Testing for the top paint & best painter's tape


Feel like your home is looking a little drab? It's amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do! A new color can be an inexpensive way to get a whole new look, say the experts at Consumer Reports. They recently evaluated 65 paints and say steer clear of inexpensive paints. None of the top picks were under $20.

But you don't need to spend top dollar either. In fact Benjamin Moore, which can cost as much as $68 a gallon, did well but was not top-rated in Consumer Reports' latest paint tests.

The highest scores went to paints that cost half that. It's a new brand called Clark and Kensington, and the paints are sold at Ace Hardware stores. They go for around $33 a gallon.

It topped the ratings in the satin finish, which is durable and best for most applications, and in the semi-gloss, which is great for trim. It was also among the best in the flat finish, which tends to hide surface imperfections better than others.

The Clark and Kensington paints left a smooth finish that resisted stains and stood up to scouring, even after 1,000 passes with a stiff scrub brush. Plus they are superb at hiding, which means you can easily cover the old paint you're tired of looking at! They're also self-priming, so you can save some time and money by not having to apply a primer coat when you paint over bare wood or wallboard.

If you shop at Home Depot or Lowe's, Consumer Reports says paints available at those stores did really well in tests, too. At Home Depot, several paints by Behr are recommended in all sheens—including Behr Premium Plus Ultra Enamel, which sells for just over $30 a gallon—and the Glidden Premium, for about $25 a gallon.

Prefer Lowe's? Consumer Reports recommends Valspar Signature paints, for around $33 dollars a gallon, in all three finishes.


Painting a room with bold stripes can make for a splashy makeover. But even if you're just painting a room with lots of windows or trim, Consumer Reports says the right painter's tape can deliver results like the pros. A good tape keeps the paint from bleeding underneath it, it's easy to remove, and it doesn't take off paint with it.

Consumer Reports looked at six painter's tapes, costing $3 to $8 a roll. Testers compared them with plain old masking tape, which costs about $2.

After applying the tape strips and pressing them down evenly with a weighted roller, testers paint a coat of blue paint over them—and then leave the paint to dry for varying times before pulling off the tape.

Regular masking tape tore, making it really tedious to remove. But several of the painter's tapes delivered a very sharp line, including 3M's Edge-Lock ScotchBlue Advanced Delicate Surface, 3M's Edge-Lock ScotchBlue Multi-Surface, and FrogTape Multi-Surface.

But those three were a little harder to remove than the clear winner in Consumer Reports tests: the FrogTape Delicate Surface tape. It costs $6 to $8 a roll, leaves a very sharp line, and was the easiest of the six to remove.

When prepping a room to paint, be sure to press the tape down firmly along the edges to prevent the paint from bleeding underneath it. And Consumer Reports says it's best to remove tape as soon after painting as possible, even if the paint is still wet.

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