When it comes to painting your home, there quite a number of items and decisions you will need to make. Next to painting supplies and painters tools likely the largest of decision is going to be what sort of paint you buy to put on your walls, once you begin looking down this path you will find a large number of paint retailers all selling their latest product and claiming it to be the best. How do you differentiate between products? What is a good paint and why should you buy it? You’re in the right place because we’re going to tackle these paint related problems head-on.
Big Box Store vs Local Paint Store
When you first set out looking for paint you’ll find that the largest and loudest retailer is going to be the big box home improvement stores, we’re talking about retailers such as Home Depot, Canadian Tire, Roma, Walmart, and more. These are huge stores that offer a great variety of products for people to buy, they typically have a dedicated paint and decorating section in their store which is staffed by a couple of “experts”. These stores are directly contrasted by your local neighbourhood paint store that carry only quality paint, painting supplies, and sometimes wallpaper but are always staffed by truly knowledgeable staff. So, should you visit the big box store or your local paint store?
Staff Knowledge Of Painting
One of the biggest problems you’ll encounter in these stores is the varied knowledge and/or lackluster effort the staff put in. In most cases the staff know very little and/or are being paid very little, and since they are working for a huge faceless company, they typically do not have much personal stake in the success of their customer service efforts.
Just by walking through these stores I’ve heard some pretty bad advice such as:
- Paint and primer is just as good as primer
- Inexpensive paint is just as good as expensive paint
- Typically difficult colours (such as red, purple, yellow) can be painted with only a couple of coats
- Expensive painting tools aren’t worth the money
And the list goes on. The advice that these workers in these stores hand out can be fairly questionable. Now, there are probably some great people with a wealth of knowledge working in these stores, that probably true in some cases but from my experience I have yet to encounter them.
If you’re looking for someone to answer your questions and to give you advice on how to most effectively complete your project, I suggest you visit a local paint store. If on the other hand, you know a thing or two about painting and/or feel confident in doing a lot of online research to discover the best way to tackle your painting project, you might want to consider a big box store but don’t expect any support if things don’t plan out how you imagined. One time I had to return a can of paint that was not tinted correctly, rather than simply replacing the can as they had done once before in a local paint store, the big box store had to call out the manager and I had to explain myself 3-4 times before I was given store credit. Not exactly how I wanted to spend my afternoon.
Quality Of Painting Supplies and Tools
If you visit a big box store and take a look at their product selection you’ll see quite a range of painting supplies and tools all designed to make your project easier to complete. When we talk about painting tools and supplies we’re talking about:
- Paint rollers & trays
- Paint brushes
- Extension poles
- Sanding tools & sanding paper
- Drop clothes
- Painters tape
Usually these painting tools are gimmicky and ineffective, for instance wall trimming tools that help you to paint in the edge of the room can be one of the most frustrating items to use if you are not incredibly careful and treat the tool with the utmost of care. It seems a bit counter productive because the level of care needed to use these trimming tools effectively can simply be put into using a brush which gives you similar results in a similar amount of time. There are some painting tools and supplies you can find at the big box store which might end up being cheaper than at the smaller paint retailers but there is also going to be a lot of tools that will waste your time.
When you visit a small paint retailer what you’ll find is that they have tools based on the needs of painting professionals, as often paint contractors visit and work closely with these paint stores (which is usually because they provide much better support). So when you look at the tools in these stores you’ll find a lot of items that might cost more, but are far sturdier and are actually effective in performing their intended task.
If you know your way around the trade of painting, and have an understanding of which tools are good and which are bad you can sometimes find better deals at big box stores. However, if you need a hand in deciding what tools to purchase for your specific job and/or are looking for more support after you’ve bought your supplies make sure you visit your neighbourhood paint store. You won’t be disappointed.