Too often, attention is solely focused on keeping first costs low. When given the opportunity to buy paint at $10 per gallon, or a higher quality paint at $30 per gallon people and paint companies typically choose the cheaper of the two. The same thing happens when considering protective coatings. Are you really saving money when selecting paints or coatings based on first costs? Really this answer depends on the person. If you are looking to paint your house and to not think about painting again for a very long time it makes sense to pay for a higher quality paint with higher grade service life than a low cost, lower quality paint with lesser service life. For each paint option, you should consider and evaluate certain factors such as the paint’s coverage, durability, ease of application and service life. These factors determine how much paint is needed for an application, how long the paint will retain its appearance and any special steps that should be taken to protect the paint.
For example, paints with a high amount of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) are detrimental to indoor air quality and could result in longer periods of disruption in occupied spaces. However, that does not mean paint with lower amounts of VOCs will automatically reduce life-cycle costs. Even the type of finish of the paint can have a major impact on the life-cycle cost of an application. Consider a research and classroom building where the construction manager authorized the contractor to substitute a lower-quality, flat paint, for the higher-quality, eggshell-finish paint that had been specified. Although the switch may have saved several thousand dollars initially, the finish on the walls had become so marred and dirty that they had to be re-painted within two years. If you are painting the inside of your home it would be more cost effective to buy a higher quality, more durable paint for high traffic areas of your home. The paint can be wiped without coming off the walls as opposed to using a low quality, less durable paint that you would have to touch up with more paint in case of any scuffs or marks on the walls.
Cheaper is not always better for the long hull. Sometimes spending the extra money can take you a long way. Higher quality paint is more expensive but, it is also more durable, longer lasting, better coverage, hides defects better, and offers more uniformity and sheen. It makes sense to use a higher quality paint so that way the intervals between paint cycles are longer. If you choose to go with a lower quality paint it may save you money on first costs but you will more than likely have to re-paint sooner than you would like. Premium paint is important not only because it can save you time and money in the long run but also because the quality is better.
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