Premium interior paints combine high-quality raw materials with proprietary technology to provide superior product performance. With great hiding qualities, stain resistance and durability, premium interior paints are low odor, washable and mildew-resistant.
by Stacey Enesey Klemenc
to differentiate product quality. The problem is, competitors say, that one company’s “premium” may not measure up to another’s. Still premium paints made by reputable manufacturers have many things in common.
“Generally speaking, an interior ‘premium’ product has a very washable or scrubbable film that resists stains and lasts for many years, even with repeated washings,” says Aaron Dhawan, director of marketing for Insl-X Products Corp., the company behind Coronado paint.
The way companies formulate their “premium” products can vary, he explains, but “In general, the ratio of resin (or paint binder) vs. pigment in ‘premium’ products is higher than the ratio in lower-quality products. In other words, the pigment particles have more ‘glue’ holding them in place than your run-of-the-mill, apartment-grade paint.”
In addition, he continues, “The type of resin used in ‘premium’ paints differs from the lower-quality products. Generally a 100-percent acrylic, high-scrub vinyl or some combination is used in the top class of interior products.”
According to Steve Revnew, director of marketing, residential segments, for The Sherwin-Williams Co., for a product to fit under the premium classification, “It needs to be user friendly for the applicator — in other words, easy to apply with good coverage — and at the same time offer long-lasting protection such as resistance to stains and burnishing.”
Betsy Litton, associate brand manager for Ralph Lauren Paint, adds, “A premium will make sure it stays looking good for a lot longer.”
The more premium the paint, the experts agree, the better hiding qualities it should possess.
All in all, explains Peter Seaborg, vice president of sales for Muralo, “A ‘premium’ paint should be the best interior paint that a company makes.” However in the past 10 years, he adds, waterborne technology has progressed to the point that a new category has been created. “Super-premium paints are a step above even premium-grade paints,” he says.
“Premium or top-quality paints are designed to outperform paints of lesser quality by producing a better-looking and a longer-lasting finish,” says George Przybylski, marketing director for M.A. Bruder & Sons Inc., maker of the MAB line of paints.
They generally have added “on-the-wall” performance properties, says Gene Merrill, product manager of architectural marketing for Duron Paints and Wallcoverings.
- Better adhesion
- Low odor
- Mildew resistance
- Minimal splattering during application
- More hiding power, resulting in fewer coats
- Smooth and even application without showing roller or brush marks
- Better resistance to dirt and stains
- Better “block” resistance
“Block resistance,” explains Merrill, “refers to a paint product’s ability to resist painted surfaces from becoming sticky, even at high temperatures like windows and doors exposed to direct sunlight. Without this feature doors and windows become difficult to open and, at times, things like picture frames, books and candles will stick or print on shelves and windowsills.”
Higher-quality paints allow for a thicker paint film after they have completely cured, Przybylski adds. “More paint on the surface [means] better appearance and better protection.”
Premium paints outperform professional-grade products in many ways, says Seaborg. For instance, “A professional-grade flat may have great hide, but won’t be as durable and won’t be able to withstand as many washes as a premium flat.”
While some professional paint products can be considered premium, there are also more moderate products designed to deliver good hide and touch up without the lasting performance. However, says Revnew, “The premium paint products offer good hide, good coverage and good touch-up properties with long-lasting durability.”
When should you use premium paint? “All the time, as far as we’re concerned,” says Seaborg. “Yet some contractors believe that for commercial and multiple dwelling projects, a production-grade paint makes more sense economically.” But by paying about $5 more per gallon, a contractor can use a premium-quality paint that outperforms the cheaper alternative in so many ways.
The smarter customers realize that the cost of the paint is actually a small portion of a contracted job. The labor involved to apply premium paint vs. lower-quality paint is about the same, and in some cases, may be less due to the need for fewer coats and the ease of its application.
“The labor cost to apply the coating represents a much larger percentage (approximately 80 percent) of the entire cost of the project than the expense of the paint itself,” Przybylski points out. Plus, the paint film will last much longer compared to ordinary paints.
Revnew says premium paints should be used in rooms that get used a lot or are subject to different environments, such as kitchens that are exposed daily to stains from food and beverages, bathrooms with their higher levels of moisture, or even hallways that experience heavy traffic, fingerprints and individuals inadvertently rubbing against the walls.
Dhawan thinks premium paint is best suited for places where children or pets are involved or in commercial situations where frequent abuse on the substrate is going to occur. But no matter where it’s used, it’s going to make the contractor’s work look better.
“Premium-quality products generally exhibit better flow and leveling and, in the long run, make the contractor look the best,” Dhawan continues. “Since many residential painters rely upon word-of-mouth, referral advertising, they should attempt to ‘up-sell’ their customers as often as they can. The premium quality paint keeps their reputation up and keeps complaints on performance down.”
Whereas in many instances the extra cost for the paint is offset by the need for fewer coats, this isn’t always the case. “Oftentimes, people think premium means that it will hide in one coat and they choose a fabulous bright red or bright yellow to spruce up their rooms,” says Dhawan. However, these colors are notorious for their low-hiding qualities. A premium paint will provide better hide than a lesser-grade product, but multiple coats may still be necessary. “The real advantage is the finished look, long-term durability and ability to retain color, gloss and that ‘just-painted’ look.”
Premium paint is all about “high-quality raw materials combined with proprietary technology to provide superior product performance,” sums up Leo Chippy, commercial marketing manager for Pratt & Lambert Paints. “The cost of the paint is minimal compared to the cost of the labor.” By using premium paint, “Contractors save on application, reduce callbacks and make a lot of customers happy.”