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Paint, Stain, and Solvents Buying Guide

Paint and stain can quickly transform interior walls, furniture, and exterior surfaces such as siding and decks. You don't have to be a pro to apply paint or stain, but the finished job will look better and last longer if you choose the best paint or stain for your specific surface. Use this buying guide to learn what type of paint or stain you should choose for your next home improvement project.

Types of Paint, Stain, and Solvents

Types of Paint, Stain, and Solvents

Choosing the right paint or stain can quickly become overwhelming because of the sheer number of choices, but understanding the key differences between various formulas can make the decision easier. In basic terms, primer prepares the surface for the top coat; paint coats the surface; and stain penetrates the surface and allows varying amounts of wood grain to show through. Paints are formulated differently depending on whether they'll be used inside or outside, so be sure to choose a paint or stain based on where it will be used and what surface it will be covering. Here are the primary types of paint and stain available.

Interior Paint

Designed to be used inside the house, this type of paint can be either water-base or oil-base. It's available in several different sheens. Because they are more rigid than exterior paints when dry, interior paints are easier to wash and less prone to scuffing.

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BEHR Premium Plus Ultra
$143.00

BEHR Premium Plus Ultra Matte Interior Paint and Primer in One will change the way you paint and save you time. This performance-d...riven paint, featuring NANOGUARD technology, offers superior stain removal and excellent hide in fewer coats. This exciting product delivers the beautiful color you want with the exceptional durability you need. Color: PPF-22 Inviting Veranda Matte. read more

BEHR Premium Plus
$29.98

BEHR Premium Plus Interior/Exterior Hi-Gloss Enamel is 100% acrylic, provides a mildew resistant finish and is great for high-use ...surfaces. This tough, stain resistant sheen withstands moisture and wear; provides ultimate durability and exceptional hide. The finish displays a brilliant, shiny appearance. Color: Ruby Ring. read more

BEHR Premium Plus Ultra
$148.00

BEHR Premium Plus Ultra Eggshell Enamel Interior Paint and Primer in One will change the way you paint and save you time. This per...formance-driven paint, featuring NANOGUARD technology, offers superior stain removal and excellent hide in fewer coats. This exciting product delivers the beautiful color you want with the exceptional durability you need. Color: Pink Posey. read more

BEHR Premium Plus
$117.00

BEHR Premium Plus Zero VOC, Self-Priming Interior Satin Enamel is 100% acrylic and provides a mildew resistant finish. This versat...ile, easy-clean sheen provides ultimate durability and exceptional hide. The finish displays a pearl-like appearance. Color: Pastel China. read more

Exterior Paint

Designed to be used on exterior surfaces, this type of paint can be either water-base or oil-base. Exterior paint includes additives to help it resist fading, and its chemical composition allows it to be flexible enough to expand and contract with a home's siding. It's available in several sheens. You can find different formulas designed for specific surfaces, such as floor/porch paint and masonry paint.

Primer

Applied under interior or exterior paint, primers are designed to create a uniform surface that will improve the adhesion of the paint top coat. Primers also block tannin, water, grease, and smoke stains and prevent them from bleeding through the top coat. Like paints, primers are available in both water-base and oil-base formulas. Oil-base primers can be used with either oil- or water-base paints, but water-base primers are not recommended for use with oil-base paint.

Stain

Instead of coating the surface like paint, stain penetrates the surface and allows the natural texture of the surface to show through. Stain can be used on many different wood surfaces, such as furniture, siding, and decks. Stains are available in both water-base and oil-base (alkyd) formulas and in a variety of colors.

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Montana Woodworks
$769.19

From Montana Woodworks, the largest manufacturer of handcrafted quality log furnishings in America comes the all new Homestead Col...lection line of furniture products. Handcrafted in the mountains of Montana using solid, American grown wood, the artisans rough saw all the timbers and accessory trim pieces for a look uniquely reminiscent of the timber-framed homes once found on the American frontier. A popular item for the front porch, this glider/rocker is enjoyed by many. The close relative of Montana Woodworks deck bench, this glider design incorporates glides that allow it to gently rock back and forth. Some assembly required. 20-year limited warranty included at no additional charge. Handcrafted by the artisans of Montana, the Homestead Collection of fine rustic furniture features timbers and trim pieces similar reminiscent of a timber framed home on the American frontier. Made in Montana, U.S.A. with solid, American grown wood. Some assembly required Hand Crafted in Montana U.S.A. Solid, U.S. grown wood Timbers and Trim Pieces are Sawn Square for Rustic Timber Frame Design Heirloom Quality 20 Year Limited Warranty - See Packaging for details Durable Build, Fit and Finish Each Piece Signed By The Artisan Who Makes It Solid Lodge Pole Pine MWHCSSGNSL, MWHCLSSL, MWHCLSCSL, MWHCDBSL, MWHCDCSL Read Use and Care Instructions. read more

Thompsons
$13.18

Thompson’s® WaterSeal® Easy Stain™ is a beautiful Wood Stain and Waterproofer in one easy step. The convenient tube makes staining... small exterior projects, such as bird houses, chairs, and tables, a snap. Thompson’s® WaterSeal® Easy Stain™ provides rich color, prevents water damage, and the coating resists mildew and UV damage. read more

CabotStain
$25.69

This item is a Cabot Australian Timber Oil Penetrating Oil Formula Jarrah Brown 1 Qt. Purpose of use for Painting Supplies, househ...old-wood-stains. This product is manufactured in United States. read more

Cabot Stains
$19.95

This item is a Cabot 140.0003459.005 Mahogany Timber Oil Finish. Purpose of use for Painting Supplies, household-wood-stains. This... product is manufactured in United States. read more

Epoxy

Ideal for garage floors, this durable, plasticlike coating is tougher than other paints and stains and is able to withstand the heat from hot tires. (As you drive on hot streets in the summer, your car's tires absorb heat and can cause standard floor paint to peel or stain.) Epoxy is not suited for damp floors, however.

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3M
$889.85

Epoxy Adhesive, Kit, Size 1 pt, Green, Temp Range 67 to 300 F, Curing Time 8 hours, Application Time 60 minutes, Viscosity 400,000..., Specific Gravity 1.15, Shear Strength 3,000 PSI, Substrates Metals, wood, reinforced plastics and masonry, Twopart, high strength epoxy adhesive. Chemically cures at room temperature, May be applied with spatula, trowel, or flow equipment, Package Quantity 6 read more

HUMBOLDT
$22.10

Epoxy Adhesive, Epoxy Based, Translucent, 1 oz., Syringe, Mixing Ratio 1:1, Application Time 3 to 5 min., Functional Cure 5 to 8 m...in., Full Cure 24 hr., Work Life 5 min., Substrates China, Ceramics, Metal, Wood, Marble, Leather, Concrete and Hard Plastic, For Use In Affixing Crack Monitors to Concrete Surfaces, For Use With Crack Monitors, Package Quantity 1 read more

Toto
$1,405.80

Product Features:Round basin gives a simplistic yet elegant style to the bathroomCovered under Toto s limited 1-year warrantyConst...ructed of fireclay this sink embodies unrivaled aesthetic appealVessel installation type brings unrivaled style and sophistication to your bathroomCenter drain location provides optimal draining capabilityAll hardware needed for installation includedExtra-secure mounting assemblyToto bathroom sinks provide unmatched performance, durability and reliabilityProduct Specifications:Height: 6-7/8 (measured from the bottom of sink to the top of the rim)Overall Width: 15-3/4 (measured from the back outer rim to the front outer rim)Overall Length: 15-3/4 (measured from the left outer rim to the right outer rim)Basin Width: 14-3/4 (measured from the back inner rim to the front inner rim)Basin Length: 14-3/4 (measured from the left inner rim to the right inner rim)Basin Depth: 5-1/2 (measured from the center of basin to the rim)Installation Type: VesselDrain Outlet Connection: 1-1/4About Toto:For over 90 years Toto has been producing superbly designed, high-performance plumbing products for residential and commercial bathrooms. With a concentration on creating a more enjoyable bathroom experience, Toto infuses its products with sophisticated styling and substance. Each product is constructed and fine-tuned with computer precision and relentless attention to detail. Through ever evolving manufacturing practices and new technologies, Toto consistently leads the way in plumbing fixture efficiency and sustainability. It is this pursuit of excellence that pushes them beyond industry standards and drives them to maintain their reputation as one of the most decorated plumbing manufacturers in the world. read more

Homak Security
$89.00 $77.56

Personal and portable safe for use in drawers, under beds, on shelves, and on the go. Perfect for passports, wallets, keys, jewelr...y and important documents. Color: Powder Coated Epoxy. read more

Solvents

Usually available in liquid form, solvents can be used to thin paint, as well as to clean and prep the painting surface. Many solvents are flammable and emit toxic fumes, so you need to wear safety equipment and work in a well-ventilated area. Some solvents—including mineral spirits, turpentine, denatured alcohol, linseed oil, and lacquer thinner—can be used to thin various substances, so it's important to choose the right one for your job.

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Rust-Oleum
$11.71

This is quite simply the finest brushing and spraying lacquer available today. A crystal-clear, super durable finish (or sealer) t...hat dries in 30 minutes and can be re-applied without having to sand. What could be easier? Available in quarts and 11.25 oz aerosols. read more

Minwax
$10.65

Minwax Gel Stain is specifically designed to give you full control over the staining process and help you achieve beautiful result...s. read more

Rust-Oleum
$21.34

VARATHANE INTERIOR/EXTERIOR GEL STAINSUse on vertical interior application such as furniture, cabinets, doors, and window trim or ...on exterior surfaces such as outdoor furniture. Also can be used on non-wood surfaces such as fiberglass, composite wood, masonite and steel doors to create the natural look of wood. Provides a thick consistency to prevent drips and runs. No lap marks or grain raise.Highlights:- Oil-Based. Quart. Color Golden Oak. read more

ZAR
$18.04

ZAR Interior Oil-Based Wood Stain wipes on like furniture polish to add rich, uniform color to wood. Controlled penetration brings... out the natural beauty of a variety of wood surfaces without streaks or lap marks. read more

Product Features

Product Features

Although various types of paint may look similar, their chemical composition can be very different. Paint can include a variety of additives, or additional chemicals, that can change properties of the paint. Additives in exterior paint can help it resist mildew, for example, while additives in interior paint can make it easier to clean. Here are a few features to look for when selecting paint for your project.

Low-VOC

Many paints—especially oil-base paints—include volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can be dangerous to humans and the environment. More paint companies now offer low-VOC paint that poses less of a health risk and is more eco-friendly.

Nonskid Additives

These gritty additives can be added to floor paint to make floors less slippery.

Mildew Resistance

Some paints offer mildew resistance, which is especially important for exterior paint and interior paint used in kitchens, baths, and damp areas, such as basements. Water-base stains are also mildew-resistant, whereas some oil-base stains can encourage mildew growth. If you opt for an oil-base stain, look for one that specifically says it's mildew-resistant.

Hiding Ability

If you're painting a light color over a dark wall, you'll want to choose a paint that has good hiding ability.

Scrub Resistance

In rooms that get a lot of use (kids' rooms, family rooms, and kitchens, for example), a paint that can stand up to a vigorous cleaning is beneficial.

Resistance to Cracking

When choosing an exterior paint, look for one that resists cracking. If the paint finish cracks, it will expose the siding or trim underneath the paint to the elements, potentially resulting in surface damage.

Chalking Resistance

This feature helps prevent the buildup of a white chalky powder on an exterior surface. If you use an exterior paint that does not have chalking resistance, the paint will start to become streaked as the binder in the paint slowly degrades over time.

Blister Resistance

Paints with this component will help prevent moisture from coming through the paint surface and causing the paint to blister.

Purchase Considerations

Purchase Considerations

You have a lot to think about when choosing a paint or stain. You'll obviously need to consider color, but you'll also want to think about what paint sheen is best for your painting surface, or whether you want an opaque or transparent stain. Is easy cleanup important to you? Can you handle the strong fumes of oil-base paint? Also consider the type of surface you'll be painting—different paints and stains are better for different surfaces. And be sure to consider quality, because all paints are not created equal.

Color

Deciding on a color can be the toughest part of purchasing paint. Plan to buy a sample jar or a quart of paint, and try out the color on various walls before committing to one. Look at the sample areas at various times of day, so you can see how the color looks under natural light and when indoor lighting is used.

Sheen

Both interior and exterior paints are available in a variety of sheens. Flat paint is good for hiding imperfections, but it doesn't offer much stain-resistance; use flat paint on living room and dining room walls and exterior siding. Eggshell and satin finishes have a slight sheen; they work well in family rooms, kids' rooms, and hallways. Semigloss paint is easy to clean but shows imperfections in the surface; use this paint for kitchen and bathroom walls and windowsills. Use semigloss and gloss exterior paints on trim, as they'll show off the details of the woodwork.

Opacity

The opacity of stains allows various amounts of the wood grain to show through the finish. Clear stains show off the wood grain the best, but they offer minimal protection from the elements and will need to be reapplied often. Semitransparent stains let some of the wood grain show through and offer more protection than clear stains. Solid stains form an outer coating on the wood surface, which hides the wood grain; they usually last longer than clear and semitransparent stains.

Oil-Base vs. Water-Base

Water-base paints are easier to clean up than oil-base paints, dry more quickly, and emit a less-powerful odor. However, oil-base paints can be a better choice in some circumstances. Oil-base paints can prevent stains and rust from bleeding through the paint, for example, so they're better for chalky and stained surfaces and metals that rust. Oil-base primers can be a good choice for raw interior wood.

Painting Surface

For the best results, be sure to choose a primer and paint that work well with the surface you'll be painting. Various primers are designed for use on specific materials—wood, concrete, and metals such as galvanized steel, iron, and aluminum. Also be sure to carefully clean and prep the surface before painting to ensure a long-lasting finish.

Quality

When it comes to paints and stains, it pays to pay more. Low-quality interior paints will require more coats than top-of-the-line products, and economy grades of exterior paints and stains won't hold up as well as high-quality versions. If you opt for a cheap line of paint, you may save money now but end up paying more in the long run.

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Marmont Hill
$209.50 $190.38

Features: Fine art canvas print from the Marmont Hill Art Collective Professionally hand stretched Gallery wrapped in sustainable,... non-warping wood Arrives ready to hang Made in the USA Includes a certificate of authenticity Painting Print on Canvas Part of the Birds collection Available Sizes: 18" L x 18" W x 1.5" D (5 lbs hanging weight) 24" L x 24" W x 1.5" D (6 lbs hanging weight) 32" L x 32" W x 1.5" D (7 lbs hanging weight) 40" L x 40" W x 1.5" D (9 lbs hanging weight) 48" L x 48" W x 1.5" D (12 lbs hanging weight) read more

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Brewster
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Bring your walls to life with this floral scroll peel and stick wall border. Featuring bright colors and a gorgeous, trendy patter...n, this border is sure to dress up any room. Because RoomMates borders are completely removable and repositionable, you... read more

York Wallcoverings
$28.01 $10.99

RZM2464 Features Peel & Stick Giant Wall Decals/Wall Stickers collection Peel and stick Made in the USA Product Type: Wall dec...al Theme: Trees & Flowers Color: Multi-colored Number of Items Included: 24 Compatible Surface Type: Multi-surface/Flat... read more

ART.COM
$130.00 $77.99

Add creativity and whimsy to your space in a unique way with this wall decal-just peel, stick and enjoy. a quick, simple and affor...dable alternative to painting self-adhesive stickers are repositionable, so they're easy to use-and easy to remove when you want to change your look works best on dry, clean and smooth surfaces Vinyl. Decal sheet measures 28x20"H; includes 42 decals. Made in America. read more

ART.COM
$130.00 $77.99

Add creativity and whimsy to your space in a unique way with this wall decal-just peel, stick and enjoy. a quick, simple and affor...dable alternative to painting self-adhesive stickers are repositionable, so they're easy to use-and easy to remove when you want to change your look works best on dry, clean and smooth surfaces Vinyl. Decal sheet measures 24x36"H; includes 18 decals. Made in America. read more

ART.COM
$130.00 $77.99

Add creativity and whimsy to your space in a unique way with this wall decal-just peel, stick and enjoy. a quick, simple and affor...dable alternative to painting self-adhesive stickers are repositionable, so they're easy to use-and easy to remove when you want to change your look works best on dry, clean and smooth surfaces Vinyl. Decal sheet measures 28x20"H; includes 80 decals. Made in America. read more

ART.COM
$100.00 $59.99

Add creativity and whimsy to your space in a unique way with this wall decal-just peel, stick and enjoy. a quick, simple and affor...dable alternative to painting self-adhesive stickers are repositionable, so they're easy to use-and easy to remove when you want to change your look works best on dry, clean and smooth surfaces Vinyl. Decal sheet measures 18x40"H; includes 10 decals. Made in America. read more

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