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Behr Paint vs. Sherwin Williams: Which One Is Better?

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Matt is a professional painter and freelance writer, sharing his knowledge, house-painting tips, and product reviews.

Which Paint Brand is Better?

Which Paint Brand is Better?

My Personal Experience With Sherwin Williams Paint and Behr Paint

Throughout my painting career, I have used many different paint brands including Behr and Sherwin Williams. I use Sherwin Williams paint for the majority of my painting projects, but occasionally, a customer supplies the paint for me, which is usually the Behr brand from Home Depot.

Behr isn't the worst paint I've ever used, but as a professional painter, there are things about their interior paint I don't like. At the request of the customer, I painted the whole interior of two homes with Behr paint, using Ultra Premium Plus for the walls in both homes. I have also used their ceiling paint, which I didn't like at all, and their regular Premium Plus.

I have no experience using their exterior products, or interior trim paint, but I have many hours of experience with their wall paint. In this article, I'll share my thoughts on which paint brand works better for me, based on my needs as a painter who works with paint all the time.

Rules of Thumb for Good Paint

  • The cost of the paint indicates quality.
  • A paint with thicker consistency will save you time and will look better.
How can you identify a quality paint?

How can you identify a quality paint?

Behr Paint vs. Sherwin Williams

With paint, you definitely get what you pay for. The typical pattern is that cheap paint won't give you good coverage like premium paint will. Inexpensive paint has a very thin consistency. This means more material, more dipping the roller, and more time spent working. Premium paint costs more, but it's thicker and covers more in one or two coats.

Which is better, Behr or Sherwin?

Which is better, Behr or Sherwin?

Behr Paint Review

  • Cost: Behr's top paint, Marquee, is $42 per gallon, as of this article. You can buy a gallon of their least expensive wall paint, Premium Plus, for $27, in the flat finish, or upgrade to their Premium Plus Ultra line and pay $35 for a gallon of eggshell.
  • Who Uses it: Behr, while used by many contractors, is used mostly by homeowners.
  • Quality: I painted the interior of two homes with Behr Premium Plus Ultra. The paint is very thick, which does help with the coverage on walls, but it's terrible for brushwork, especially cutting-in ceiling corners. The material release and flow from my brush were really bad when I used it, requiring multiple dips into the can to get the paint up into the corner. The paint feels too thick and sticky when rolling compared to the paints I normally use. I had to roll over the same area multiple times to lay it out evenly. To be fair, I haven't used their Marquee line yet.
  • Take home: The coverage of Behr Premium Plus Ultra is good, but the application of the material is not. This might not be an issue for someone with a one-time painting project, but if you're working with paint every day, using a product that goes on easy is important. Behr paint is a lot cheaper than Sherwin Williams. If you want to save as much money as possible on your painting project, and you don't care about durability or coverage, Behr Premium Plus is the cheapest option.

Sherwin Williams Review

  • Cost: Prices for their top paints, Duration Home and Emerald, range from $67 to $77 per gallon. Their new Emerald urethane paint starts at $93 per gallon. The durability and coverage of their premium paints, Duration and Emerald urethane, are well worth the cost, and you can score their top paints by waiting for one of their 30% to 40% off sales events. They have sales on and off all year long.
  • Who Uses it: Sherwin Williams paint is mostly used by contractors who supply the paint for their clients at big discounts.
  • Quality: I use Duration Home a lot for interior walls. The paint covers really well in one to two coats. Cutting-in corners with Duration is a lot faster because the material flows so much better for brushing and rolling. Like any other brand, not all Sherwin Williams paints perform well for brushing and rolling, but their premium paint is much better than Behr.
  • Take home: Sherwin Williams paints like Cashmere, Duration, Emerald urethane, and Super Paint, are excellent paints that perform much better than cheap Behr paint from Home Depot. Sherwin Williams paint is very expensive at full price for a homeowner looking to paint their home unless it's purchased on sale. Even some of their lower quality products can be pricey without a coupon, paint sale, or contractor pricing.

Overall Consensus on Behr vs. Sherwin Williams

In conclusion, the durability, performance, and versatility of products from Sherwin Williams, is definitely better for me than Behr. A contractor can get their top of the line products at really good discount prices. Behr is a cheap alternative for a homeowner not willing to spend more than $50 per gallon for their paint.

Questions & Answers

Question: We have always used SW paint and love it! Can you recommend a white color that is not cream but not stark white either? I want a soft white that is more pearl white than stark white but not cream.

Answer: I've used the color Snowbound a lot for cabinets. The color Westhighland White is nice.

Question: What paint would you recommend for new drywall in a garage?

Answer: The new drywall should first be primed with a PVA primer to seal the surface. Don't paint it without priming first. For the new drywall, I use a PVA primer called Drywall Primer from Sherwin Williams. Paint the walls with a durable and washable anti-mildew bathroom paint. Bathroom paint is good for handling humidity and would work well on the garage walls too if it gets hot and humid. You could also use a durable trim enamel on the walls in a satin or semi-gloss finish. Sherwin Williams Emerald urethane trim enamel is for interior and exterior use. Straight exterior paint has too many VOC's for use in an enclosed space, but the interior/exterior use products are a safer alternative.

Question: Buying an older 1905 home in Chicago with layer upon layer upon layer of paint. Can these walls be sanded down with a power drywall sander, primed and painted again instead of replacing all the walls?

Answer: Knowing the age of your home, I would be very concerned about layers of lead paint underneath. I definitely wouldn't sand the walls without first checking for lead paint with a lead tester kit. You can buy them at home improvement stores. Unless the paint's chipping off, I wouldn't even sand them other than a light surface sanding for new paint. Yes, there are electric paint removers that will sand off the layers, but that's not going to be easy. It's going to produce a huge mess and the plaster will be damaged. If the existing paint's in decent condition, but not smooth, consider skim coating the surface instead of sanding through the layers. You could tear the old walls out and replace them with new drywall, but that will be a big project too.

Question: What is the best product to cover red walls going to white walls?

Answer: Prime the red walls white with a quality latex primer. From Sherwin Williams, I've used their latex PrepRite ProBlock primer and Multi-Purpose primer (latex) many times with good results. These are good products for priming dark walls you're painting white or white walls you're painting tricky colors like red. They also have another latex product called Wall and Wood primer that I've used once to prime dark blue walls I painted a light cream color. The primer is thick and covered really well when I used it. I believe the Wall and Wood primer is the most expensive option out of the three, but the coverage was noticeably better.

Question: What kind of finish would you recommend for white exterior paint?

Answer: Satin and semi-gloss are both good if you want easier surface cleaning. I prefer the satin finish of the product I use. You can use flat if you don't want the surface to be shiny, but the dull surface makes it harder to wash dirt off.

Question: I was wondering how you feel about PPG paint?

Answer: I have only used PPG exterior paint, with good results. I hear good things about PPG Breakthrough. It can be used on multiple substrates. For cleaning, Sherwin Williams Duration Home satin is pretty good.

Question: What do you, the writer of this article, think about Dunn Edwards paint? Have you used it? Do you recommend it?

Answer: I've never used the paint you mention.

Question: We are repainting our entryway - which white paint would you recommend for the walls to pair with a wood ceiling?

Answer: Duration Home, or Harmony, both from Sherwin Williams, are good washable paints to use on the stairway walls.

Question: Exterior Paint - SW which is best? Would you suggest a satin finish?

Answer: Sherwin Williams Duration exterior paint is good. I like the satin finish. Super Paint is good too and cheaper. Emerald exterior paint is said to be their best paint, but I've never used that product. I've only used Duration and Super Paint with good results. Both can be used on multiple types of surfaces.

© 2018 Matt G.

Comments

Matt G. (author) from United States on August 22, 2020:

I haven't used Valspar paint, but for trim paint, I like Pro Classic acrylic enamel. It sprays nice. The durability is good and it won't yellow.

Cj on August 22, 2020:

What are your thoughts on Valspar diamond paint? What do you find is the Best acrylic paint for trim that will not turn yellow overtime?

Rachel on May 17, 2020:

This feed and comments have been very helpful. Wondering if someone could help with a specific question. My house was painted with Benjamin Moore Regal Classic paint (before they reformulated for low VOC). Now, I'd like to repaint but can't seem to match the color (Winter Wheat) even with Benjamin Moore paint. So far I've tried BM Regal Select (it was greenish), Sherwin Williams Superpaint and Dunn Edwards Suprema. None of the colors are really close. Either to grey or greenish when the original color is very warm. Any ideas? Should I try BM Aura? Also, does anyone know if the Regal Classic had primer in it? I don't think so and for a novice painter like me, it was the perfect consistency.

Matt G. (author) from United States on March 01, 2020:

Thanks for the feedback. Everyone has their preference for paint that works best for them.

stephen pashovsky on March 01, 2020:

I have been in the remodeling and painting business for over 40 years. The only true difference in the paints is the same as the difference between a Mercedes and a BMW. It's all in the person's personal preference. Each does something a little better/worse than the other. In today's world the paints are all so technically manufactured they all perform in a similar state. I don't like Marquis and high end paints from SW and Duron because I don't like their brush performance. The Behr Ultra is my ideal paint, not too thick and covers beautifully. I also love the PPG Timeless brand, it too seems to find that happy medium! Another important factor to me and my customers is the color reflection! I seem to get my best color performance compared to the advertised sample with the Ultra and the Timeless. I don't believe in any "one-coat" paint because many coats provide a depth the one coat cannot. I also paint cars and it's so true that the more coats you are willing to spray and rub down the more depth you get in the look!! One more most important note: the paint is not the decider of the look, the preparation and the application decide the look!!! Enjoy your painting!

Taylor on October 30, 2019:

I've been painting for many years now. I've done extremely high end work and we've used Sherwin Williams or Parker paint. I've also used Lowe's Valspar and, in the past, Behr. My opinion has always been that they were all pretty equal. I've always thought that the differences in paint jobs was all about the painter and not the paint.

Recently, I decided to paint my own house and I started with Behr's dedicated ceiling paint. Starting in a bedroom, I didn't use the sprayer because I figured I could roll it out faster. The first time I took the roller from tray to ceiling I was rained down on by paint. Because I have painted as much as I have, I didn't feel the need to wear a hat because I have always had a pretty easy time not dripping. I had to wash the paint out of my hair and I tarped fastidiously and finished the ceiling with less than satisfactory outcome. I had to paint it several times to finally call it good and move on.

After that experience, I went back to Home Depot and felt luck that there happened to be a Behr representative there. We talked about paint and I enjoyed the fact that he seemed to "know his stuff". But, I left there, not with a refund for the paint that had cost me in money, time and toil, but with Behr's top of the line Marque for $250.00+tax.

Got home and parked the paint I had already bought and hated out in my shed. Started in with the Marque and instantly knew I was in for some trouble. I felt like I was trying to paint with caulk. The paint is hyper thick and yet, I didn't get the one coat coverage they advertise. I figured out that you have to work at lightning speed with this paint or it will begin to form up and cause all sorts of trouble. So I painted a bathroom in about three hours and started to take the tape off. The paint, peeled right off with the tape.

By the time I messed around with a couple of bedrooms and bathrooms, trying to maybe get the hang of using the marque, I had to leave the job unfinished because I'd run out of time to work on it.

I lived with all furniture removed from my living room and everything tarped off for a couple of months and I'm just now getting back to it. Not loving the overhead work, I made the decision not to use the Behr paint I'd already paid for but to use Sherwin William's ceiling paint. Dreading the job intensely, I started it yesterday and finished it in short order with fantastic results.

Now, I've got just a few walls to finish and I had the marque wall paint on my deck. I figured I could tolerate working with this paint just long enough to get the job finished so I could be done and get back to living in a home that doesn't feel like a Dexter crime scene.

I pull the paint in from the deck and because I never took the lid off of the paint, I did so in order to stir the paint. The bucket was about 3/4 full and I figured I had enough to get her done. I go to stir the paint and it feels like water, I'm thinking that the paint has separated and I stir it real well and it's still very watery. I can't imagine how water got into an unopened paint lid. Anyway, I'm off to buy Sherwin William's to finish and cut my losses.

I've read a few posts that suggest the Behr paint is good to work with once you get the hang of it but if that's the case, Behr should do some educating of it's buyers. I know for a fact that if I had such a horrible, rotten, terrible, no good time with this paint, the average DIYer will be in sheer hell.

Matt G. (author) from United States on October 15, 2019:

I've only used Behr wall paint. I haven't used any of their trim paint, but that's great it worked well for you.

Harold on October 15, 2019:

Granted, Behr paint is not easy to use and not for the novice. I found that once you get used to it the paint works great. You cannot be a paint dabber. You have to put it down and move on and it will level out beautifully. All of the wood trim and doors in my house look as if the paint were sprayed on rather than brushed.

Lianne on July 01, 2019:

Thank you! I’ve been saying for years how terrible Behr paint is! We flip homes for a living, plus my father was a paint contractor when I was younger and I worked for him for 10 years. The worst part is how thick and sticky it is, as you mentioned. I mostly do finish brush work and detailed woodwork that you want to flow smoothly and leave no “wagon wheel tracks”/brushmarks, let alone be sticky. Behr is the worst paint ever for that. I’m always surprised how heavy advertising can popularize such an inferior product. But thanks for validating!

Matt G. (author) from United States on June 09, 2019:

I've never used Behr deck stain. I use Sherwin Williams Super Deck when I stain decks, but most deck stain I've used needs to be reapplied every two to three years.

Integrity Power Wash on June 09, 2019:

I’ve never used Behr interior paint, but there solid deck stain is horrible, I have 3 decks right now, that I’m stripping to bare wood, then using Sherwin Williams to stain.

But for the most part, I’ve found almost ALL so called solid stains or the Rock Hard resurface junk is garbage.

Matt G. (author) from United States on June 01, 2019:

Emerald urethane and Proclassic are both good. I've used many Benjamin Moore paints, but mostly use Sherwin Williams.

Justin on June 01, 2019:

You fail to bring up a few cheaper options of Sherwin paints I figured I'd share. Sher scrub, a clay base contractor grade cheap paint, runs, roughly 23bucks a gallon, a 100 ext paint also very cheap .. but I will say, cover pretty well for the money, and are fairly washable. When talking paints, I take into consideration a couple things, spatter, so e paints throw spatter more than others, duration, is a spatter paint for the money, and coverage for some colors in interior mix isn't great, especially for the money. The acrylic interior enamels, ie trim paint, like pro classic, are terrible in comparison to advanced from bm. If you want to spend double for good trim enamel from Sherwin, I would recommend emerald, urethane. But again, super pricy compared to "lesser" bm paints that infind equally as durable, with a nicer warmer more accurate sheen. A proclassic acrylic satin, is barely eggshell, more matte than anything.. I prefer cashmere to duration, for the money, sheens are alittle funky, but a better product. If I were to recommend paint, I recommend regal from hirshfields, it's really hard to beat that paint in any aspect for a client. It's just superior for the money than anything Sherwin offers. I do use primarily Sherwin products, and have for 16 yrs, but I do prefer Benjamin Moore and hirshfields paints and stains over all sherwin. Sherwin just tends to have better deals for me, and the products are tolerable and more accessable in my area.