How to Buy Cheap Paint

For best results, don't buy cheap paint.
Higher quality paint at discounted prices are a much better bargain.

When you inherit an heirloom Persian rug for your living room, purchase a new sofa for the family room or acquire a new duvet for the bedroom, it's time to complement your new accents by changing the colors of the walls with a fresh coat of paint. Unfortunately, premium-grade interior and exterior paints can get rather pricey, but you can cut costs without cutting quality.

Cheap Paint or Good Paint?

Higher quality paints cost more for a simple reason; they're better than the entry-price paints. The better grades of latex paint contain less water and more solids, including better pigments, better resins, and higher quality additives. A premium paint may provide single-coat coverage that looks good for 10 or 15 years, while a cheap grade of paint that only lasts for five years might need two or three coats. Don't settle for cheap paint when you can buy quality paint at a low price.

Holiday Painting Bargains

Paint retailers know that do-it-yourselfers like to schedule big home improvement projects for a three-day weekend; that's why you'll find paint sales around President's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day. Some stores that cater to professional painters offer 30 and 40 percent savings to DIYers during spring and summer sales promotions and also email coupons to consumers who sign up for their mailing list.

Saving on Mistints

If you aren't choosy about color, you can find major bargains in mistinted paints stashed behind the counter or on a special shelf at most retail paint outlets. These are perfectly acceptable paints, rejected because the color turned out a little different from what the customer requested. Mistints are priced substantially below normal retail, but your color selection is usually quite limited. If you find a color you like, however, the dealer may be willing to mix up additional paint using the same color formula for a discounted price.

Save the Planet, Save Some Cash

Many communities collect leftover water-based paint from homeowners and professional painters as a recyclable product, then blend it and reprocess it. The resulting paint is supplied in both interior and exterior formulas at bargain prices far below their original cost. In most cases, recycled paints produce less air pollution than traditional paints, but they are available in a much smaller color palette. Check with your local Habitat for Humanity retail store for pre-owned paint.

About the Author

Mike Matthews is editor of Green Building Product News, a national publication that covers sustainable innovations in building and remodeling, and he has spoken at national conferences on green building. He has also served as founding editor of "Paint Dealer" magazine.