This is a good time to buy paint. Manufacturers have survived a period of struggle with changing technologies to meet stricter environmental regulations. Now the paint companies seem to be back on track.
Paints are better than their predecessors in several important respects: They spatter less and have ample tolerance for scrubbing. They also keep stains and mildew at bay. Those are major improvements if you’re ready to paint parts of the house that get heavy use–a family room, kitchen, hallway, or bathroom.
Such improvements result from several reformulations by many leading brands over the past few years. Two brands in particular have made large strides. The current versions of Home Depot’s Behr Premium Plus and Lowe’s Valspar American Tradition paints perform extremely well across the board and are very moderately priced. We’ve judged both CR Best Buys.
Major national brands aren’t the only good choices, however. A number of regional brands perform well and offer reasonable values.
There are also more celebrity paints to choose from, now that the home-improvement guru Bob Vila has lent his name to a Sears brand. Bob Vila Signature Collection joins Martha Stewart’s Everyday Colors for Kmart and Ralph Lauren’s paint. Among the celebs, Lauren’s was the best by a very small margin; none was excellent overall.