What kind of interior paint for rental properties?

15 Replies

Does anyone have suggestions on the type of paint they recommend for use in rental properties?  Low maintenance and durability are my goals.  Just starting out with my first rehab!  Thanks BP family!

@Jonathan Jaffe I recommend all walls use the same color in the house/unit, something that you can get additional paint to do touch up.  I use eggshell sheen on all my walls (again, all walls same color, same sheen, regardless of room).  I use gloss white on all trim, and flat white ceiling paint on the ceilings.  If you stick with one (1) color/sheen for walls, one (1) color/sheen for trim and one (1) for ceilings, you will only need to remember a few paint color/codes that you purchased to do touch ups.

I personally use Behr paint from HD. Sure there may be better paints out there, but I like its durability and the fact that I can purchase paint 7 days a week and late in the evening if I need to, something important for a landlord with a day job. Plus, I can always go to the HD and give them the paint code and have never had an issue with paint patches not blending in, even on paint many years old.

I have currently have 10 units, and only use 4 different paints (2 wall colors [1 beige and 1 gray depending on the house], 1 trim and 1 ceiling).  

Keep it simple, and dont let your tenants paint, as you will never get the paint to match and will be forced to repaint.

I used to use flat for most areas and satin for bath and kitchen. Semi-gloss for trim of course.  The reason for flat is it's supposedly easier to touch up.  What they don't tell you is, flat needs more touching up. It collects oils and stains like a sponge.  I've since switched to eggshell everywhere. Easier to clean.

As mentioned by @Mike S. , flat paint is a magnet for stains, scuffs, etc.  I used to paint closets flat white ceiling paint when I first started, but gave up due to having to repaint closets after every tenant turnover. Now with eggshell sheen, most of the walls can be be cleaned using a magic eraser.  Areas with nail holes or dents are easy to touch up with the exact same paint brand/color/sheen.

I do everything that @Mike Wood suggests, only difference is I use semi-gloss on my walls.  I find the S/G is a bit easier than eggshell to clean - less elbow grease.

@Mike S.

For touch up, I just take a small paint brush (1/2 inch) and just dab the paint on the wall. Once it dries you can only tell up close it was repainted and sometimes even then you can’t tell. Heard of this trick from a painter. If you try to use a paint brush/roller it will feel in the very small texture on the sheet rock which is what makes it noticeable. Dabbing the paint will not fill in the texture.

Sherman Williams Spacial White... every property I own has it throughout the entire property, It's contemporary, tenants love it, and not a single tenant has repainted my walls since they love it!

Sherwin Williams Promar 200 - they give you really good discount for the volume, 1 gal of flat less than $20.

Walls - satin/eggshell

Trim - semi gloss

Ceiling - flat/matte

Colors - whatever trendy at the moment

Originally posted by @Mike Wood :

@Jonathan Jaffe I recommend all walls use the same color in the house/unit, something that you can get additional paint to do touch up.  I use eggshell sheen on all my walls (again, all walls same color, same sheen, regardless of room).  I use gloss white on all trim, and flat white ceiling paint on the ceilings.  If you stick with one (1) color/sheen for walls, one (1) color/sheen for trim and one (1) for ceilings, you will only need to remember a few paint color/codes that you purchased to do touch ups.

I personally use Behr paint from HD. Sure there may be better paints out there, but I like its durability and the fact that I can purchase paint 7 days a week and late in the evening if I need to, something important for a landlord with a day job. Plus, I can always go to the HD and give them the paint code and have never had an issue with paint patches not blending in, even on paint many years old.

I have currently have 10 units, and only use 4 different paints (2 wall colors [1 beige and 1 gray depending on the house], 1 trim and 1 ceiling).  

Keep it simple, and dont let your tenants paint, as you will never get the paint to match and will be forced to repaint.

@Mike Wood solid advice. Same color in all units every time, and get from a big box so you have access to the paint everywhere, everyday. One thing I've found is that while eggshell is easier to clean, flat on walls does a better job of hiding imperfections. Generally, the shiner you go, the more it reveals imperfections. 

@Rogers Smith While I agree that flat hides better, for me its not worth the scuffs and marks that show up with flat.  Several of my units have frequent turnover (12-18months), so repainting an entire apartment is not desirable after every tenant.  I find that eggshell does a good job of staying clean and is easy to touch up with the exact same paint color and sheen.

@Jonathan Jaffe my favorite color for rentals right now is Simply Grey, by Benjamin moore. It is light enough that it won’t clash with anything and it is dark enough that your white trim will still look beautiful. Grey seems to be the new beige and makes the home look more modern.