Valspar Paint and Cabot Stain

Valspar Paint & Cabot Stain

Always rated very high by Consumer Reports




The Hardware Store carries a full line of Top quality Paints and Stains. Valspar and Cabot are well known and have proven to deliver proven results


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Helpful information about choosing your paint and stain… from Consumer Reports


Getting started

Many aspects of paint performance depend more on the quality of the base than on the color. The tint base largely determines the paint's toughness and resistance to dirt and stains, while the colorant contributes to hiding and how much the paint will fade. Here's how to pick the right one for the job:



Interior paint

We've found that economy grades--typically dubbed contractor-grade--haven't performed well. If a top-line paint can cover the darkest colors in two coats, lower-quality paints might need three or four. The best now cover old paint well with just one coat. Most even claim to eliminate the initial, primer coat.

Don't buy strictly by brand. Manufacturers tend to reformulate paints frequently to improve performance and comply with tougher regulations. That means the paint you loved last time may not do as well this time around.

Think about color. Use the store's color-sampling products and retailer and manufacturer computer programs. Most stores sell sample jars so you can test a paint before buying a large quantity. Manufacturers also offer large color chips, which are easier to use than the conventional small swatches.

Try out samples on different walls and look at them at various times of the day and in different light. Fluorescent light enhances blues and greens, but it makes warm reds, oranges, and yellows appear dull. Incandescent light works well with warm colors, but it might not do much for cool ones. Even natural sunlight changes from day to day, room to room, and morning to evening. Color intensifies over large areas, so it's better to go too light than too dark in a given shade.

Breathe easier. Manufacturers have reduced the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs)--some of the noxious chemicals that can make paint smell like paint--in their products, in response to stricter federal standards. VOCs can cause headaches and dizziness and are linked to pollution, smog, and respiratory problems. Earlier low-VOC paints lacked the durability of higher-VOC finishes, but now all of the paints in our tests are claimed to have low or no-VOCs, and many performed very well.

Exterior paints and stains

To find out which finishes are likely to last longest on your home, we painted pine test panels and placed them on the roof of our Yonkers, New York, headquarters. We faced the boards south at 25 degrees from horizontal to intensify the effects of sun and weather. One year of such severe testing is equivalent to about three years of normal weathering on a typical home. Most exterior paints held up well for the equivalent of at least three years, and the best still looked fine after what amounted to nine years under the elements.

As with interior paints, manufacturers typically reformulate exterior paints often, partly to meet tougher federal standards limiting VOCs. Reducing VOCs in exterior paint without compromising performance had been a challenge, but now many low-VOC exterior paints top our Ratings. Whether you paint or stain, here are some tips for getting the best-looking, most durable finish possible:

Skip the cheapest paints. As with interior paints, we've found that economy grades of paints don't weather as well as top-of-the-line products from the same brand. Pinching pennies now may mean spending more down the road, since you'll need to refinish more often.

Choose the right gloss level. Flat and satin finishes are best for siding because they hide flaws by reducing reflections. Semi-gloss paints add some shine to doors and trim, providing visual contrast.

Insist on top finishes. Hiring a pro? Be sure the contract specifies the brand, line, and number of coats; for paint, we generally recommend two top coats plus a prime coat over bare surfaces if paint is not self-priming.

Look for deals. Holiday weekends, including Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, are popular times for paint promos.

Don't scrimp on the prep work. Good preparation is critical to a good, long-lasting exterior finish, whether you're paying a pro or are doing it yourself. That means scraping, sanding, and cleaning the siding thoroughly. And while the best paints cover in one coat--and many claim to eliminate the need to prime the surface--we recommend two coats for long life and optimal coverage. Other materials may require different procedures. Stucco and masonry, for example, may need sealing beforehand. If you sand or scrape paint on a house built before 1978, be warned: Older coats of paint may contain lead, so you'll need to take extra precautions. Indeed, federal law now requires that painters you hire be certified by the Environmental Protection Agency and be trained in lead-safe work practices.





We generally test premium lines from major brands, which tend to perform best over time. But we've found that some of the best-performing paints and stains still cost less than lower-scoring lines. Here are the types of paints and stains to consider.


Interior paint

The gloss level affects perception of color. Flat paints (and textured walls) absorb light, so colors seem darker. Glossy paints and smooth surfaces reflect, so colors look brighter. The degree of glossiness may differ from one manufacturer to another.

One note about our Ratings: Because a brand's flat, eggshell, and semi-gloss formulations perform similarly overall, we've combined the scores into one to simplify the selection process.

Eggshell and satin
Use them only on smooth, well-prepared surfaces since their shine can accentuate imperfections on the wall. These paints are best for family rooms, kids' rooms, hallways, and the like. Some might change sheen when scrubbed.

Flat finishes hide imperfections well but are the least stain-resistant, so they're better for low-traffic areas.

Shinier still, these paints are formulated to stand up to stains. They're generally the easiest to clean, but some may tend to dull when scrubbed. They're ideal for kitchen and bathroom walls, windowsills, and other woodwork. Like eggshell and satin paints, semi-gloss paints require a smooth, well-prepared surface with few imperfections.


Exterior paint 

Like interior paints, exterior paints come in a variety of sheens, but we've combined s scores of the various exterior-paint sheens (as with interior paints) into one to simplify the selection process. Here are the types to consider.

Eggshell and satin
Like flat finishes, eggshell and satin work well on siding and have a slight gloss.

This dullest of finishes is the best choice if you need to mask imperfections. Flat finishes look best on siding.

Semi-gloss and gloss
These are most often used for trim because they highlight the details of the woodwork and are easy to clean.



Hiding ability | Surface smoothness | Stain resistance | Scrubbing resistance | Change in gloss | Resistance to sticking | Mildew resistance inside | Fade resistance inside | Exterior resistance to dirt | Exterior resistance to color change | Exterior resistance to mildew | Exterior resistance to cracking 

The features most important to you depends largely on the job at hand. Most of the time and expense of painting your house goes into the prep work, so get a coating that can last longer even if it costs a few dollars more per gallon. Here are the features to consider:


Hiding ability
If you're changing interior walls or house siding from dark to light, you'll need a paint that's good at hiding. Many new paints can cover a contrasting color with a single coat. But for best coverage we still recommend using two coats, even with a top-scoring paint. 

Surface smoothness
Interior paint should dry smooth, without showing brush or roller marks or leave a grainy surface.

Stain resistance
Satin and semi-gloss stains generally are better than flat paints at resisting stains, but there are exceptions.

Scrubbing resistance
This is very desirable for paints in rooms with lots of activity--kids' rooms, kitchens, family rooms--that may need frequent and rigorous cleaning.

Change in gloss
Some paints dull, become shinier, or change color when cleaned aggressively. Semi-gloss paints are the most likely to change, so consider that when using semi-gloss on surfaces such as handrails and doors that will need frequent cleaning.

Resistance to sticking
Some interior paints never seem to dry completely. They can make a window difficult to open, or cause books to stick to a shelf.

Mildew resistance inside
This is especially important in a kitchen, bath, or damp basement.

Fade resistance inside
Fading has long been a problem in sun-drenched rooms, resulting in walls that become lighter over time as they're exposed to sunlight. In general, whites and browns tend not to fade; reds and blues fade somewhat; and bright greens and yellows tend to fade a lot.

Exterior resistance to dirt
Accumulation of dirt is a particular challenge for exterior paint in urban areas. Dark exterior paints hide dirt best. Removing accumulated dirt requires scrubbing or pressure washing.

Exterior resistance to color change
Especially in sunny climates, exterior paints tend to fade, change color, or develop a chalky film. Blues and yellows are the most likely to suffer; refinishing is the only remedy.

Exterior resistance to mildew
Staining and spotting from mildew are common in damp regions from rainy Seattle to steamy Tampa, on northern exposures, and on any house that gets more shade than sun. Removal requires washing with a solution of water and bleach.

Exterior resistance to cracking
This is the most important attribute for exterior paints because if the coating cracks, it exposes the underlying siding or trim to the elements. Typically paints (and solid stains) are best for this application. If you see even tiny cracks on your decking or siding, we recommend refinishing before they worsen and cause more damage.

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