Whether you are a DIY or a painting contractor it great information to know what SW paint covers the best.  70- 85% of the cost for a painting contractor is in their labor costs.  If a painting contractor is using paint that covers well it can reduce the number of coats and therefore the cost of the job. 

To be fair, many painting contractors including myself did not really know which paints covered the best.  We had our guesses, and our go-to paints, but did we really go as far as to have a blind study on various background colors?  I’ll answer the easy ones for you.  No. 

I have to admit I’ve always believed that the more expensive the paint the better it would probably cover.  My experience told me that Duration covered better than SuperPaint and ProMar 200.  And this proved to be true.

However, there were two SW brands that are less expensive than Duration and cover substantially better! 


            A Blind Study To Evaluate What SW Paint Covers The Best


The judges were not blind, but they didn’t know which interior paint brand they were observing.   There were seven brushed areas with an equal amount of paint used and applied.    Even the applicator of the paint, me, didn’t know which paint I was applying.  

Each judge viewed alone so there wouldn’t be any groupthink decisions.

Two of the judges worked for Sherwin Williams, a third was a sniper for the secret service, and the fourth was my 15-year old nephew, who took the task very seriously.

What SW Paint covers the best can be determined by the sample board with 7 different SW paints applied over different backgrounds.
What SW Paint covers the best can be determined by this sample board which shows Emerald Semi-gloss the clear winner

Multiple Tests To Determine What SW Paint Covers The Best

I tested the seven Sherwin Williams White Semi-gloss paints in several ways.  First, I applied the paint on three different walls.  The base coats on the walls were three different sheens and colors.

Wall #1 dark blue flat sheen

Wall #2 gray primer wall with a matte finish

Walls #3 mid tone tan color with an eggshell sheen

Note:  I understand that it is incredibly difficult to determine from the photographs which paint cover the better than another. 

                          The Seven Sherwin Williams Semi-Gloss White Paints

First, let’s discuss the seven Sherwin Williams paints I tested.  In order from least expensive to most.  The prices given are what a contractor would pay and the actual retail price.

Promar 200 $35

SuperPaint $38.00

Cashmere $40.00

ProClassic $45.00

Duration $52.00

Emerald Semi-Gloss $65.00

Emerald Urethane $70.00

Test #1:  Covering A Mid-Tone Color With White Semi-Gloss

Of the 3 challenges, this was the easiest one to judge.  It was easiest for me to see the differences of each paint after the first coat dried.

 For example, after the first coat, Cashmere Medium Luster brush strokes disappeared.  It self-leveled as a cabinet-grade paint does.   While other paints like ProMar 200 and Emerald both had distinct brush strokes.

Again, Duration did not do well on the first pass, but it scored Second Best on the second coat. 

What SW paint covers the best? IN this example it was Emerald
ProClassic has a very consistent coverage.
ProMar 200 does not cover as well as it superior priced paints

Test #3: Dark Blue Flat Wall & 3 Coats of White Semi-Gloss

This dark blue example took three coats of paint from each SW interior white.  All other walls received 2 coats. 

Sherwin Williams White Semi-gloss

Paint Coverage Best to Worst

Judges Score 1-7 (fewer points = better score)

Total Score


2nd place


11 points


1st place


4 points

ProMar 200

7th Place


26 points


4th place


18 points


3rd Place


15 points

Emerald Semi-

6th Place


17 points

Emerald Urethane

7th place


22 points

What SW semi-gloss paint covers the best over a dark blue wall?

All judges came to the same independent conclusion, that Cashmere had the best coverage, and Duration should get an honorable mention.

Furthermore, all judges concluded that the worst covering SW semi-gloss paint was Emerald Urethane and ProMar 200.

2021-04-15 14_36_11-Photos
SuperPaint conssistantly covered in the middle of the pack
2021-04-15 14_36_35-IMG_3512.JPG ‎- Photos
ProClassic consistently performed in the top third.
Cashmere paint sample to see what sw paint covers the best.
Cashmere finished 1st with blue background.

                                        Test #4: Gray Primer Wall

Sherwin Williams White Semi-gloss

Paint Coverage Best to Worst



Tied for 3rd



First Place


ProMar 200

5th Place



Tied for 3rd



2nd Place


Emerald Semi-

Tied for 3rd


Emerald Urethane

4th place


Emerald Urethane did not cover well on this sample board

                                           What SW Paint Covers The Best?

“You get what you pay for” does not apply to coverage from SW Interior semi-gloss paint.  With two exceptions out of 12 possibilities, Duration and both Emeralds finished outside of first or second place.  

However, the least expensive paint we tested, ProMar 200, failed to get out of the bottom dwellers, except it did cover over a slight off-white semi-gloss in two coats. 

If you are changing from a dark to light color, all seven paints required 3 coats.    None of the Sherwin Williams semi-gloss white paints came close to covering the dark blue wall in two coats.

However, when the colors and sheen are similar, all SW paints covered in one coat except Duration.  Again, If you are trying to get away with one coat,  the Sherwin Williams medium luster gave you the best opportunity.

Klappenberger & Son has dived deep to explore the pros and cons of several Sherwin Williams products such as: