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How to Select the Right Commercial Paint for the Job

As a home improvement company, those of us at Ferris Home Improvement in Delaware have often been asked for advice on selecting the right quality paint for the job. With a large amount of variables to consider, many home owners may feel that they need a chemistry degree when attempting to select the best paint for a particular application.

Start by considering the particular needs of the application and environmental considerations. What are you trying to accomplish? For one, if you are looking to protect a building exterior, then you’ll want to pick a paint that can withstand the fluctuating temperatures, moisture, extreme weather, deter mildew growth and hold up to regular maintenance, such as power washing.

It is wise to check out the paint manufacturer’s data that identify the ingredients used in manufacturing the paint, including pigments, binders and additives used, as well as the percentage of solids.

How to Select the Right Paint for the Job

  • Pigments are what give the paint its color and its ability to cover. A measure of a paint’s quality hinges on the pigment value concentrate (PVC), which is the ratio of the pigment volume to the total volume of solids. As a rule, a PVC value of 45 is generally considered to be the optimal level for most applications.
  • Binders are used in paints to help them firmly attach the pigment to the surface in a consistent manner and the quantity of binder used impacts performance factors such as adhesion, durability, stain resistance and crack resistance.
  • Liquids are used simply as a ‘carrier’ that allows for getting the paint from the container to the surface, there is no added performance benefits. As you might suspect, higher quality paints have a higher ratio of pigments and binders to liquids.
  • Additives are the ingredients that give paint certain qualities for enhanced performance for particular applications. For example, rheology modifiers provide for more even coverage, mildewcides will help prevent mildew, preservatives prevent spoilage and dispersing agents keep the pigment evenly distributed.


It’s no surprise that paints with higher PVC, binders and additives tend to be a bit pricier. But the cost of paint is a relatively minor consideration in any  painting project. The true costs lie in the labor. If purchasing cheaper paint results in subpar results and shorter intervals between painting cycles, then the initial savings are negated.How to Select the Right Commercial Paint for the Job

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) can provide additional information, such as weight per gallon, quantity of solids and the flash point.  Purchasing a paint that has passed the ASTM testing, ANSI and Green Seal standards are a good indicator of the paints ability to meet industry standards.

So before picking paint for your painting needs, check out the ingredients and ask the right questions, such as what is the life expectancy, stain resistance, resistance to cracking, blistering and peeling. Is there a warrant and what is the paint manufacturer’s reputation?

We’re always here to help, even if you’re just looking for a piece of advice from an experienced contractor! | 302.998.4500 | Contact Us