5 On Your Side

Best paints cover in one coat

Consumer Reports recently tested nearly 60 interior paints to see which ones stand out.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Paint is one of the least expensive ways to make a house look brand new, but going to the paint store – or warehouse store like Lowe's Home Improvement or Home Depot – can be a bit overwhelming. 

There are literally thousands of choices of paint color, finish and even texture. 

And while the act of painting can be a love-hate relationship, choosing the right type of paint for individual rooms shouldn't be a headache. It can also be a money-saver. 

Contractor Bill Bradsell says high-quality paint can save consumers over time. 

"It's more economical because a lot times we can do less coats."

Consumer Reports recently tested nearly 60 interior paints to see which ones stand out. Testers compared dozens of interior paints costing anywhere from $8 to more than $60 a gallon. 

After painting over different shades of stripes, they found some big differences. Another big test was designed to see how well paints resist stains. Some paints were tough, allowing grease to come right off, but with other brands, the paint actually started to come off the wall. 

The least expensive paint tested, Color Place from Walmart, did not clean as well as some of the better paints. 

Testers also looked into paint types. Different walls in different rooms can require different types of paints. 

"Satin paint, which is also called eggshell, is the best way to go for most walls," Consumer Reports' Rico de Paz said. 

Among satin paints, Benjamin Moore Aura Satin earned the highest score. It costs more than $60 a gallon. For about half the price, Behr's Premium Ultra Satin Enamel from Home Depot did almost as well. Both did a great job covering in one coat, and neither needed a primer. 

For even less, testers rated Glidden Premium Satin a best buy at $23 a gallon. It's also sold at Home Depot. 

Another thing to keep in mind, according to Consumer Reports, is that performance can vary among finishes and different lines of paint sold by a particular company. Don't buy strictly by brand. 

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