Pro picks: Five pros on their top picks for interior paints

Stephanie Conner
Do you need vibrant colors or the whitest white? Do you need something durable for a homeowner who insists on a flat sheen? Is scrubbability a key characteristic?

inPAINT Aug-Sep 2017 Digital_Page_30_Image_0001Do you need vibrant colors or the whitest white? Do you need something durable for a homeowner who insists on a flat sheen? Is scrubbability a key characteristic?

Depending on your customers’ needs and budget, your interior paint preference might vary. But all pros have their favorites. Here are a few:




Our pro 21RYAN GILL: Though his company is just three years old, second-generation painter Ryan Gill has been around the block a time or two. His father sandblasted bridges in Georgia for years and painted grain silos, textile mills, and high-end residences.

Based near Augusta, GA, Brush Strokes Quality Painting, Inc. focuses on high-end residential and commercial repaints, and new commercial painting.

For his repaints, he prefers Sherwin-Williams Cashmere Interior Acrylic Latex.

“It tends to be a heavier-bodied paint that has better coverage,” he says. “It also tends to have even less odor than low-VOC paints claim. Any sheen you pick … they are all very durable paints. They would stand wiping down and a lot of abuse.”

For trim, his latest go-to is Sherwin-Williams ProMar 200 Interior Waterbased Acrylic-Alkyd in semigloss.

“It brushes well, sprays and rolls,” he says. “Its only downfall is that it doesn’t come in deep or ultra-deep colors.”

2 MICHAEL NUNGESSER: Michael Nungesser is the owner of multiple Five Star Painting franchises. His company focuses on interiors for both residential and commercial jobs near Atlanta, GA, and his top pick is Sherwin-Williams Cashmere Interior Acrylic Latex; its flat sheen is their go-to.

“It covers well and touches up extremely well,” Nungesser says. “It has a nice finish; it doesn’t look chalky or cheap. And it has a nice, buttery finish when we’re done.”

He finds that a lot of customers ask for paint with a sheen for the washability, and Cashmere’s flat finish washes up great, he says.

3 FRED HABER: With 25 years in business as Haber Painting Inc., Fred Haber has finely tuned his paint preferences and project choices over the years.

Haber is a Certified Fine Paints of Europe Painter with a focus on higher-end homes and discerning clients in San Francisco.

“I work for the owners,” he says. “And we’re there to make the place look both elegant and sophisticated.”

For interior jobs, he uses Fine Paints of Europe Eurolux, ECO Brilliant and Hollandlac.

“They’re all great,” he says. “You can choose water-based, hybrid or oil-based, depending on customer preference and your assessment.”

For a lot of high-rises in San Francisco, water-based paints are required. But when oil is permissible, Fred Haber likes the Hollandlac Brilliant for the ultimate in sheen and durability.

“Brilliant is a sheen above high-gloss,” he says. “It’s great for doors and trim. You can have an average door but when using Fine Paints … it becomes a conversation piece. There’s no other paint like it in the world. It’s incredibly durable, and the coverage is phenomenal.”

As a backup, Fred Haber likes using Benjamin Moore products. For regular off-white jobs, their Regal Select Interior Paint is the right product, he says. For trim, he prefers their ADVANCE Interior Paint. And for the rare job requiring darker or brighter colors, he likes Aura Interior Paint.

“Aura requires a skill level that only the upper 20% of painters have achieved,” he says. “It has phenomenal characteristics. For example, there’s no transitional line between brushing and rolling.”

4 ROGER COULTER: A few interior paints stand out for Roger Coulter, who started RWC Interiors 16 years ago in Lake County, IL, northwest of Chicago.

For walls, he turns to Benjamin Moore Regal Select Interior Paint in eggshell.

“I feel it is, by far, the easiest to use,” he says. “And it gives the customer the best benefits of scrubbability, durability, low odor and easy touch-ups.”

Coulter appreciates the easy touch-ups, too, because his warranties include one hour of touch-ups a year for seven years.

For trim, he likes California Paints Ultra Aquaborne Ceramic Interior Paint in semigloss.

The fact that it’s offered in a high-hide white, he says, is a selling point. And he notes that while satin is common in a lot of markets, semigloss is extremely popular in his service area.

“Because of its ceramic quality, it has a nice, lacquered-finish look to it, and the hardness of this paint is much better than a standard acrylic latex for a long-lasting effect,” he says.

The ease of application is important too.

“Sprayers aren’t productive in our work. These homes are lived in,” he explains. “So we do a lot of brush and roll, and this product is really amazing. It levels off like it’s been sprayed.”

5 JEFF MORTEN: Jeff Morten, who grew up in the commercial paint industry in Dallas Fort-Worth, started Supreme Finishes in Austin in 2001. With a split of residential and commercial interior and exterior projects, Morten’s pick for interior paint for most jobs is Sherwin-Williams ProMar 200 Zero VOC Interior Latex.

“That’s our go-to for walls, ceilings and even trim,” he says. “It’s priced competitively and performs well … it covers well and is workable right out of the can.”

And ProMar is available in a wide range of sheens. Morten’s default is flat on ceilings and eggshell on the walls.

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