Is it ever okay to use cheap paint?

Must you always spring for the highest quality paint? And do you know the difference between cheap paint and the more expensive kind, other than price?

In the less expensive paints, the pigments are not as finely ground. The pricier paints have finely ground pigments and they have more pigment per part of solution. The pigment, by the way, is the ingredient that gives paint its color.

Binders are what make the pigment stick to the surface being painted. A liquid (water for latex paint and paint thinner for oil-based or alkyd paint) holds the binder and pigments. Higher cost paints have less liquid and more binder and pigment, cheaper paints have more liquid, less binder and less pigment. Okay so far?

There are other ingredients that manufacturers can add to make a particular paint behave a certain way- better flowing and leveling, resistance to mildew, less spatter-prone. Of course, like anything else, the more bells-and-whistles an item has, the more it costs.

Top quality paint (read "more expensive") is usually easier to apply, much easier to clean without suffering damage, lasts longer, and requires fewer coats to cover. So when would you opt not to go with a top-of-the-line paint?

If you are taking out a home equity loan or a second mortgage and you are re-modeling your home for your own use and enjoyment, by all means, go with the best. I mean, a second mortgage is serious business and probably indicates that you plan to live there for several more years.

But if you are sprucing the place up before placing it on the real estate market, you can probably get away with a less expensive paint. After all, potential buyers may very well end up painting over your efforts with their own choice of color.

Here's another situation when cheap paint has its uses. Let's say you plan to do a ragging-type wall treatment with several different colors or shades. You are going to layer colors and you want all the colors to show in a random fashion. (Think 3 or 4 shades of green here, from pale green to a medium sage.) Cheap paint fits the bill.

By the way, virtually every manufacturer makes cheap paint, and the manufacturers name doesn't necessarily mean quality. Something to keep in mind.

All in all, and especially if you are borrowing money to re-model your own home, go with the best quality paint that suits your decorating plans.

Choosing the right wall treatment takes a lot of thought.
Here's some information that might help:

Clay Plaster Walls | Color or No Color? | Color Tips
Fabric & Starch For Walls | Molded Wall Tiles | Molding and Other Trims
How to Buy a Paint Brush | Ragging Paint | Templates | Wallies