If you're planning on having your house painted, be aware your contractor may not be using the best paint for you in the long run.
Choosing a paint color can be time-consuming, but choosing the type of paint shouldn't be. That's because Consumer Reports has done the work for you, testing 69 paints for many important qualities, including how well it covers, how smooth the finish is, and how it holds up over time.
Once the scores were tallied, testers at Consumer Reports made an interesting observation. While some of the paints many contractors favor, like Benjamin Moore, do well in its tests, they are not always top-rated.
"The fact is, the best paint for the pros is not always the best paint for a homeowner," said John Galeotafiore of Consumer Reports.
Galeotafiore, who oversees paint testing, says contractors have different needs. They want a paint that goes on easily, dries quickly between coats and hides paint touch-ups.
"They also develop a relationship with the retailer that sometimes makes it hard to switch brands," said Galeotafiore.
But for homeowners, there are additional, long-term concerns, like whether paint in a bathroom will develop mildew and how easy it is to clean the walls. Consumer Reports tested stain resistance by putting grease on painted strips.
A device runs a sponge back and forth 25 times to see how easily the paint cleans. Top-rated for the second year in a row is Behr Premium Plus Ultra. Every finish scored excellent against staining and mildew resistance. They are available at Home Depot for around $33 a gallon.
Behr says it's hoping to sell more paint to contractors with its new direct-to-pro program, which provides contractors with free delivery on orders of 50 gallons or more, volume-discounted pricing, and factory tinting for more consistent color matching. But Consumer Reports says don't be surprised if your painter still suggests a different paint.