Paint ‘By the Numbers’ to Get the Best Results

When it comes to home painting, numbers matter: the number of coats to apply, the number of years a paint job will last and more. When it comes to painting the home exterior, aesthetics drive most decisions, but you shouldn’t ignore the math when choosing your paint.

"Things like cost and coverage rate should be taken into account," said Debbie Zimmer, paint and color expert at the Paint Quality Institute. "But some other numbers are much more important." Every paint job involves three key numerical decision points.

• "2 or 3?" One decision concerns the number of coats you’ll have to apply. According to Zimmer, a "traditional" paint job calls for a coat of primer and two coats of paint, for a total of three. She also says that you can achieve similar results by simply applying two coats of a combination "paint and primer" product.

You don’t need a degree in mathematics to see that this can save a lot of time, and possibly, some money, too.

"4 or 10?" Another decision is how frequently to repaint a home’s exterior? "If painting once every 10 years or so sounds more appealing than painting every four years, then you should be sure to use a top-quality exterior paint," said Zimmer. Studies have shown that the best paints can last a full decade or more, while lower quality coatings usually last only three or four years.

• "100, or something else?" How can you tell which paints are the best quality? "I recommend latex paints made with 100 percent acrylic," said Zimmer. "Most manufacturers put the number 100 in big, bold type right on the label of their best paints." These coatings offer better adhesion, greater flexibility in changing temperatures and better durability than other paints — the perfect formula for long-lasting performance.

So, to sum up, for best results with home painting, choose a top quality 100 percent acrylic latex coating, and consider using one that functions as both a primer and paint. The work will require a shorter amount of time, and the new paint job will last a lot longer.

For more information on every aspect of home painting, visit the Paint Quality Institute’s new website at, or check out

Since 1989, The Paint Quality Institute has been educating people on the advantages of using quality interior and exterior paints and coatings as well as color trends and decorating with paint through a variety of instructional platforms and conferences.

This article was provided by the Paint Quality Institute.