Best paints and tape for the money

January 21, 2013 3:47:01 PM PST
If painting the inside of your home is on your to-do list, you'll want to know what the best paint is for the money.

Consumer Reports tested dozens of paints and painters tapes to find the best ones. Their goal was to find out which brands deliver excellent results and value.

Gail Nielson visited her local hardware store to select paint for her living room, after having a great experience repainting her bedroom.

"It looks like the room's brand new, a different room," she said.

A new color can be an inexpensive way to get a whole new look. So Consumer Reports evaluated 65 paints, from the pricy to budget friendly.

Rico De Paz with Consumer Reports said, "A good price is a good thing, but stay away from really inexpensive paints. None of our top picks were under $20."

But you don't need to spend top dollar either. In fact, Benjamin Moore, which can cost as much as $68 a gallon, did well, but was not top-rated in Consumer Reports' latest paint tests.

The highest scores went to paints that cost half that. It's a new brand called Clark and Kensington, sold at Ace hardware stores. They go for around $33 a gallon.

De Paz said, "It topped our ratings in the satin finish. That's durable and best for most applications."

Clark and Kensington paints also left a smooth finish that resisted stains and stood up to scouring, even after 1,000 passes with a stiff scrub brush.

"It's also self-priming, so you can save some time and money by not having to apply a primer coat when you paint over bare wood or wallboard," De Paz explained.

What about choosing the right paint tape?

John Galeotafiore with Consumer Reports said, "A good tape keeps the paint from bleeding underneath it, it's easy to remove, and it doesn't take the paint off with it."

Consumer Reports looked at six painters tapes, costing between three and eight dollars a roll. There were ones from Scotch, Duck and Frogtape. Testers compared them to plain old $2 masking tape.

After applying the tape strips and pressing them down evenly with a weighted roller, testers paint a coat of blue paint over them and then leave the paint to dry. Regular masking tape tore, making it tedious to remove.

"Tape isn't a big investment, so you might as well spend a few extra bucks and get a painter's tape designed specifically for the job," Galeotafiore advised.

Several delivered a very sharp line, including Frogtape multi-surface and two from 3-M. But these three tapes were a little harder to remove. So Consumer Reports' winner is the Frogtape delicate surface tape. It costs between six and eight dollars a roll, leaves a very sharp line and was the easiest of the six to remove.

If you shop at Home Depot or Lowe's, Consumer Reports says paints available at these stores did really well in tests, too. At Home Depot, several paints by Behr are recommended as well as the Glidden Premium. At Lowe's, Consumer Reports liked Valspar Signature.

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