Why Is Sherwin-Williams Paint So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)

Sherwin-Williams Paint


When it comes to painting your home, quality matters.

A high-quality paint will ensure the color lasts longer and that you get a more vibrant hue.

That’s why many homeowners choose to use Sherwin-Williams paint.

With prices of Sherwin-Williams paint sometimes rising above $100 a gallon, you may wonder what makes this particular brand of paint so expensive.

Here are 10 reasons why Sherwin-Williams is expensive.


Why Is Sherwin-Williams Paint So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)


1. Housing Boom

construction plans and blueprint


While Sherwin-Williams has always had more expensive prices on their paint products than other brands, their products have more been expensive than usual of late.

That primarily has to do with the increase in demand for their paint products.

CNN stated that Sherwin-Williams recently had to increase prices by 7%.

Part of the increase was due to the high demand for their paint products.

There are a few reasons behind the high demand for Sherwin-Williams paint.

One of the primary reasons is the recent housing boom.

Before 2020, around 6 million homes were sold in the U.S. annually.

After the pandemic, however, housing sales boomed.

It seemed like almost everyone was out buying a home.

In 2020, homebuyers scooped up 6.5 million homes.

In 2021, homeowners sold 6.9 million homes.

There were a few factors leading to the increase in the number of home sales.

The first was stimulus checks.

Those who were able to keep their jobs found themselves with extra cash on hand.

Some chose to use it towards a down payment on a house.

Others found their jobs shifting to fully remote positions, enabling them to make a move away from their office location.

With home sales comes a need to either refresh paint or completely change it.

With more homes selling, more people need paint.

As a result, more people are buying Sherwin-Williams paint.

Since the demand is higher and the supply is low or about the same, it results in higher prices.

Sherwin-Williams paint is expensive because of the recent housing boom.


2. DIY Interest

house painter


Another reason Sherwin-Williams is expensive is because of the increase in DIY projects.

During the pandemic, many people found themselves at home.

With restaurants and places of entertainment closed, people had to find new hobbies to do at home.

It also meant they had more free time to take care of some projects that they had put off.

The Farnsworth Group even did a study on DIYers.

They noticed that the number of people participating in DIY projects increased during COVID-19.

The main reason people started doing DIY projects was that they had more time at home.

This has led to increased prices for Sherwin-Williams paint because it means more homeowners need paint.

Before the pandemic, most paint sales came from contractors who bought paint to use on job sites.

This helped regulate supply and demand since the number of contractors is smaller than the number of homeowners in the country.

Yet, more homeowners taking an interest in DIY projects means they’re also out there buying more paint.

Some DIYers may have found that they’re particularly good at painting projects.

This then leads to more demand for paint since they’re starting new projects after finishing the initial one.

Since more people are trying to do projects themselves, there are more people buying paint.

This is all happening at the same time, too, since the pandemic pushed almost everyone indoors.

It wasn’t a gradual shift.

With high demand and not enough supply to meet it, paint prices have risen.

Sherwin-Williams is expensive because of the increased interest in DIY projects.


3. Raw Material Costs

Five paint cans - yellow, orange, white


Making paint can sometimes be expensive.

Thanks to the pandemic, it became even more expensive to make paint.

To make paint, industrial manufacturers need three main ingredients.

The first is the pigment which usually consists of some sort of solid material.

The material gets ground up in the factory and mixed with the other ingredients to make paint.

Pigments are responsible for giving paint its color, durability, and consistency.

They account for 1/3 of the total mixture.

The second primary ingredient is a solvent.

The EPA carefully regulates solvents to ensure they’re not toxic to humans.

While no one should eat paint, there’s also not much risk to breathing it in over time after it dries.

Solvents primarily help the pigments and the other ingredients dissolve or suspend within the mixture.

They evaporate into the atmosphere with time.

The final ingredient is a mix of resin and additives.

Depending on the brand, different resins and additives are used for their specific products.

Since it takes a good amount of raw materials to make paint, there’s already a pretty large investment in it.

When the pandemic occurred, it shut down many of the factories that either make the paint or produce the raw materials needed to make the paint.

Since demand for paint remained high during the pandemic, it meant that Sherwin-Williams had no way to supply its customers.

Without raw materials, it can’t make more paint.

Once factories reopened, they found high demand for their products.

That led them to increase the price of raw materials needed to make paint.

Since Sherwin-Williams had to pay more to get the materials they needed to make paint, they also raised prices on their products to cover their costs.

Sherwin-Williams is expensive because of the higher cost of raw materials needed to make paint.


4. Increased Labor Wages

salary increase chart


During the pandemic, some businesses chose to let their employees go.

As business slowed down, there wasn’t enough work to assign to their employees.

As a result, they were paying for employees who weren’t doing anything.

Rather than stick through it, these businesses let their employees go.

Sherwin-Williams didn’t do that.

The company faced problems with labor and disease, too.

Its business slowed down initially.

When the factories struggled to get raw materials to make paint, their employees had nothing to do.

Instead of laying off these employees, Sherwin-Williams chose to put them to work doing something else instead.

In fact, a report by the Cleveland Business Journal stated that Sherwin-Williams even hired new employees during the pandemic.

They had them make different types of paint out of the raw materials that they could get their hands on.

This helped them stay afloat since they were still able to sell paint to customers who needed it.

It also allowed them to support their employees so they could continue to pay their bills and feed their families.

This meant that Sherwin-Williams took on more labor costs as a result.

Not only did they raise wages, but since they had taken on more employees, they were also paying more people.

As a result, Sherwin-Williams increased its operational costs.

To cover those new costs, the company raised its prices by 12%.

Sherwin-Williams is expensive because it chose to support its employees during the pandemic rather than fire them.


5. Labor Shortages

Now Hiring


Another factor that’s influencing the price of Sherwin-Williams paint is labor shortages.

Sherwin-Williams experience its own labor shortages during the pandemic.

As employees became ill, they were no longer able to work at the factory.

Unlike the common cold, which some employees choose to just suffer through and work anyway, if an employee got the COVID-19 virus, they had to remain home for two weeks.

This became a problem because COVID-19 can spread quickly.

The company found many of its employees having to stay at home and get better before returning to work.

In the meantime, the company had fewer workers.

Without a full workforce, they were unable to produce as much paint.

Since they were not able to produce as much paint, the supply available on the market was impacted.

As demand increases, it’s easy for the supply to run dry.

To help ease demand for its low supply of paint, Sherwin-Williams increased the price of its products.

The higher prices dissuaded some buyers from buying it which helps make the supply last a bit longer.

It isn’t Sherwin-Williams alone that was suffering from labor shortages, however.

They’re reliant on other companies for raw materials.

They can’t make their paint without these raw materials.

Those companies were experiencing labor shortages, too, as the virus swept through their workforces.

As a result, they couldn’t send as many raw materials to Sherwin-Williams.

With fewer materials, Sherwin-Williams could not produce as much paint as it had been.

This further impacted the supply which then affected the paint’s prices.

Sherwin-Williams is expensive because of the labor shortages affecting both them and their suppliers.


6. Unique Paint Formulas

Reativity concept group of tin metal cans


You may think that one brand’s green is the same as another brand’s green.

It isn’t.

Different paint companies use different paint formulas to make similar shades.

That’s why if you try to get another brand to match a specific brand’s paint, you often end up with a different color.

It may look close initially, but there are always going to be subtle differences.

Brands even have trouble matching their paint colors from season to season.

That’s because there are variations in the materials that they use to make paint which can impact the final shade.

The process of how paint dries also affects the final color.

According to Sherwin-Williams, the primary reason that one brushstroke of paint can look completely different from another brushstroke of paint is wicking.

Wicking is the process of water absorbing into the surface that the paint is on.

For example, it may absorb into the bare drywall beneath the coat of paint or even a top layer of paint if one exists.

All these factors combined mean that it’s difficult for one brand to ever match another brand’s colors.

That also means that when it comes to paint, Sherwin-Williams has unique colors.

Since Sherwin-Williams has its own paint formula, only they know how to make their cans of paint.

It’s a trade secret.

That makes their paint unique to the brand.

Even if you get two shades of the same color, one from Sherwin-Williams and another from a different brand, they’re not going to be the same.

Because they both use different formulas and techniques to make their paint, the results will be different.

This makes Sherwin-Williams expensive because it means you can only get specific colors directly from them.

You can’t get them from any other brand.

It’s always going to be a little bit different.

Since it’s unique, it has a higher price tag on it.

Sherwin-Williams is expensive because of its unique paint formula.


7. Rare Colors

Tin cans with paint, brushes and bright palette


Because Sherwin-Williams is a large paint company, they’re able to produce several different paint colors.

That even includes rare colors.

Sherwin-Williams has a huge palette of different colors.

You’re able to get practically every shade of green imaginable, for example.

The company even has historic collections.

Each collection features shades that were popular in the past.

Their researchers dove deep into certain time periods to determine what colors were popular.

Then they invested in several experiments to recreate those colors.

Today, their customers can now buy colors that were popular in the Victorian Era all the way to the Jazz Age.

You can even find colors at Sherwin-Williams that you can’t find anywhere else.

Those who are looking for unique colors to paint their house with can usually find what they need with the company.

However, this comes at a price.

Their colors are rare and they aren’t produced as often or in large quantities like colors from other competitors.

Since there’s already a low supply of rare colors available, the price for them is higher.

If demand suddenly increases for those specific colors, then the price will rise even higher.

Sherwin-Williams is expensive because it produces rare colors that you can’t get anywhere else.


8. Durability

Cropped image of couple with paint rollers


One of the reasons that many professional painters prefer to use Sherwin-Williams paint is because of its durability.

The company spends a lot of time and money ensuring their paint is perfect.

When the quality is top-notch, it means it’s going to last longer on your walls.

Paint doesn’t necessarily deteriorate like wood or other organic materials.

Instead, it fades with time.

In some cases, it may even chip away.

Areas that get exposed to the sun tend to fade faster.

If you want the paint on your walls to last a long time, then you need durable paint.

Sherwin-Williams’ paint can stand up to UV radiation exposure.

The paint doesn’t lose its form, sheen, or color when children run their hands on the wall.

Dirt won’t adhere to it.

Sherwin-Williams has a reputation for making durable paint.

This makes the paint more expensive because it usually means they use a higher quality of materials to make the paint.

That adds to their operational costs.

It also means, since it lasts longer, that people are going to need to repaint their walls less over time.

Since they don’t need to repaint as often, they don’t have to buy as many cans of paint from Sherwin-Williams.

To ensure that the company can get as much of a profit from the sale as possible, they sell it at a higher price.

Sherwin-Williams paint is expensive because it’s durable.


9. Famously Used On HGTV

Couple watching tv


HGTV is a TV network that features DIY shows, house flipping, and other home-improvement-focused or real estate shows.

Whenever painting occurs on the show, it’s usually Sherwin-Williams paint that is used.

The show will either blatantly state what shade they’re using from Sherwin-Williams, or they’ll have the logo clearly visible in the background.

It’s obvious that Sherwin-Williams has some sort of partnership with HGTV and it has certainly worked in its favor.

Sherwin-Williams has even released its own line called HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams.

It consists of several different color palettes that designers made themselves.

According to a release by Lowe’s, some of those colors are even exclusive to Lowe’s.

Anytime you get an exclusive product, you can expect it to be more expensive.

That’s because that location is the only place you can buy the product.

That impacts how much supply is available which then impacts the price.

HGTV has also made Sherwin-Williams more expensive because it’s brought the company to the attention of those who may not have been familiar with paint brands.

If they ever find themselves needing paint for a project, then the name Sherwin-Williams will come to mind due to their tendency to watch HGTV.

With more demand thanks to its popularity via the TV network, the price of its paint increases.

Sherwin-Williams is expensive due to HGTV making it a more popular paint brand.


10. Size

Top view of tin of green paint and brush


A final reason why Sherwin-Williams is expensive has to do with the size of your order.

A gallon of paint can usually cover 350 to 400 square feet, according to Lowe’s.

While that’s a sizable portion, you’re likely going to need more than a gallon if you intend to paint a large room or an entire house.

The bigger size can of paint that you buy, the more expensive it becomes.

That’s because Sherwin-Williams has to spend more money to make larger cans of paint.

It uses more materials, more labor, and more time.

As a result, the operational costs put into large cans of paint is high.

To cover those costs, Sherwin-Williams sells its large cans of paint at high prices.

Sherwin-Williams paint is expensive when you buy large portions.



If you want high-quality paint that lasts a long time, then Sherwin-Williams is a great brand to choose.

However, you’ll find that its price tends to be more expensive than other brands.

Everything from supply chain problems to its quality are reasons why Sherwin-Williams has expensive paint.

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