Should I Buy Expensive Paint? A Paint Buyer's Guide

Should I Buy Expensive Paint? A Paint Buyer's Guide

Posted by : Latex Agent   /  

Basic Paint and The Benefits of More Expensive Paints

Purchasing the right paint can be a challenge for anyone who isn't a professional painter. With multiple recognizable brand names on store shelves, each offering a variety of price points for their paint lineups, you have a choice between spending less on basic paints, or more on premium, or enhanced paints. Knowing which paint to buy and what each paint offers as benefits will help you know how much you should (or should not) spend on your next painting project. Each project presents a different challenge when it comes to selecting your paint. Every space is different. 

Matching Paint Benefits to Your Space

It matters what you'll be painting. 

A bathroom, for example, requires a completely different paint than exterior doors, and so on. Bathrooms require mold-resistance because of the high moisture exposure that comes with having a shower. On the other hand, exterior doors experience high UV (sun) exposure, rain, wind, hail and other weather elements that require ingredients to match those harsher outdoor elements. On the other hand, most painters agree that using cheaper and more basic paints is often perfectly fine on walls where extra benefits aren't as needed. 

Another example is painting wood surfaces, like cabinets or trim. These often have stained or finished surfaces that require deep sanding, or powerful additives in order to correctly produce the right adhesion.

From trim to cabinets, each painting project is different. The more you know about paints and their various benefits, the better you'll be able to effectively set your painting budget, saving yourself from a bad painting experience, or spending too much on unnecessarily expensive paints you didn't actually need. 

The Typical Cost of Basic Paint

Paints usually cost anywhere between  $20 - $30 per gallon for basic paints. More expensive options usually reach up to  $60 - $70.

Paint Types

There are two basic types of paint: interior and exterior. Exterior paints are typically more expensive. That's because they come packed with added ingredients to boost toughness (abrasion resistance), moisture resistance and UV color corrosion. Interior paints are typically more basic and are therefore less expensive. 

Paint Finishes

From flat to high-gloss, you can choose the way you want your paint's finish to look over its lifetime. This choice is up to you and usually doesn't affect the cost of your paint. The four typical finishes are: Flat, Eggshell and Satin, Semi-Gloss and Gloss. 

    Basic Paint 101: What You Pay For

    First, before we can tackle whether or not to purchase more expensive paints or not, let's lay the groundwork of what any paint sold in stores should do. In order to answer this, we'll cover what most professional paint testers look for when they test paints. Before any paint is available for purchase, they go through a rigorous testing process. Here's what every paint, including the cheapest options, offer:
    Four characteristics of every paint

    4 Characteristics In Every Paint

    No matter what the cost, every paint should offer in some form the following benefits:
    1. Color Protection
    2. Mold Resistance
    3. Stain Resistance
    4. Abrasion Resistance
    Each will have been tested for their ability to keep their original color over time, or UV resistance, to resist mold (like in bathrooms), to resist common stains, and to resist destructive abrasion when exposed to scrubbing, rubbing or other abrasions. 
    This is the basic criteria for paint testers for any paint. More expensive paints often use these four criteria as springboards for adding newer and better results. In other words, spending more on expensive paints, in theory, can achieve longer-lasting and better-looking paint in these four contexts.

    Other Paint Ingredients


    Many paints come with primers included, even basic paints. Primer helps paint coat evenly and prevents the need for additional coats of paint. In other words, paints with primers will typically require fewer coats and could save you time and money. We suggest reading reviews on each paint's primer results from users and professional painters.

    Low VOC Paints

    Recently, Low VOC (or, Volatile Organic Compound) paint has become a new normal ingredient for many paints. This simply means the paint is less, or completely free of toxins. However, this comes at a cost. Low or zero VOC paints can often perform worse than other comparable paints. They can bubble, or dry too quickly, for example. Many painters have also complained they are more difficult to use. They often are thicker than typical paints and can leave brush strokes. Be mindful of these things when using Low or Zero VOC paints. 

    Are Expensive Paints Worth The Cost?

    More expensive paints can be easier to apply, require less coats, last longer, be more resistant to dings and cracks, and perform better against the elements. In other words, yes, expensive paints are usually worth the cost. When properly applied, they will make your painting experience better and last longer. Depending on your budget, we suggest doing your research to find out exactly what paint works best for you. There are other ways to use speciality additives with basic paint to save money and create the same or better enhancements. Keep reading to learn more.

    Excellent Alternative Methods to Enhance Paint

    Oil Bond can save painters time and money by allowing them to skip sanding prep. Paint additives have come a long way. They can enhance paints in all the ways more expensive paints can. And they usually cost less per gallon. They can even make painting easier. Oil Bond, for example, from Latex Agent, makes painting over wood stains or finishes (like kitchen cabinets or interior trim) far easier.

    Oil Bond

    With Oil Bond, you can paint directly over these surfaces without sanding. It enhances the paints ability to adhere properly over previously coated surfaces that would otherwise require sanding. 


    Oil Bond makes painting over oil or polyurethane surfaces without sanding or priming possible! No more sanding or priming prep. Great for use on cabinets, trim, furniture and doors.

    Other examples include: Enhancer, Dirt Repel, and Hard Coat and Metal Bond. 


    Everyone has some challenges applying the newer, lower or zero VOC latex paints. Many of these paints are too thick and dry too quickly. Latex Enhancer is very low VOC and compliant for use anywhere in the USA. Using super-wetters and new-to- market flow and leveling agents, Enhancer improves sprayability of paint, lengthens dry time and provides a better wet edge for better painting performance.


    Dirt Repel

    Dirt Repel keeps your paint clean with an easily-washable finished surface that gets rid of dirt with a gentle spray of water. Great for use on exterior and exterior paint projects, walls, porches, and high traffic areas.

    Hard Coat

    Hard Coat improves paint durability and provides a longer-lasting surface that resists nicks. Simply add it to the top coat. Works great in high-traffic areas that are exposed to extra wear and tear.

    Metal Bond

    Your next metal paint job is easier than ever before. Metal Bond improves paint adhesion of latex paint to metal surfaces. Simply pre-treat the surface with Metal Bond then add a dose to the first coat of paint. Even better, no primer is necessary!

    Major Benefits of Paint Additives

    • Produce the same or better enhancements as expensive paints
    • Can treat more than one gallon of paint
    • Avoid priming prep
    • Avoid sanding prep
    • Boost dirt and stain resistance
    • Make paint more durable and longer lasting
    • Extend paint dry and cure time
    • Improve paint flow and leveling
    • Improve sprayability of paint

    Click here to find a solution that works for you.

    Have you had experience you'd like to share about whether or not to purchase expensive paints? Let us know in the comments!

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