]

What Karaage said is what I've heard as well. Remember to use semi-gloss on interior trim as well. Another reason to use semi-gloss in the bathroom is that it repels steam a bit better. If you're really concerned about humidity in your bathroom, there is something you can add to the paint that acts as a mildew-killer.
posted by slidell at 12:28 AM on May 11, 2017

What everyone said about finish is absolutely correct, but the quality of the paint also makes a difference. We have used high-end matte paint and had it be stain resistant and easy to wash. The areas where the dogs rubbed up against the walls would scrub right off and look like new. Then we moved to a house where they used contractor grade paint, and the walls get dirty instantly, and trying to wash them just makes it so much worse.

While I love the idea of recycled paint for the cost and environmental factors, I would be hesitant to use it for an exterior project. Painting the exterior of a house is expensive and time consuming, and you're going to have weather and fading to contend with. If it were me I would splurge for a better paint (I've been very pleased with Benjamin Moore).
posted by thejanna at 6:55 AM on May 11, 2017

Response by poster: Ok! Thanks for the answers. We'll look into better paint. We may have access to a contractor account with Miller, so that could be an option.

Would it make any sense to do the first coat in recycled white paint, then use new high-end paint for the second coat?
posted by sibilatorix at 10:00 AM on May 11, 2017

I wouldn't do a first coat in the recycled paint, no. I agree with thejanna, that painting the outside of a house is expensive and time-consuming. The better your paint and prep, the longer your paint job will last.

Flat or eggshell on the planks, semigloss or satin on the trim. Consumer Reports recommends Behr Premium Plus Ultra Exterior (available at Home Depot) or Clark + Kensington Exterior (available at Ace Hardware stores) for exterior paints.
posted by purple_bird at 1:49 PM on May 11, 2017

Painting the outside of your house is a once every 7-10 year event where I live. Spend the time to prep perfectly- clean well, caulk everything, replace the boards/siding that needs replacing. Spend the money on the very best quality paint you can possibly get. Get the primer from the same manufacturer and have it tinted to go under your chosen color. Do a coat of primer and two coats of color. Painting is a skill- coats that are too thick will peel more easily, coats that are too thin won't protect your house. It it completely worth is to buy good paint that will stick to your house long term. People think it's just decorative but paint is also protective.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 3:16 PM on May 11, 2017

All very good advice above - I'd like to add that eggshell finish is really hard to touch up without it showing. Our firm specs it, when there is a boo-boo the contractor generally has to repaint paint the entire wall. I'd prefer we didn't spec it, but it ain't my department.
posted by rudd135 at 6:54 PM on May 11, 2017

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