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Home Depot Paint Secrets

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Okay, these aren’t really paint secrets, but my fiancée and I were waiting around at Home Depot, getting some paint mixed, chatting with the paint guy and came away with some “secrets” (yeah, that’s in quotes, these probably aren’t secrets to you but I was surprised to learn them).

  • Behr is Home Depot’s brand of paint and it’s actually pretty good quality paint but it sells terribly when it’s not on sale (at least at the local store I was at), which happens once every season. Those sales usually coincide with a major long weekend in that season, like Labor Day and Memorial Day. Expect to see Behr paint sales this upcoming long weekend.
  • Most people paint during those long weekends, probably because they either have a lot of time or because they plan on having some company over. If I were to guess, I wouldn’t have picked these long weekends… it’s enough stress planning for people coming over for Thanksgiving or the holidays, why add to that by painting? :)
  • Behr on sale isn’t the cheapest paint despite being a Home Depot brand.
  • When you request a color, you bring up a can of the brand’s base white and HD mixes in the dyes for you – all those dyes are all Behr dyes. In fact, you could, if you wanted to, bring a Behr base white and request a color from Sherwin Williams but the color won’t come out perfectly because every brand’s white is slightly different.
  • The guy, who wasn’t one of those overachievers looking to push corporate speak, said that it was surprising how white Behr paint was, in fact he mentioned how Sherwin Williams’ white actually looks gray next to the whiteness of Behr paint. What this also means is that if you tried to take the formulations designed for Sherwin Williams and put them in Behr paint, to pay Behr prices, you would get colors that would be lighter… but otherwise be “fine.”
  • “[...] use this tip: ask to open an “account” This just involves giving your personal info (fake it if you want). Then they’ll give you the commercial discount every time – 10% or 15% depending on the associates mood. Just make sure as they’re ringing you in to mention that you have an account with them.” (Great tip courtesy of Kelly, Thanks!)
  • Of course, look up some Home Depot coupons to make the purchase cheaper!

We’re redoing our basement a little, carpeting the floor and painting the wall a little lighter color, so if you have any painting tips or “secrets” (even if they’re not that good), please share!

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84 Responses to “Home Depot Paint Secrets”

  1. Ken says:

    Mr. Anonymous – where can you buy the Microblend paint?

  2. BlueSteam says:

    I paid a pretty penny for the top of the line Valspar semi-gloss paint. For whatever reason all five gallons (3 differant colors) bubbled when rolled onto my walls. I have painted many many gallons of paint on job sites–using cheaper paints and have never had this happen. Does anyone know what causes these bubbles? And the main reason I used Valspar was because they have an awesome website where you can paint virtual rooms and come up with great color combos.

  3. Brian says:

    Time saving tip: if using tape, make sure it doesn’t pull the paint off that is underneath it. I learned the hard way. I taped the ceiling of my room and when I went to pull it up, but chunks of paint and plaster was coming off with it. The house is old and who knows when the ceiling was done last, but it left me with big chunks all the way around the room. I LUCKILY was able to match the paint on the ceiling and did not have to paint the whole thing. What a mission.

  4. Sigel says:

    I bought some Behr paint at one HomeDepot store three days ago and asked them to “double pigment” it, like I’ve done at numerous stores for the past three decades. It covered amazingly well in one single coat.

    I went today to another HomeDepot store and asked for “double pigment” paint and he said that he couldn’t do that because “there would be so much tin in it that it would never dry”. It seemed strange to me and I asked why I’d been doing it all these years, including from Home Depot and he shrugged & mumbled something about being “lucky” or something like that. I have now painted the trim and a door three times and I’m waiting for it to dry so I can paint it the fourth time.

    I called the “acting store manager” and when I explained it to her, she said she didn’t know anything about mixing paints but that the paint guy is “pretty sharp”.

    So, I’m sitting here typing this message while my paint is drying and the “sharp guy” and the “sharp manager” don’t seem all that sharp to me at the moment. I had intended to do about 5 other projects, not the same project 5 times.

    So, anyone know why the sharp guy at HomeDepot can’t double pigment my paint?

    • Kathy A. says:

      Each tint base of paint is made to take a certain amount of pigment and still perform well. The pigment itself is made to NOT dry in any reasonable amount of time (otherwise it would dry in the tint dispensers), but instead relies on the paint drying “around” the pigment particles. So if you’re using a tint base that can take 5 ounces of pigment, and your double formula totals 4 ounces, you’re fine. If your double formula totals 8 ounces, you’re playing with fire.

      If your color is an off white, doubling the pigment is only producing a placebo effect. In 128 ounces of paint, you’ve gone from perhaps 1/12th of an ounce of pigment added to 1/6 of an ounce. If it’s taking 3+ coats to cover a similar color, I’d be looking at the quality of the paint, the quality of the tools you’re using, the weather (too hot, too cold or too humid will make you put on a much thinner coat) or some other variable.

  5. Nate says:

    some people make me sick. in my books, whoever posted this is a theif, no better than the lowly criminals who steal from home depot. to go into a store as a consumer/do it yourselfer and “fake” information to set up an account to gain a discount that you do not deserve and did not earn. downright pathetic. i feel sorry for those working at home depot whos bonus checks get a little smaller because of criminals like you.

  6. Nate says:

    to sigel:

    the associate that mixed your paint may or may not have known what he was talking about. it depends on the color, was it very dark or rich? because paint CAN be ruined by too much tint, and there is only so much room in a can of paint to add tint. since darker colors require more tint, a double tint would either not fit in the can, or ruin the quality of your paint. if its a lighter color that has a smaller amount of tint, then no problem, double tint would work great!

    oh and p.s. you were right, the ammount of tint in paint has nothing to do with the dry time, or very little anyways, his arguement was invalid.

    • Kathy A. says:

      Actually, the pigment will affect the dry time. Pigment that goes into paint is designed not to dry — otherwise it would dry in the tint machine. A base designed to take 12 ounces of colorant will also be designed to DRY with 12 ounces of colorant. A base designed to take 1 ounce of colorant will NOT be designed to dry with 12 ounces.

      Room in the can, however, makes no difference. If it did, you could always remove some paint before tinting or throw it all into a bigger can.

      • ap says:

        You can never remove paint from a can before tinting. It is never allowed due to hazmat regulations that paint stores must follow. If you pour paint out before tinting, you don’t know how much base is precisely removed. Color formulas are determined base on a precise quantity of base.

  7. Sigel says:

    I went to the other home depot with a “regular” paint person instead of a “really sharp” person and she mixed the paint, double pigment, PERFECTLY!

    Worked like a charm just like every other time I’ve asked for this to be done for the past 30+ years.

  8. Just need to contradict Mrs.Groovy. Leaving masking tape overnight will not prevent paint from pulling off the wall with the tape. In fact it’s just the opposite. You want to pull the tape while the paint is still “tacky” not completely dry or too wet. As far as putting in bags overnight she is right. You won’t have to worry about getting all the air out if you put it in the freezer. Just allow yourself 20 minutes or so to thaw before going at it again. Also just a tip to those planning on painting horizontal lines, buy Frog Tape or you’ll shoot yourself later because as good as blue painters tape is, paint will still bleed though.For vertical lines blue is fine. Unfortunately Home Depot doesn’t sell Frog Tape with paint lock technology. At least not the one by my house. I was too lazy to drive to Lowes. Now I have to do my lines all over again.

    • ap says:

      Home Depot used to sell Frog Tape, then they dropped it over a quality issue and gripes from 3M (who makes blue tape). I was told that another company had bought out Frog Tape from from the inventor in ’08 and tried to tinker with the adhesive, as a result it doesn’t lock paint like it used to. The best paint tape I have used with paint lock tech. is called Bloc-It.

  9. rw says:

    Hello Matt, Kathy, Nate, 2cents, and everyone,

    How about opinions on these 2-in-1 paints?
    [e.g., Behr Premium Plus Ultra; SW Duration]

    Do Low/No VOC paints work as well as others?

    Are Alkyd paints preferred for the Exterior?

    All comments appreciated!

  10. PAT TAITAGUE says:

    Behr 2 in 1 is the best there is! If you don’t want to have to coat and re-coat…Spend the money and get ‘er done quick! Do it once! Do it right!

  11. -First of all, Yes there are paint programs in some universities. I got my BS degree from Eastern Michigan University in polymers and coatings. And yes, I did watch paint dry.

    -Never use Alkyds as an exterior top coat. They get brittle and flake off (eventually). And, the fade resistance is terrible compared to acrylics. Alkyd primers on the other hand are the way to go.

    -If you’re paying $1.60 lb for TiO2, you are a small player. But if you can get extender pigments for 7 cents, you have to be digging it out of your back yard.

    -If you are painting a bright red or yellow that is low hiding, use the appropriate monochromatic grey tinted primer (which lines up with the color selected) as the base coat. The store rep should now what this means. Then top coat. Any color will hide in 2 coats this way.

    -Paint and Primer in one is a marketing gimmick. If it blocked tannin stains or stuck to metal, I’d be impressed. Read the label. It has so many restrictions for use it’s ridiculous.

    Drywall primer is nothing more than a very cheap eggshell or flat paint. You use an $8 a gallon primer for the first coat, then $30 gallon paint for the second coat to save cost. Why in the world would you put two coats of $35 paint on a wall instead??? It doesn’t make any sense at all.

    Face it. You weren’t going to buy a primer anyways, so just put on two coats of $20 paint. Save some money, and still get the look you want.

    Also, did you notice that there are now 14 or so colorants used at Depot instead of 12? The other 2 colorants are high strength colorants (the red is dirtier and bluer than the standard) that are added to only the Behr paints in depot.

    Any extra hiding comes from this new stronger, darker colorant; nothing to do with paint and primer in one.

    If you mixed a gallon of good paint and a gallon of primer, you’d just end up diluting the good paint and messing it all up.

    -These days Low VOC and No VOC are as good as high VOC paints in terms of durability. Propylene glycol does make rolling out paint a pleasure. The No VOC’s are close, but not quite there yet in terms of feel.

    Also, with high VOC paint, if you leave it in your garage in the winter you can still use it when it thaws. With low VOC’s they turn to cottage cheese.

    - When you ask for double pigment, what you’re doing is asking for a darker color. Instead of pointing to one color and saying I want this with double pigment, just point to the darker one beneath it and ask for that color. That way you won’t confuse anyone with your request.

    -Yes, high levels of colorant does slow down drying. I use a timed drying machine to run this test. If you add to much you can touch the walls weeks later and it will still be tacky… Had that happen with a pre-tinted floor paint we sold 25 years ago… not good… replaced a lot of carpets after recalling it.

    -If you think that one paint brand is better than all the rest than you are an idiot.

    Like the one guy stated, every company has multiple lines and brands to fit a specific need (except maybe Behr), and the products that line up on the same tier compete and usually win either because one brand was spec’d or one brand was cheaper. One brand might have an advantage with one thing, but the other brand has an advantage somewhere else.

    We found something else out; People who used cheap paint all the time, rated cheap paint better than quality paint and vice versa. If you like something, it’s because it’s familiar, not because it is necessarily better.

    -Unless of course you pick up some paint that has been sitting on the shelf a while. The bubbles in the one post is foam. Defoamers in paints can sometimes lose efficacy when they are heated or aged. So, you end up with dried foam all over your wall. Older paints have a tendency to skin in the can also. Take a picture, send it in, complain… maybe even in an email to the CEO, the situation will be resolved quickly and for free. Seen it happen many times.

    -I think microblend has been losing steam for years. Sounded cool initially, there were some problems, then people stopped talking about it. But, who knows…

    -Matt did a good job of cleaning up a lot of the bad information in these posts. That’s it for my two cents.

  12. Joyce says:

    I went to a Home Depot recently and found 2 paint salespeople who didn’t seem to know much about painting. I asked the young ex military woman which sheen she would recommend for painting woodwork and her answer was that the varnishes were in the next aisle. After much questioning, I realized that she was like many men who do not believe that natural wood should be painted. I finally had to tell her that I would read the info on the can and make my own decision. I purchased a 2 gallon container of ultra white ceiling paint and was told they could not tint it because there would not be room in the can. Is this true? The suggestion was that I just add some brown paint since I wanted an off white or cream. I wasn’t really happy with the service and hope the paint works well since I haven’t used Behr before. I really like Marthe Stewart colors and have had good results with the paint.

  13. Christine says:

    I think BEHR paint is Horrible I have tried it twice like a fool once should have been enough runs so bad and really does not cover as well as Benjamin Moore right now I have a big mess to clean up which I never had with BM NEVER NEVER again will I spend my hard earn money on that garbage

  14. Iva says:

    Behr is not a Home Depot brand.

  15. EricE says:

    RE: Microblend

    Some Costco warehouses have it. I thought it was listed in the Store Locator, but I just looked up a Costco near me that I know has it and it wasn’t listed online. I called them and they still have it so go figure.

    I got a gallon of white exterier primer and white exterior arcryic to touch up the little outside wood trim that I have and I am VERY pleased with it. Extremly easy to work with, looks fantastic and the price is hard to beat.

    I’m looking forward to doing some interior painting with it in the near future as the builder of my house did souch a lousy job spraying, towards the ceilings in some rooms if I get up on a ladder you can almost see the drywall :( So to be safe I will probably just prime everything then paint. Stupid lazy builders who don’t watch their stupid lazy sub contractors….

  16. Ken says:

    Used Behr basement waterproofing paint in basement. It adhered nicely but in many small spots it is blistering.

    I scraped off this paint and applied Behr acid etcher per directions, on these spots, washed it off, waited for walls to dry, repainted with same and still the same bubbling.

    I don’t want to sheet rock the walls. What are my options. My preference at this point is to find a better quality paint. Any recommendations?

    any suggestions?

  17. Ken says:

    Another idea for my same problem.

    Would this work to stop the bubbling?

    Scrape off the Behr paint in spots of bubbling. Chip off the concrete below the removed paint. Coat the the chipped areas with a crystalizing sealer like Concrete Sealer X-2 by
    Stone gate technology (same stuff as Radon Seal Xypex, etc this stuff is used for neg side waterproofing) Re-coat area with a topping cement. Wait a month to cure. Repaint with the same Behr basement waterproofing paint.

  18. Carol says:

    We just used Behr’s paint with primer, and it’s CRAP! It took 3 coats of a dark green to cover a light green, and it chips if you breathe on it! We prepped the walls and gave it plenty of time to dry. It’s been 10 days and it just keeps chipping at the smallest touch. Anyone have any suggestions? Is there something we can seal it with, or is it back to square one? HELP!

  19. nathan says:

    Call the number on your paint can and tell them what happened. There was either something wrong with your prep or the paint, either way they will help you get to the bottom of it and give you advice.

  20. Shaw says:

    BEHR paints sucks !!! need to be sold for $0.99 Do not waste your time using Behr paints

  21. Robin says:

    I just got done painting and washing up using Behr on a new closet.
    I hate behr paint, the scent is nasty, it smells like foul feet, I’ll never us it again.

  22. Robin says:

    I just got done painting and washing up using Behr on a new closet.
    I hate behr paint, the scent is nasty, it smells like foul feet, I’ll never use it again.

  23. Chuck j says:

    99 percent of paint problems lie in the prep and surface conditions and of course the skill of the applicator. Paint is manufactured under strict
    quality controls and tested by lab techs. Problem is most people that DIY dont know there a$$ from a hole in the ground.

  24. kate says:

    I’m a bit confused – does this mean if I take some Glidden base paint off the shelf and select a Glidden paint chip in a specific color, HD is just going to mix a similar-looking Behr tint into the Glidden base?

    • Pal says:

      Kate, the colorants or tints used the the paints are all the same whether used in Behr, Glidden, ICI, Sherwin Williams, etc. The thing that changes is the base paints that the different companies use.

  25. ashley says:

    i bought the 2 in 1 behr and the 2 in one part isn’t so good. i sanded, then painted a test area, after 4 weeks (latex curing time) it still scratches off under my nail. this is on wood paneling.
    it works fine for my wallpaper paneling, but i bought a 5 gallon bucket to do several rooms and will have to now buy additional primer (for which case i would have bought a cheaper paint if i have to use a primer too). live and learn i guess


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