Painting the Bathroom

Trying to eek out one more room to paint this week, I selected the upstairs bathroom which is small and shouldn’t take too much time.

I went to Home Depot to get my paint. I’ve been going to Hirschfield’s in Woodbury since the paint and colors I’ve been selecting have been by Benjamin Moore Paint. Since this bathroom will be remodeled in the next year or so, I decided I didn’t need to use high quality paint. Any paint would do. I was surprised to see a paint that was only $12 a gallon in latex and $15 in semi-gloss. I selected the semi-gloss since this would be for a bathroom and the salesperson told me it did not come in eggshell.

The paint, American Standard, says it’s the finest. I immediately thought “Where have you been all my life — cheap and the finest?” Who can ask for anything else?

America's Finest Paint

When I got home and opened the paint can, small bubbles appeared on top. Oh no! I sensed problems were brewing. I’ve never opened a paint can and had these small bubbles before. But, since I had just arrived from the store and they had stirred the paint there, I decided it must be okay and there was no need to stir again.

Up on my ladder, I started painting the corner edges next to the ceiling with a small brush. The paint spread like water. Literally — the paint was so thin  that you could see through it. “Well,” I mused , “you are putting a lighter color over a darker one.” But again my gut told me something was wrong. I continued edging the entire room. “This room is going to take 3 coats of paint,” I said to myself out loud.

The instructions on the paint can do say to sand your walls lightly but that’s really only applicable if you’re painting over semi-gloss.  All of the other paints I have used have never required or needed it. However, in fairness to the paint (a weird thought I know), I sanded a portion of the walls to see if it would make a difference when I used the paint roller.

Pouring the paint into the tray, I sensed another “oh no” moment. This paint is too thin I said to myself. Still, I put my roller in the tray and rolled the paint on the wall. I painted the whole wall — including the part that was sanded. The paint was too thin.

Painted Wall with America's Finest Paint

I don’t know why I kept second guessing myself. “Maybe,” I told myself “it’s because I haven’t used semi-gloss in a long time so I’m not used to it.” Finishing the room, I left for the day and allowed it to dry. But so little paint was used because it was so watery.

America's Finest Semi-Gloss Paint

Peeking in the room throughout the day, I still had a bad feeling about the paint.

The next morning, the paint was dry on the wall so I started to apply a second coat of paint to the corners. Still water-like, it was no better than the first coat, i.e. you could see through the paint.

I had visions of having to paint the room 5 times with this paint. No — I had to take this paint back. It didn’t matter that the label said “No Returns – Custom Color.” Off to Home Depot I went.

Arriving at the customer service return desk, I explained the problem to the woman at the counter. She simply said “It’s a cheap paint.” To which I replied “Why would Home Depot sell a cheap paint? Why sell something that doesn’t work?” She again responded “It’s a cheap paint.” I told the woman I was returning it. She pointed to the “No Returns” label on the paint can. I told her I didn’t care if they didn’t refund my money but that I was not going to get stuck throwing away their junk. She asked if I wanted a manager and I said I didn’t need one as I wasn’t requesting a refund. However, I again told her that I was shocked that Home Depot would carry such a substandard product. Her response? Lots of people buy it.

She then went on to say “You need to use primer before using this paint — even if the walls are white.” I was aghast. I explained that if you use 2 coats of paint you really don’t need to use primer in most cases.

I left the paint can on the counter, bought a paint tray and left. Heading over to Hirschfield’s Paint Store, I gave them my color swatch and they gave me a gallon of good quality paint. I asked the lady (although I knew the answer) “Do I have to sand the walls as I recently painted the room with semi-gloss?” She said no. My gut was right. Having painted off and on for over 15 years, I knew what needed to be done.

Lesson learned? You get what you pay for. Cheap is cheap so bring your expectations way down. But it’s better to get quality from the start. It will save a lot of time and energy.

The new paint looks beautiful on the walls.

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