Remodelers are not painters, but they tend to do a lot of it over the course of a given year. And when it comes to buying paints and coatings, they do a lot of it. In addition, remodelers and their designers are top influencers, helping clients with color selections. That is why each year major coatings manufacturers such as Sherwin-Williams, Benjamin Moore, PPG and Behr continually roll out new products engineered to offer new solutions for professionals.

This year, Qualified Remodeler conducted interviews with executives for each of the companies listed above, and a range of innovations emerged, straddling a number of categories—from new formulations of exterior and interior everyday coatings to niche solutions that can be problem solvers for remodelers and their homeowner clients alike.

For example, there are new paints to match a design trend toward less-glossy, muted finishes. Designers want flatter finishes to enhance and create richness in bold colors. Secondly, at a time when labor is in short supply, there’s a trend toward paints and coatings that hide better in one coat, as well as those that make multistep projects like staining take less time overall.

Lastly, there are a wide variety of new specialty solution products and services that add up to make the life of a qualified remodeler easier.

Quick-Dry, Block Resistance

One sure way to help a remodeler save time is with fast-drying paints. SnapDry, a product from Sherwin-Williams, is designed for situations where interior and exterior doors are painted and can be safely closed without damage to the new paint layer after only a few hours, says Jeff Winter, vice president of residential marketing with the company.

This year, the company has added a satin finish to its 2-year-old SnapDry line. Creating the product turned out to be quite a challenge for the company’s chemists and product specialists to deliver, Winter notes. But the goal is to extend the new sub-brand into the finishes that match design trends as time goes on, which takes commitment.

PPG Senior Product Manager Jenny Burroughs says her company offers quick-dry solutions for that same problem, which she terms “block resistance.” The company recently introduced its Advantage 900 paint product, which offers “excellent flow and leveling” in gloss and semi-gloss, but also dries quickly for painting doors and cabinets.

Quick drying is not something that is normally associated with staining wood surfaces. Traditionally, it is a multistep process that requires two or more days to complete from start to finish, notes Sherwin-Williams’ Winter. The company’s Minwax brand approached the lengthy process with a, “We can do better than that,” attitude. To that end, Minwax recently unveiled its Performance Series Stain System. According to Winter, the entire process of staining can now be accomplished in one day.

“The stain and re-coat only takes two hours. The sand sealer takes one hour. And the finish step takes about two hours to dry, so you can stain a surface in a single day,” Winter explains.

On-Trend Flat and Chalky Looks

Kilz, a Behr Paint Company brand, stepped into the mainstream paint world recently when it rolled out a series of paints under the brand Magnolia Home by Joanna Gaines. The Kilz brand—which is known for its cornerstone product, a one-coat, multisubstrate priming solution—has thus broadly expanded its offering, signaling that it intends to be a full-line paints and coatings supplier going forward. One of the coatings to come out under the Magnolia Home line is an interior “chalk style” paint, which is a look designers are seeking these days.

Benjamin Moore

Likewise, Mike Mundwiller, field development manager for Benjamin Moore, explains his company recently got into the “flat” color business when, this month, it began offering a “flat sheen” in its  well-regarded Aura family of paints. Aura Interior Flat debuted May 6.

“Flat coatings tend to more easily give you the correct color,” Mundwiller says. “That is why designers like the look so much. It is deeper and richer. Now we are able to give our Aura customers a choice in flat.”

Tom Lee, senior vice president of marketing for Behr, which is exclusively sold through Home Depot locations, says the company’s relatively new line of Behr Chalk Decorative Paint is a cousin to the bolder, flat look that designers are seeking. “Chalk offers a worn or distressed look.”

Behr offers its Chalk Decorative Paint line in custom colors and is available in an aerosol for use on stairway spindles and other vertical applications, Lee explains.

Importantly, Behr’s Chalk product can be paired with a complementary topcoat wax product, which is now also offered by Behr, he notes. “It adds a layer of protection” and is a design accent. The product is called Chalk Decorative Paint Wax.

High-Performing Exterior Paints

The all-important exterior repaint market is the focus of seemingly endless innovation across many manufacturers. This year saw the release of a reformulated and upgraded PPG Permanizer brand of exterior paints, Burroughs says.


“This is our super premium exterior paint and is excellent for residential repaint. It has a high-film build. It has a strong ultraviolet (UV) sun-resistance package. It does a better job of resisting the dark streaks from tannins and acids that are sometimes present in cedar and redwood,” she says. And according to Burroughs, the new Permanizer line is now available in flat, satin and semi-gloss finishes.

Similarly, Benjamin Moore touts  its upgraded, long-standing exterior staple, Aura Exterior, Mundwiller notes. The brand is backed by the company’s own proprietary coloring system, Gennex, which is designed to ensure chemical compatibility with the company’s own evolving paint formulations.

“It offers great hide. The coloring system provides good fade resistance, and it tests well against dirt pickup,” Mundwiller says. “It also offers good dry times, good flow and leveling.”

Behr’s sister company, Kilz, specifically its new Magnolia Home line, recently added an exterior product to the mix: Magnolia Home by Joanna Gaines Exterior Paint. Kilz spokesperson Andy Lopez says the product was rolled out in March and “combines both paint and primer properties, exceptional stain-blocking performance, and a beautiful, protective finish.”

The product is sold through Ace Hardware stores and at It is available in flat, satin and semi-gloss sheens.

Specialty Paints and Coatings

Remodelers are inherently problem solvers. Increasingly, paint companies are seeing their role that way as well.

Tougher paints designed for high-traffic commercial spaces are making their way into homes with kids. They are problem solvers for pros on the job. To that end, Benjamin Moore touts the benefits of its Ultra Spec SCUFF-X brand of paints designed for hospitality situations. The paint is designed to be scuff-resistant along baseboards and other areas susceptible to bumps and kicks, says Benjamin Moore’s Mundwiller.

Now available in eggshell, the solution is great for high-traffic mud room areas for families. SCUFF-X is a cousin to the company’s long-standing line of tough-finish products, INSL-X, which offers interior floor, masonry, pool paints and a range of primers from those that bond well to various substrates, to those that do well outdoors and those that block stains.

Two more specialty coatings fall into this durable-design category. Sherwin-Williams now offers Emerald Urethane Enamel paint, which dries hard and is scratch resistant, Winter notes. It is water-based, quick drying and designed to be used for cabinet refinishing and trim. The top color offered is a “high hiding white” which is labor saving, because it saves the need for an extra coat. As Winter says, “We want to get you off the job faster.”

In the same vein, PPG reintroduces the benefits of its stalwart Pitt-Glaze WB1, which is a water-based epoxy/paint that is, according to Burroughs, “designed for high-traffic areas like hallways and garages or anywhere.”

Not to be confused with metal substrate adhesion but rather to achieve a metallic looking finish, PPG recently introduced a line of PPG Metallic Tones. They are silver and gold products that can be tinted. The introduction of the product meets a growing design demand, the company says.

Lastly in the specialty category, for masonry and concrete paint solutions, the LOXON line from Sherwin-Williams has earned a good reputation over the years. This year, the line offers a solution that is self-cleaning, the company says. LOXON Self-Cleaning Acrylic Coating is formulated to be self-cleaning because it tends to shed dirt when it rains.

“It has hydrophobic characteristics so when it rains, the water and dirt beads off,” Sherwin-William’s Winter says. “Painting brick is really on trend, so now your building is going to look better longer. The logic is that [if] this going to take me the same amount of time, why not bring some additional value.”

Prep and Color Selection Aids

Color selection aids and paint prep is another area of innovation for paint manufacturers.

Designed for two types of paint situations, Behr has introduced disposable wipes. There is one for removing dirt and dust on existing paint. And the second is designed to take the place of the scuffing step of paint preparation, says Behr’s Lee.

“They are called Behr SWIPES,”  he explains. “The first one allows a homeowner or pro to clean a painted surface without damaging the paint. It doesn’t discolor or harm the paint.” The second one will be announced later this year.

Color selection continues to be an area of overwhelm for homeowners, contractors and even designers. Stay tuned on news from at least one manufacturer later in 2019.

In the same vein, Sherwin-Williams is experiencing tremendous ongoing success with its pocket-sized ColorSnap device, which can be put up against a wall or swatch and instantly suggest matches with one of the company’s color formulations. The device can be ordered online for $69; it is discounted to $50 for pros who are closely working with Sherwin-Williams.

From a business management standpoint, many paint and coatings suppliers now offer apps that help contractors keep track of the specific paints they have purchased, which is a handy reference when it’s time to re-paint. These apps, like Sherwin-Williams “MySW,” also are useful for tracking expenses and job costs. QR

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