The most popular HARD to get white paint color
When it comes to my Online Paint Color Consulting, I have a few favorite paint colors that I refer to time and time again. Why? Because they work. However, there’s one particular white that’s not always the easiest to get, and that color is Sherwin Williams High Reflctive White.
High Reflective White is one of the WHITEST white paint colors on the market, which is why I refer to it so often. Without the warm nod of Alabaster or softness of Pure White, High Reflective White keeps things simple.
So why is it so FREAKIN’ HARD TO GET?
A lot of paint store employees claim that it doesn’t cover well. Fair enough, it really DOESN’T cover well at all (it’s meant to be more of a base than a ‘color’). But the ‘terrible coverage’ point could be made for MANY white paint colors – they don’t have the same hide (ability to cover old colors and look solid), at least not compared to colors with a bit more meat on their bones (lower LRVs).
So with this being said, I KNOW that High Reflective White is a great option, and have the clients and personal experience to prove it. I’m just not sure why so many of my clients have a hard time getting it, saying that their paint store won’t make it for them/doesn’t carry it.
Sooooo, why is it listed in the fan deck? Why is it offered as an option if it isn’t really an option?
Because it CAN be made, oh yes, it can be made.
HOW TO GET SHERWIN WILLIAMS HIGH REFLECTIVE WHITE MADE
Thanks to the arrival of Sherwin Williams Emerald, you can NOW GET High Reflective White – and a version that covers reasonably well! However, in the Emerald line, it’s called Ultra White.
YES, High Reflective White & Ultra White are the same paint color!
The challenge with NOT getting it in Emerald (with the goal of not spending that much money on a gallon of paint) is that you won’t get High Reflective White.
If you go to the paint store and ask for High Reflective White, they’ll either say ‘no,’ as it’s a base and doesn’t cover well (being a base, it’s used to MAKE other colors – it’s the foundation). Or they’ll say, ‘SURE’ and give you a gallon of ‘doctored-up’ Extra White…which isn’t High Reflective White.
High Reflective White has an LRV of 93, making it pretty darn WHITE white. Extra White comes in at 86, making it a SOFT white. It seems it would take an AWFUL LOT of white tint to increase Extra White’s LRV by seven points. Will it brighten it and cut back the undertone found in Extra White? Sure, but will it have that gloriously high LRV? I doubt it.
Sherwin Williams Extra White
This being said, if you’re not super fussy, this could be good enough (insert me twitching here).
In the great world of whites, this shift matters as Extra White is NOT a bright white. Check your gallon of paint. Sure, the sticker might say High Reflective White at the top, but in the bottom right corner, if you see the words ‘Extra White,’ you’ll know it’s not the real thing.
I was also told by paint store employees (many of them) that adding 4 ounces of white tint to a gallon of High Reflective White will improve the coverage. This is a contentious point as many painters and store employees will DISAGREE.
And I have one more great tip for you…
BUY A HIGHER-QUALITY PAINT
When it comes to paint, you DO get what you pay for. And as it relates to whites, higher quality paint will COVER better. Think of it this way, would you rather spend $90 on one gallon of paint that covers your room or $120 (two less expensive gallons @ $60) as you needed to apply four to five coats to get the same hide and coverage found in the pricier line???
And remember, this lack of hide isn’t unique to High Reflective White; it’s a common thread with many popular white paint colors. You often have to bump up in QUALITY and add those shots of white to get half-decent coverage (I also recommend two coats of primer to get a good headstart).
Long story short, when it comes to High Reflective White, it’s a toss-up as to whether the paint store will make it for you. However, in my experience, if it’s the type of white you’re looking for, it’s DEFINITELY worth asking.
WHICH PAINT COLORS ARE SIMILAR TO HIGH REFLECTIVE WHITE?
If you’re having difficulty getting High Reflective White, check out…
- Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace. The difference between Chantilly Lace is that it’s a tiny bit softer than High Reflective White (read about it HERE)
- BEHR Ultra Pure White. The difference between Ultra Pure White is that it’s a tiny bit WHITER and brighter than High Reflective White (read about it HERE)
- Sherwin Williams Extra White. The difference between Extra White is that it’s a touch COOLER/softer than High Reflective White (read about it HERE)
Originally written in 2021, updated completely in 2023