When buying primers and paints, you can always find bargain brands costing one-half to one-third the price of the so-called "premium" products. And for many jobs, the bargain brands will work just fine.
But often, the premium products will give you more and better pigments and resins which produce better looking and longer lasting finishes.
With more pigments, they would also cover more thoroughly and require only one finish coat while a bargain brand might require 2 coats and wipe out the savings in price.
TIP: Have your paint supplier tint the white primer to match your finish paint. That way the color in the first coat doesn't get washed out by the white primer underneath, and it often eliminates the need for a second coat of finish paint.
Painting Without VOC's
Concerns about air pollution and hazardous household wastes have virtually eliminated the use of true "oil-based" paints which released high amounts of VOC's (volatile organic compounds).
Alkyd-based paints and latex paints are much safer, but alkyds and, to a lesser degree, latex paints do release some VOC's into the air, and even those reduced amounts bother a lot of people.
But there are now paints being formulated in both flat and eggshell finishes with no VOC's, and they produce virtually no odors when applied. So those are a definite option for people bothered by paint vapors.
With both latex and alkyd-based paints, first squeeze excess paint from the brushes and roller covers back into the containers. There are inexpensive tools curved on one edge to scrape paint off roller covers.
With latex paints, let the brushes and roller covers soak in a pail of warm sudsy water, rinse them off and spin them with a spinner tool (which is designed for both brushes and roller covers) to spin off moisture. Repeat those steps as needed to finish the cleaning.
Use the combed side of a cleaner tool to loosen stubborn paint and then soak and spin the brush clean. Smooth out the bristles with the comb or a rag and allow it to dry thoroughly.
With alkyd-based paints, pour an inch or two of thinner or mineral spirits into a small metal can and swirl the brush in that to loosen the paint. Squeeze the excess off the brush and spin it dry inside a paper bag, a cardboard box or a 5-gallon plastic pail to keep from spraying thinner all over. Repeat as needed until it's clean.
The solvent may not dissolve paint that's already dried on the brush, but you can usually scrape that off with a metal-bristle brush or a metal comb. Once the brush is clean, smooth out the bristles and allow it to dry thoroughly.
TIP: When you're applying more than one coat of the same paint, you don't have to clean brushes or roller covers between coats. Just wrap them in plastic to keep them moist till you're ready to paint again.
Never pour excess paint down the drain--even latex paints.
The safest way to dispose of paints (alkyd-based and latex) is to leave them in their cans, set them outside with the lids off, let them dry completely and then bring the cans with the labels intact for proper identification to an approved disposal site in your community. If you don't know of such a site, call your city or county offices to find out the approved paint disposal process.
For small amounts of paints, you can also take the paint outside and pour it onto old newspapers, being careful not to let any get on the ground. Let the paint dry and then dispose of the newspaper in an approved manner.