Best Interior House Paint

When people pay thousands of dollars to have the insides of their houses repainted, it would make sense that they want the best paint they can afford. With so many commercial options available, it can be easy to get lost - especially if you're new to the industry. In order to help settle the debate of the best interior house paint, we polled our entire network of contractors and business owners.

In this article, we’ll review:


The Best Interior Paint Overall


If you've read our recent article on the best exterior house paint, you're aware that Sherwin Williams is widely praised for it's quality products at competitive price points.

The results are no different when it comes to interior paint. Across our network of thousands of contractors, Sherwin Williams SuperPaint was voted in as number 1  with 18.3% of the votes. The closest competitor (Sherwin Williams Duration) came in with roughly 14.3% of the votes.

Best Interior Paint - Overall

What separated SuperPaint from the competition was it's reputation for superior coverage from a single coat, plus it's high level of resilience to staining and wear. Users of the Sherwin Williams product noted it's ability to cover both dark and light surfaces with a near-perfect finish. SuperPaint also boasts a low level of Volatile Organic Content (VOC), making it the ideal candidate for the interior paint of choice.

Product Specifications:

Average Price: $50.99/gal

Wet thickness: 4 mils

Coverage/gallon: 350-400 sq ft

Drying time @ 50% Relative Humidity (Touch): 2 Hours

Drying time @ 50% Relative Humidity (Recoat): 4 Hours (at or above 45 degrees Fahrenheit)

Specifications/Product Details Sheet


Top Contenders Based on Performance


Sherwin Williams Duration - Best interior paint
SW Cashmere - Best Interior Paint
SW Emerald - Best Interior Paint

It comes with little surprise that Sherwin Williams swept the polls in our survey. It should be noted that this article is, in no way, sponsored by or associated with Sherwin Williams.

The facts remain simple, as one of North America's top paint manufacturers, Sherwin Williams produces a strong line of products. With commonly available discounts keeping their "per gallon" prices at (or well below) the $50 range, they also remain one of the most price-competitive manufacturers to domestic consumers.

On the topic of price let's move on the winner of Best Interior Paint for the Money


Best Interior Paint for the Money


Voted #1 (19)

Our staff researchers were able to find SW Cashmere, commonly, available for approximately $40/gallon when using promo pricing. That's a low price for a paint that was specifically engineered for a smooth application and a silky, high-end finish.

This price point is especially surprising when you take into consideration, the fact that many professional painters regard Cashmere as the HIGHEST quality interior paint on the market. Some painters have even stated that Cashmere is what SuperPaint should have been all along.

Bare in mind, however, that just because someone says it, doesn't make it universally true. SW Cashmere, high quality as it may be, is known to exhibit "finish" variations on any surface that has been repaired (e.g. drywall). That being said, SW Cashmere, probably isn't the paint of choice for older homes or fixer-uppers. You may want to leave those jobs to products such as SuperPaint.

Product Specifications:

Average Price: $40.00-$50.00/gal

Wet thickness: 4 mils

Coverage/gallon: 350-400 sq ft

Drying time @ 50% Relative Humidity (Touch): 1 Hour

Drying time @ 50% Relative Humidity (Recoat): 4 Hours (at or above 45 degrees Fahrenheit)

Specifications/Product Details Sheet


Common Interior Paint FAQ


Q) Is Sherwin Williams Paint better than Behr?

Generally, professional painting businesses will recommend Sherwin Williams for residential repaints. Behr paint tends to be lower priced, and for the budget-minded DIY’er, it should suffice for most jobs. However, when comparing top of the line paints from each manufacturer, contractors agree that Sherwin Williams is the best all around.

Q) What paint (type) should I use on a house interior?

Majority of professional painting businesses will recommend acrylic (latex) paint rather than oil based. Modern acrylic paints provide a better finish & longer lasting paint job unless the surface (to be painted) mandates an oil-based paint (e.g. distressed or aged material). Latex paints tend to have better adhesion, increased ease of application, as well as a longer life expectancy when compared to oil based paints.

Q) What is paint made of? (We asked a chemist)

For this answer, we’re going to focus on acrylic paint - which is the most commonly used type of paint for home exteriors.

Acrylic paint can be categorized into several components:

  • Pigment - Pigment can exist in both organic (tending towards darker hues) & inorganic forms (tending towards brighter hues). The majority of organic pigments sold commercially, today, are produced via synthetic chemical reactions from petrochemical refineries (crude oil cracking). Inorganic pigments are generally synthesized via oxidative reactions of metals (e.g. TiO2(s))
  • Binder - Also referred to as resins - binders in emulsion paints are composed of homo- or copolymers of vinyl acetate and an acrylic ester. Binders work to adhere pigment particles to a surface or substrate & act in conjunction with the solvent as a “vehicle” for pigment transport or mobility. Without a “vehicle”, pigment particles are solid compounds without adhesive properties. When introduced into an emulsion solution, applied, and allowed to precipitate out of solution during a ‘curing’ period, they exhibit the desired effect of an evenly applied coat of paint. Furthermore, the "hard" surface that occurs arises during paint curing is due to a compound known as Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA). PMMA is hydrophobic, meaning it hates being in contact with water. The copolymerization of vinyl acetate facilitates an environment in which PMMA doesn't interact (directly) with water in a paint solvent. Instead, it interacts with the hydrophobic cores of the polyvinyl acetate copolymers, allowing it to remain suspended in an, otherwise, unhospitable environment.
  • Solvent - Solvents (either water or volatile organic compounds) act as a diluting agent that reduces the viscosity of the binder/pigment emulsion system. Without a solvent, even the binder/pigment emulsion system would be too viscous to allow for even application of paint to a substrate.
  • Additives - Depending on the desired effect, various additives can be included in paint formulation.
    • Silicone additives improve weather resistance, .
    • Dispersants separate and stabilize (energetically) pigment particles
    • Driers accelerate drying time
    • Anti-settling agents prevent particles from “falling out” of emulsion systems
    • Bactericides preserve water based paints in the can

Q) Does interior paint need primer?

Unfortunately, this question can't be answered with a simple yes or no. Generally speaking, if you're working with a high quality paint and maintaining the same sheen, you won't need to prime your walls prior to paint. This can change, however, if you're transitioning from dark to light or vice versa.

Additionally, localized failures where raw building materials are exposed, should be primed prior to applying new paint.

Q) Do paint jobs really come with lifetime warranties and guarantees?

Yes and no. The lifetime warranties and guarantees are manufacturer warranties that cover chemical failures.

If a chemical failure occurs, the manufacturer will pay for the cost of the materials (paint) used. However, labor is NOT covered by a manufacturer’s warranty.

Q) What is “sheen” and what’s best for interior?

Sheen is the gloss or finish of the paint.

  • Higher gloss shows more imperfections, but is easy to clean - use in the Kitchen
  • A flat finish has no gloss to it and is difficult to clean - should only be used in bedrooms
  • Satin is provides a smooth, clean finish - easy to clean & should be used in the living room
  • Semi gloss is a popular option for trim or as an alternative for kitchens. Shows less imperfections than gloss, but is more difficult to clean.


Getting Multiple Quotes from Local Contractors


If you're considering an interior painting project, we always recommend getting multiple quotes. You shouldn't always choose the best price. When you hire someone to do interior painting, you want someone who will be efficient, clean, and deliver a great product.

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