Clark kensington paint review

The best interior and exterior paints for your home

One of the most important decisions you’ll make as a homeowner is choosing exterior and interior paint schemes for your house. After all, you have to see those colors every day.

And, in the event that you want to sell your home, it may be the paint job — the colors and the quality — that closes the deal.

That’s why it’s important to pick a brand of paint that has a professional finish and lasts a long time.

In this article, we’re going to talk about the best paint options for your home, taking a look at the top brands as chosen by paint quality experts and the ones that have made customers the happiest.

Best interior paints, best exterior paints, best paint colors: Table of contents

  • Best interior paints
  • Best exterior paints
  • Best paint colors

Looking to give your home a fresh coat? Here are the best paints for 2019

There are all sorts of theories out there on how the color of paint on your home can influence your mood, neighborhood home values and other things. But what constitutes the best paint?

That’s where we turn to J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Paint Satisfaction Survey, which is one of the leading house paint surveys. The study weighs factors like price, application, durability and warranty/guarantee in figuring their best-of list.

We also gleaned insight from Consumer Reports, which has its own paint labs run by engineers who thoroughly test every paint they rate.

We should note here that while the J.D. Power survey ranks overall brands, Consumer Reports goes a step further and looks at the paints offered at different price points by the various brands.

Taken together, they give you a pretty good idea about what you should be looking for when you make your next trip to the paint store.

So, without further ado, here are your winners (Behr and Sherwin-Williams tied for first place):


The best interior paints for your home

Rank J.D. Power Consumer Reports
1 Behr Behr Marquee
1 Sherwin-Williams Behr Premium Plus
3 Valspar Behr Premium Plus Ultra
4 Benjamin Moore Benjamin Moore Aura
5 Dutch Boy Clark + Kensington Enamel

Key findings for best interior paints

  • Behr is rated the best interior paint brand by both outlets, with its paints taking the top three spots in the Consumer Reports rankings.
  • Consumer Reports’ rating system give three varieties of Behr paint (Marquee, Premium Plus and Premium Plus Ultra) its highest scores, but it should be noted that second-ranked Premium Plus is actually less expensive than the third-ranked Premium Plus Ultra paint.
  • Behr topped JD Power’s list by winning in some key categories related to overall customer experience. Not only was the paint’s application and price figured in, but also ease of purchase and things related to sales and promotion.

See the rest of Consumer Reports’ top picks for interior paints here.

See the rest of J.D. Power’s top picks for interior paints here.

The best exterior paints for your home

Rank JD Power Consumer Reports
1 Benjamin Moore Behr Premium Plus Ultra Exterior
2 Sherwin-Williams Clark + Kensington Exterior
3 Behr Sherwin-Williams Emerald Exterior
4 Glidden Behr Premium Plus Exterior
5 Valspar Valspar DuraMax Exterior

Key findings for best exterior paints

  • Consumer Reports’ rating system again went with Behr based on a number of durability tests, including appearance of the paint after three years, six years and nine years. Behr’s Premium Plus Ultra Exterior and its Premium Plus Exterior both ranked in the top four.
  • Benjamin Moore topped JD Power’s list with a score of 858 out of a 1,000. That just nipped Sherwin-Williams, which scored an 854 for overall customer satisfaction.

See the rest of Consumer Reports’ top picks for exterior paints here.

See the rest of J.D. Power’s top picks for exterior paints here.

Paint company picks for 2019’s hottest colors

Each year, most of the major paint brands release their “Color of the Year” or something similar to give consumers ideas about what they might use in their homes. These lists often inform home decorators and paint stores of the trends of the day when it comes to palettes.

Here are the picks for 2019:

Behr: Blueprint


Behr’s 2019 Color of the Year is Blueprint S470-5, a blue that the company calls “an honest, approachable color that conjures up the blueprints builders rely on to bring architectural designs to life.”

Sherwin-Williams: Cavern Clay


Sherwin-Williams picked Cavern Clay SW 7701 as their 2019 Color of the Year.

Valspar: Healing Airy Blue + 11


Valspar chose 12 colors to highlight this year, including this one called Healing Airy Blue. “This breezy blue has healing qualities and a weightlessness that pushes out the walls,” Valspar Color Strategist Sue Kim says.

PPG: Nightwatch


PPG selected a dark green called “Night Watch” as its 2019 Color of the Year. “Night Watch is about bringing the healing power from the outdoors into your home through color,” explains Dee Schlotter, PPG senior color marketing manager.


Here are more articles you may enjoy from

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  • These interior paint colors can make your home sell fast
  • Hidden home costs every homebuyer should know about

Best Paint (House)

House Paint Buyer’s Guide

Painting your house seems like a simple project until you take a trip to the paint store or lumberyard. Seeing the wide variety of paints available can easily take what you thought would be an easy job, and turn it into something that makes you want to turn tail and run. In reality, very few individuals turn and run, but that doesn’t mean they have a lot of confidence in their decision on what type of paint to use. In this buyer’s guide, I’m going to take away your doubts and give you an idea of how to pick out the right paint for your paint job.

Obviously, the first decision most people make is the color they want to use. I’m not going to bother discussing colors here in this article, because this is really an interior decorating decision, and I don’t consider myself an interior decorator. I’m confident you can make this decision without my help.

Before we get into talking about specific paint types, let me mention something about paint quality. Like many other things, paint falls into the category of “you get what you pay for.” Generally speaking, higher cost paints will be thicker in viscosity with baser tint. This allows them to cover in fewer coats, laying a thicker coat of paint on the substrate, which will last you longer. If you decide to use a lesser-cost paint, you had better count on repainting your house sooner.

Let’s start by talking about the different types of paint that are out there; what they are, and why they might be picked for a particular project (please note: I’m not going to talk about paints that aren’t used for household applications).

Paint Materials

By far, latex based paints are the most popular option on the market today. Latex is literally a rubber which functions as a base to ensure the paint maintains integrity; basically sticking together and not turning into dust. Latex paints are water based, meaning that they can be cleaned up with water.

These are essentially an evolutionary improvement on latex paints. Acrylic is a plastic added to the latex paint which makes for a tougher paint which lasts longer. Almost all quality latex paints are actually acrylic-latex paints.

Oil based paints are the “old school” paints. These paints start with a base of linseed oil with the other materials added to it. Because of this, oil based paints need to be cleaned up with paint thinner (otherwise known as mineral spirits). For this reason alone, many do-it-yourselfers avoid using oil based paints. However, there are certain applications where oil based paints are a distinct advantage, and worth the extra hassle of cleaning your paint brush with paint thinner:

High-gloss Applications – Although there are a few acrylic-latex paints available on the market which are high gloss paints, they are extremely rare. Typically, if you need high-gloss paint, you need to buy an oil-based paint.

Painting Metal – Latex and acrylic/latex paints don’t do well on metals. Essentially, metals are better heat conductors than other materials. Have you ever touched a metal gate on a hot day? It seems much hotter than wood or brick siding on the house because it transmits that heat to your hand better. This over-dries paint, essentially baking it onto the substrate. In the case of latex paints, this causes the paint to shrink, eliminating the rubbers flexibility advantage and causes the paint to crack.

Extremely Smooth Paint Application is Required – Because oil-based paints dry slower than latex paints, they have more opportunity to “flow out”, eliminating brushstrokes and other elements which cause uneven paint application.

Newer acrylic-latex paints have been developed which to a large part duplicate the advantages of oil-based paints. For this reason, and even more so because of government environmental regulations, many companies are terminating their production of oil based paints.

Epoxy paint, like epoxy adhesive is a two part paint. We can say it’s a “thin,” tinted version of epoxy adhesive. Once the two parts are mixed together, the paint can be applied. Drying isn’t caused by evaporation, but by chemical reaction. For this reason, you can’t save the paint once you’ve mixed it. You’ve got about six hours to apply the paint to the substrate, then you might as well throw away the rest.

Interior vs. Exterior Paint

You can buy many paint products as an interior or exterior paint. The major difference between the two is that the exterior paints are UV (ultraviolet) stabilized. That prevents the paint from fading over time. If an interior paint is used outdoors, it will fade, unless used in a place where it won’t be exposed to the sun, such as on soffits. However, exterior paints can be used indoors, without any problem.

Paint Sheen

The paint’s “sheen” refers to how shiny it is. A higher shine or luster is created by making paint that has little to no porosity. Flat paints have more porosity. Typically, a high gloss paint needs a better prepared surface, as it will show blemishes much easier than a flat paint will.

Flat paint finishes are the best thing to use when you have imperfections in your wall’s finish, which you want to hide. If your home is old, or if your wall texture isn’t as consistent as you’d like, this is what you want. Since the light reflects less off of these paints, they’ll do the best job of hiding those imperfections. On the other hand, these paints are more porous, which causes them to both absorb more moisture from the air and stain easier. For these reasons, it’s best to avoid using them in kitchens and bathrooms.

Eggshell is the next step up in gloss from a pure flat paint. Some manufacturers use the terms eggshell and satin interchangeably; however, in reality they aren’t. These two sheens are the most commonly used for both interior and exterior applications in a home. For the interior, this sheen of paint cleans much easier than flat paints. For the exterior, this sheen of paint resists water much better than flat paints.

Just as satin fabric has more shine than an eggshell does, satin finish paint is slightly shinier than eggshell finish paint and they’re essentially used for the same purpose. Which one you use is a matter of personal preference more than anything else.

When you want your woodwork to stand out or you want superior washability, the clear choice is to use a semi-gloss paint. These paints are most commonly used for painted woodwork (as opposed to stained and varnished woodwork), or kitchen and bathroom walls. The drawback in using semi-gloss paints over satin finish paints is imperfections will stand out much more. It is essential when using semi-gloss or high gloss paints that you properly prepare your substrate, especially nail holes and drywall seams, to ensure a smooth surface your paint is applied to.

High gloss
High gloss paints are typically only used for painted wood trim and wrought-iron, providing a finish which stands out much more. As such, the only ones who use it for painted wood trim are individuals putting in wide, expensive trim.

Additionally, high gloss paints are used in some specialty applications where high washability and stain resistance is necessary. The only places you might see this would be in a home would be a utility room or a garage floor. Additionally, although it isn’t a residential usage, you occasionally find this in commercial kitchens.


There are some basic types of primers used in residential painting. I mention them because proper priming of your substrate is an important part of insuring long lasting paint finish:

Regular Primers
Almost all surfaces used in the building of a home are porous. That means that the paint will soak into the surface, especially when it is new. Since paint can be expensive, this isn’t necessarily a good use of paint. Primers typically cost less than paints and seal porous surfaces to ensure your paint stays on top of the substrate. The other effect primers have is to form a good bond between the substrate and the paint, adding to the paints lifespan. This is especially important with non-porous surfaces such as metals.

Stain Covering Primers
These are used for repainting, especially repainting of interior surfaces. Any stains on walls and woodwork (crayon, mildew, rust) tend to soak through the paint and show up, even after a new paint job. These primers, which are quick drying and tinted white, don’t allow the stain to soak through, instead covering it up and sealing it off.

Block Filler
Although not really a primer, I’ve included this here with the primers, because it needs to be mentioned. Cement block, sometimes known as cinderblock, is highly porous. When painting with any normal paint, the paint both soaks into the block, and doesn’t have enough viscosity to bridge over the larger dips in the surface. Block filler is an extremely thick primer which works to fill those dips and seal off the surface. Unlike other paints and primers, block filler is only good for about 75 square feet per gallon.

Block filler is also one of the hardest paint products there is to apply. You’ll either need to use a 3/4″ nap roller or a brush. When applying block filler with a brush, you need to stab at the block with the tips of the bristles, not just brush over it. This tends to destroy paint brushes. So, you might want to buy a medium grade brush just for the job, and then throw it away later.

Aluminum Primer
Aluminum is one of the hardest substrates to paint as most paints, even oil-based ones, won’t stick to it. However, almost all houses have aluminum flashing on the roofs. While the flashing on the roof usually isn’t painted, it is painted when it comes down to meet a deck, or a lower roof, such as a separate roof around the porch of a two story house. The normal procedure to paint aluminum is to acid etch it first, and then rinse off the acid. Once the aluminum is dry, a special primer is applied before painting.

Which Paint for Which Application?

Okay, we finally get down to answering the real question, which paint should you use for what?

Exterior Walls
Your easiest and best bet will be an acrylic-latex flat or satin paint. If you are painting the house for the first time, make sure to use a quality primer/sealer before painting; some wood products even come pre-primed. If you are painting your home for the first time, count on two coats, likewise if you’re making a drastic color change. If you’re covering a dark paint with a light one, count on three coats, although you might be able to do it in two. Be sure to clean the exterior if you’re repainting your house, preferably with a pressure washer, before painting.

Exterior Trim
You can use either satin or flat acrylic-latex paint for your exterior trim. If you’re painting your home for the first time, be sure to prime the wood with a quality primer/sealer before painting. All cracks, splits in the wood and sunken nail holes need to be caulked before painting. Be sure to scrape off any loose paint, especially if the wood is weathered, before painting.

Exterior Aluminum
Acid etch the aluminum, and then rinse it off with clean water. Once dry, you can paint it with either acrylic-latex paint, or oil-based paint. Since the aluminum is primed, latex and acrylic-latex paints will stick to the metal. For the best long-term results, I recommend using an oil-based paint.

Exterior Doors
Of anything on your house, the exterior doors and door frames take the most abuse. Two things in particular are common causes of damage to a door’s paint job which include keys, and shoes from kicking the door open or closed. For the sake of toughness, I recommend painting exterior doors with oil-based paints. Latex paints will work, but you’ll be repainting your door at least once a year to keep it looking nice.

Garage Doors
This is the exception to the case that you should use oil-based paints on aluminum. You can use acrylic-latex paints on garage doors as long as they are pre-primed without worrying about the paint blistering and peeling.

Wrought Iron Fences & Gates
Before painting new wrought iron, I recommend cleaning it well with a strong degreaser since steel mills use oil as a lubricant in the extrusion and forming of steel components. After cleaning, a follow-up phosphate treatment is recommended. This looks like light green water which you can buy in the hardware store, lumberyard, or paint store and available under a number of trade names. The easiest way to apply your phosphate treatment is with a spray bottle. It will cause the surface of the metal to turn an uneven black as it dries. Final painting of the wrought iron (steel) should be done with two coats of oil-based paint.

Garage Floors
The best thing for painting garage floors is epoxy paint. While a little pricey, it will give you the longest lasting, chemical/oil resistant finish you can get. Before applying your paint, clean any oil and grease thoroughly off of the floor with a product designed for cleaning concrete. Once again, there are a number of these available on the market. If you can’t find them elsewhere, try your local auto parts store. Try and apply two coats of epoxy paint if you can; you’ll need to split your material in half, and only mix half of it at a time.

Interior Walls for Living Areas
Personally, I prefer flat latex paint for interior walls; however, most people prefer satin finish latex paint. If you’re painting on new construction, be sure to use a quality primer/sealer under your paint. Otherwise, your first coat of paint will soak right into the wall, acting as the primer. You will need to use two coats of paint for new construction. If you are repainting your home, one coat will work in most cases, except where you are making a drastic change in color, such as an accent wall. However, even in these cases, high quality paints will often cover in only one coat.

Kitchen & Bathroom Walls
For ease in washing and resistance to moisture, you want to use semi-gloss acrylic-latex paint in these areas. While it’s possible to paint them with a satin paint, it won’t stay clean as well. See the section above on interior walls for information on priming and paint coats.

Interior Trim (Painted)
Depending on your personal preference, you can use either semi-gloss or high gloss paint for your interior trim. It is not necessary to use an oil-based paint for this, as it really won’t add anything to the life expectancy in this case. If you are building your home, prime and apply the first coat of paint to your trim before installing it. This makes it so you only have to apply one coat of paint with it installed which is a great time saver. When repainting a surface, interior trim may need two coats depending upon the amount of damage to the existing paint job.

Children’s Furniture
Most children’s furniture is painted with high gloss oil based paint. This is done more than anything for durability. You don’t want that paint chipping and peeling. Once again, make sure you use a quality primer/sealer before painting. If refinishing, be sure to properly fill and sand all dings, cracks and nail holes; prime those areas before painting.

BEHR, Clark + Kensington and Sherwin-Williams Rank Highest in Customer Satisfaction With Interior Paint, Exterior Paint and Paint Retailers, Respectively

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., April 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — BEHR ranks highest in customer satisfaction with interior paint and Clark + Kensington ranks highest in exterior paint, while Sherwin-Williams ranks highest in satisfaction with paint retailers, according to the J.D. Power 2015 Paint Satisfaction StudySM released today.

The study measures customer satisfaction with interior and exterior paint brands, and major paint retailers. In the interior and exterior paint segments, satisfaction is measured across six factors (in alphabetical order): application; design guides; durability; price; product offerings; and warranty/guarantee. In the retailer segment, satisfaction is measured across five factors (in alphabetical order): merchandise; price; sales and promotions; staff and service; and store facility. Satisfaction is measured on a 1,000-point scale.

Customer satisfaction with their painting project is largely determined by their experience with both the paint and the shopping and purchase process. The 2015 study finds that 23 percent of customers have taken on both interior and exterior paint projects within the past 12 months. Findings also show that 65 percent of customers choose the same brand for interior and exterior paint products.

“When taking on different types of painting projects, customers want a brand they can trust to meet their various needs and a single retailer that will provide them with guidance on how to achieve a favorable result,” said Christina Cooley, director of home improvement industries at J.D. Power. “Customers do not want to visit multiple stores. They prefer a one-stop-shopping experience that meets all of their needs, which creates a win-win for customers who are satisfied with the convenience of a single source and for brands and retailers that can capture a larger share of wallet.”

Interior Paint Brand Satisfaction Rankings

  • BEHR (823) ranks highest in customer satisfaction among interior paint brands and performs particularly well in the durability and warranty/guarantee factors.
  • Sherwin-Williams (821) ranks second and Benjamin Moore (820) ranks third.

Exterior Paint Brand Satisfaction Rankings

  • Clark + Kensington (828) ranks highest in customer satisfaction among exterior paint brands, performing particularly well in application; design guides; durability; price; and product offerings.
  • Sherwin-Williams (818) ranks second, followed by Pittsburgh (815).

Paint Retailer Satisfaction Rankings

  • Sherwin-Williams (831) ranks highest in customer satisfaction among paint retailers and performs particularly well in the merchandise; staff and service; and store facility factors.
  • Ace Hardware (818) ranks second and Menards (813) ranks third.

The 2015 Paint Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 7,840 customers who purchased interior and/or exterior paint within the previous 12 months. The study was fielded in January and February 2015. For more information about J.D. Power solutions for the home improvement industry:

Overall Customer Satisfaction Index Rankings

J.D. Power Circle Ratings™

(Based on a 1,000-point scale)

For Consumers

Interior Paint



Benjamin Moore

Interior Paint Average


Dutch Boy

Clark + Kensington

Martha Stewart Living



Ace Paint


Exterior Paint

Clark + Kensington




Dutch Boy

Exterior Paint Average


Benjamin Moore



Ace Paint

Paint Retailer


Ace Hardware



Paint Retailer Average


The Home Depot


Power Circle Ratings Legend
5 – Among the best
4 – Better than most
3 – About average
2 – The rest

Media Relations Contacts
John Tews; Troy, Mich.; 248-680-6218; [email protected]

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