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Behr interior paint beats a $105 challenger

Farrow & Ball’s colors are stunning, but its paint was less than stellar

Published: December 23, 2013 12:15 PM

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Staring at all those cans in the paint aisle, hoping to wind up with a really good interior paint, has become as frustrating as nailing the right color. Similar names, claims, and prices can be mind-boggling. Buy one of the cheapest paints and you may have to use more than one coat. But what do you get if you spend $105 for a gallon of Farrow & Ball?
Designers rave about it, and we have to agree that the colors are gorgeous. The paint is made and tinted at a factory in England, and you’ll find it online and at Farrow & Ball stores in the U.S. But despite the dreamy colors and names such as Slipper Satin (an off-white), and Drawing Room Blue, it was the worst of the 67 interior paints tested by Consumer Reports at hiding old paint. It took two coats of the Farrow & Ball Estate Eggshell, $105, to do what the top-rated Behr Premium Plus Ultra Satin Enamel did in just one. And the Behr is $34 a gallon at Home Depot. Farrow & Ball’s eggshell and semi-gloss paints also left a rough finish and lost most of their sheen after cleaning.

Our new interior paint Ratings can make choosing one easier. You’ll see how well a paint hides the old stuff, whether it leaves a smooth finish, and how well it holds up to scrubbing and stains. We toughened our stain tests to include both water- and oil-based stains, better reflecting real life. As anybody with children knows, flat finishes tend to stain easily.
—Kimberly Janeway


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