Paints that cover in one coat and last for years

A fresh coat of paint is the quickest way to transform a room. If you’re selling your home, you need an inexpensive paint that freshens up a room in one coat. Buyers, and homeowners sprucing up for the longer haul, need paint that can also withstand stains, scrubbing, mildew, and the test of time. Here are some paint picks for each situation from the experts at Consumer Reports.

Cheap but effective

You’ll save by buying 5-gallon containers. Use flat paint on badly damaged surfaces because it’s best at hiding imperfections, and its no-sheen finish serves as a blank canvas for buyers. We like Valspar Ultra, $29, sold at Lowe’s; Behr Premium Plus Enamel, $28, sold at Home Depot; Ace Royal Interiors, $27, and Glidden High Endurance Plus, $24, sold at Walmart. All but Ace Royal Interiors are self-priming and impressive at hiding old paint in one coat. Behr Premium Plus Enamel left the smoothest finish; Glidden High Endurance Plus, the roughest.

Best for long-term value

Use satin or eggshell finish for most walls and trim because they’re best at fighting stains and withstanding scrubbing. Flat paints are the least stain resistant, so they aren’t great for kitchens, hallways, or kids’ bedrooms. Behr Premium Plus Ultra, $34, sold at Home Depot; Clark+Kensington Enamel, $32, sold at Ace; and Valspar Signature, $34, from Lowe’s are all self-priming and better than most at resisting mildew, sticking, and fading, making them ideal for sunny rooms. Behr Premium Plus Ultra was the best at hiding old paint and maintained its sheen after cleaning. And Behr Premium Plus Ultra and Clark+Kensington Enamel left smoother finishes than Valspar Signature.

—Kimberly Janeway

More on buying or selling a home

Top 5 ways to boost the value of your home

4 red flags that can ruin a home sale

The best ways to finance home repairs

Real estate agents confess their dirty little secrets

Home-sale mistakes that cost you money

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