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Pricey Paint 2/17/14

Designers showcase paint from the British company Farrow and Ball because of its luscious colors. But Farrow and Ball costs two to three times more than other paints. Consumer Reports included it in its tests of more than 60 paints to see what you get paying top dollar.

On Farrow and Ball's website, these designer photos show off the beautiful colors of its paints. But the Farrow and Ball's paint is pricey — about 100 dollars a gallon! Consumer Reports compared Farrow and Ball to far less expensive paints from Home Depot and other stores.

All face the same tough tests. This checks for stain resistance. Stained swatches go into this scrubbing machine to see how easily — or not so easily — the stains scrub off.  And this test checks to see how well each paint can cover dark stripes. "It is very important to get good coverage from a paint because it'll reduce the number of coats that you'll have to put on to cover the existing color."  The expensive Farrow and Ball paint couldn't cover well with one coat. You can still see the lines. Look how much better this 34-dollar Behr paint from Home Depot did.

And as for Farrow and Ball's beautiful colors, Consumer Reports sent a secret shopper to Home Depot to see how closely it could match a sample of Farrow and Ball with its Behr paint. Back at the labs, testers compared the color of the two paints using a colorimeter. Rico De Paz, "They're very close." The color difference was within one percent. As for the stain-resistance test, the Farrow and Ball paint did do a good job, but so did the 34-dollar Behr paint. In the end, the Satin Enamel Behr Premium Plus Ultra earned top ratings. There's another advantage to Behr Premium Plus Ultra. Unlike Farrow and Ball, it's a primer as well as a paint. So you don't have to cover bare surfaces with a primer first. 

All Consumer Reports Material Copyright ©2014 Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Consumer Reports is published by Consumers Union. Both Consumer Reports and Consumers Union are not-for-profit organizations that accept no advertising. Neither has any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site.

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