When it comes to choosing paint, you might think you only have to decide whether to slather your bedroom walls in Ocean Blue or Lakeside Cobalt. But it turns out, choosing a color isn’t the only factor to consider. Yup, there’s a lot more going on in that bucket of satiny liquid than most of us ever knew.
Get ready for a brave new world of high-tech home decor: Guided by market research and customer feedback, paint manufacturers are harnessing the power of new technology to create innovative products that look good and perform under pressure.
We’ve sussed out the coolest of these smart paints—from bacteria-stomping formulas to heat-reducing compounds—to help you upgrade your home while solving some of your most common household problems. Mind = blown.
1. A paint that promises to kill germs
If you can get over the sticker shock of $87.99 a gallon, this microbicidal paint from Sherwin-Williams may just help you stay well this winter.
Sherwin-Williams Paint Shield claims to be the first paint to kill 99.9% of bacteria—including staph, MRSA, and E. coli—within two hours of exposure to a painted surface. That makes it an ideal choice for kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.
The company maintains that the paint continues to kill 90% of bacteria for up to four years, as long as the surface stays intact.
“We launched Paint Shield in 2015 because we realized the importance of developing a coating that would actively help to reduce some of the most dangerous bacteria in health care settings on painted surfaces,” says Steve Revnew, the company’s senior vice president of product development.
But it wasn’t easy to come by: The secret is in the product’s active ingredient, quaternary ammonium compound—aka “quat”—which manufacturers initially struggled to add without changing the paint composition. Eventually, they nailed it, Revnew says—a victory for health-conscious homeowners everywhere.
2. A paint that promises to kill mold
Where do we sign up? Rust-Oleum’s water-based Zinsser Mold Killing Primer is a fungicidal protective coating which can be used to paint over all existing mold, mildew, moss, fungi, and odor-causing bacteria. What’s more, it contains an EPA-registered antimicrobial to prevent the growth of new fungi, says brand manager Melanie Delcore.
Similarly, the company’s Zinsser Odor Killing Primer promises to keep your nose happy—and you can use it on subfloors, cabinets, and walls.
“No one wants to smell the last tenants’ pet odors, nicotine smoke, or smoke from previous fire damage,” Delcore says. “We developed a clear coating that seals and kills those nasty odors for good.”
3. A paint that promises better air quality
Sherwin-Williams’ zero-VOC, washable Harmony Interior Acrylic Latex Paint claims to promote better indoor air quality and cut back on common indoor odors. When it dries, company reps say, the paint actually reduces airborne concentrations of formaldehyde and other aldehydes—volatile organic compounds which come from things such as insulation, carpet, cabinets, and fabrics.
How does it work? The technology works on a molecular level, says Rick Watson, director of product information for Sherwin-Williams.
“When that airborne molecule actually comes in contact with the surface painted with Harmony, the odor-eliminating technology actually will break that compound down and neutralize it so rooms stay fresher longer,” he says.
4. A paint that promises to seal cracks
The Behr Premium Elastomeric Masonry, Stucco and Brick Paint is an exterior paint that’s actually elastic and designed to expand and contract to resist cracking. In fact, the company claims, it can stretch up to 600% to bridge hairline cracks. That makes it ideal for surfaces such as stucco, masonry, concrete, and brick.
Fun fact: This paint can also withstand wind-driven rain at speeds up to 98 mph. Plus, it’s resistant to mildew and dirt. The 100% acrylic latex formula provides a breathable film to release moisture which builds up in walls.
5. A stain that promises to keep you cool
Sherwin-Williams’ SuperDeck line of infrared reflective coatings aims to offer protection from cracking, peeling, mildew, and premature weathering—especially in warm climates.
That’s great and all, but our minds are particularly blown by the SuperDeck IR Reflective Exterior Waterborne Solid Color Stain. This bad boy supposedly has infrared reflective technology that reflects solar rays back in the atmosphere. That means that when your deck heats up to 170 degrees in the sun (yes, you read that right), you won’t burn your toes as you run inside for a margarita refill.
6. A paint that goes on pink, so you don’t miss any spots
Painting the ceiling is a tedious task. At that angle, it’s hard not to miss a spot or color a smidge outside the lines. Enter: Glidden’s EZ Track Ceiling Paint, which goes on pink but dries white to help you get those ceiling margins juuuuust right.
It’s also a paint and primer in one, ideal for DIY jobs. Plus, the company claims, this paint resists drips and minimizes spatter—keeping the color on your ceiling, and off you.
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