The most popular HARD to get white paint colour
When it comes to my Online Paint Colour Consulting, I have a few favourite paint colours that I refer to time and time again. Why? Because they work. However, there’s one particular white that’s a bone of contention between myself and the average paint store employee, and that colour is Sherwin Williams High Reflective White.
High Reflective White is one of the most WHITE white paint colours on the market, which is why I refer to it so often. Without the warm nod of Alabaster or cool wink of Extra White, High Reflective White keeps things simple.
So why is it so FREAKIN’ HARD TO GET?
The truth is, High Reflective White is a BASE, not a usable colour. This means that it’s a colour that’s used to make OTHER colours but doesn’t have enough meat on its bones to be a colour unto itself. And what this REALLY means is that High Reflective White isn’t meant to be an actual colour for your walls, trims, cabinets or exterior. Instead, it’s meant to be the BASE or FOUNDATION for another white you might choose.
What will happen if you use the High Reflective White BASE on your walls?
High Reflective White doesn’t have enough tint or colourant in it to offer any HIDE. ‘Hide’ refers to how well a colour covers another colour. So, if you take a can of High Reflective White fresh off the shelf and slap it on your walls, you’ll be five coats deep and two bottles in before you realize it just isn’t covering, which inevitably leads to more coats…and more bottles.
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 MAKE SHERWIN WILLIAMS HIGH REFLECTIVE WHITE (as told to me by Sherwin William’s employees)
1. Grab a gallon of High Reflective White (the base)
2. Top up the gallon with white tint, you know, the stuff that squirts out of the machine
VOILA – HIGH REFLECTIVE WHITE!
And, of course, it will be the trained paint technician doing this, not you.
Now you have your SIMPLE white base, topped up with more white colourant, giving you a usable version of High Reflective White. The additional colourant gives your paint more HIDE and body, helping it cover your old colour better.
This next bit of advice comes from another trained Sherwin Williams employee…
BUY A HIGHER QUALITY PAINT. When it comes to paint, you really DO get what you pay for. And as it relates to whites, higher quality paint is going to 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 hide and coverage???
And please note, this lack of hide isn’t unique to High Reflective White, it’s a common thread with many of the popular white paint colours. 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).
Remember, this issue is not unique to High Reflective White, in fact, MANY of the popular white paint colours don’t cover very well.
So, if your paint store has the High Reflective White base in stock (and is willing to make it), use the above advice to get better coverage and hide.
ANOTHER WAY TO MAKE SHERWIN WILLIAMS HIGH REFLECTIVE WHITE (again, as told to me by a Sherwin Williams employee)
If all else fails…
1. Ask the paint store tech to make Sherwin Williams Extra White (BTW, Extra White is ALSO a ‘base’ paint used to make other colours)
2. Ask them to top up the gallon with white tint, again, improving the coverage AND brightening it a stitch
Why ‘if all else fails‘? Well, PERSONALLY, adding white to a gallon of High Reflective White base makes sense, even though many paint store employees don’t like doing it (which is fair enough when they’ve run out of this base, which seems to be common). HOWEVER, this second option isn’t my fave and here’s why…
High Reflective White has an LRV of 93, making it pretty darn white. Extra White comes in at 86, making it a SOFT white. It would take an AWFUL LOT of white tint to increase its LRV by seven points. And while adding white tint/colourant will certainly brighten it, you could still be left with a ‘slightly less than white’ kinda white.
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. And until they discontinue it as a colour option and replace it with something equally as bright (high LRV), I’m going to USE IT and ABUSE it because it’s a darn pretty and hugely versatile white paint colour.
WHICH PAINT COLOURS ARE SIMILAR TO HIGH REFLECTIVE WHITE?
If you’re having a hard time 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 than High Reflective White (read about it HERE)