Sherwin Williams Paint Grades Explained – Types of Interior Paint!

Author: Pat Freling | Updated: | Affiliate links may be present.

A paint grade, put simply, is its quality. Various paint manufacturers will put out different types of the same paint, some with a higher quality than others. They will also vary by their finish.

When it comes to Sherwin Williams, they have 4 basic paint types (or grades). Duration, Emerald, SuperPaint, and Cashmere. Which one you choose will be determined by your project and your budget.

Paint Grades Explained

When presented with a selection of paints, it can be very overwhelming for the average user to determine which one will work best for them and what the actual differences are.

The paint grade will be determined by its quality, and the price is usually directly tied to the grade. Entry-level paints will be a more cost-effective option, whereas super-premium paints will run you a bit more.

A super-premium paint, although more expensive, will have higher durability. Think of it as buying a pair of shoes. $10 shoes will do the trick, but $100 shoes will most likely last longer and maintain their integrity better.

Sherwin Williams Paint Grade Options

Let’s discuss all the options you have when you are selecting an interior paint from Sherwin Williams, starting with their super-premium grade and working our way down.


The Emerald line from Sherwin-Williams is touted as their best and most durable choice for interior paint. It’s also the most expensive, starting at around $80 per gallon, depending on the finish.

There are a plethora of benefits to using the Emerald line. It is antimicrobial, it prevents water streaking and staining, and resists penetration from outside stains. Once dry, it has a harder “shell” than the other paints on the list ensuring that even dust can’t mess up the paint surface.

The integrity of the paint will last for about 10-12 years.


Before Emerald was introduced, the best option from Sherwin Williams was their Duration line. It is slightly less expensive than Emerald, coming in at just under $75 per gallon, and is still a great alternative.

The Duration line is great if you have high-traffic areas or children. This paint is the easiest to clean of all the other varieties and still boasts the same antimicrobial and stain-resisting benefits as the Emerald line.

Instead of drying with a hard film, it dries with a more soft and flexible coating. This is beneficial in areas where temperature fluctuations occur – like kitchens and bathrooms.

Duration paints are said to last between 7-10 years.


Considered the best “beginner-friendly” option, the Cashmere line of paints is easy to apply and clean up without a problem. It is also considerably less expensive than other options at around $65 a gallon.

Cashmere dries to a harder finish (though not as hard as Emerald), which aids in its washability and is also said to feel very smooth and pleasant to the touch. You should get about 5-7 years of a problem-free finish from this option.


Similar to the Cashmere line, SuperPaint is also about $65 per gallon and offers an equal amount of durability. It’s kind of the “tried and true” option in the paint world.

It dries the quickest of all the options as well and has a flat finish. Also, because it’s heavier, it has a wonderful “hide” so you can cover dark colors with lighter paint. You can get 5-7 years of great coverage with this line.

Cashmere vs Superpaint: Which is Better?

There’s much debate and confusion over these two paint grades because many customers see them as one and the same. The price point is similar and so are the benefits. But they both have their individual pros and cons

Pick Your Benefit

Though both paints are washable, cashmere is considered easier to clean than SuperPaint. On the other hand, SuperPaint offers mold & mildew protection at a far better rate than Cashmere does.

Once dried, Cashmere is said to have a “buttery smooth” feel to it, whereas Superpaint will feel slightly rougher. The downside to that is consumers have expressed concern over the Cashmere paint losing its unique texture after multiple washes.

One last benefit to decide on is what type of paint you are trying to paint over. If you are painting on fresh white walls, this will be a non-issue. But if you have a darker color you are trying to hide, SuperPaint will do a far better job at it than Cashmere.

Finish Options

The Cashmere line has 4 available finishes – Flat, Luster, Pearl, and Eggshell. SuperPaint has only 3 options – Flat, Satin, and Semigloss.

The desired finish and area painted may determine which of these paint grades you are able to use as some high-moisture and high-heat areas need a specific finish in order to last.

Color Options

What Superpaint lacks in finish options it makes up for in color options. Though both have approximately 1700 different colors to choose from, SuperPaint is also included in the Sherwin Williams Living Well collection, offering an additional 550 options for color.

Research & Decide

The whole “Cashmere v SuperPaint” question is hotly debated between professionals and laymen alike. Take some time to peruse online forums where people have asked this question and see the anecdotal evidence they provide.

Because every person has a different skill level and a different need when it comes to their interior paint type, you may need to read the experiences of those who have used both. Only then you can make an informed decision.

There are some people who claim they can tell almost no difference between the two after having used them both!

Final Thoughts

Before deciding which paint grade you need, evaluate your project and what you are hoping to achieve from your paint. Do you want a beautiful, long-lasting shine? Or something that is rather easy to clean and easy to apply?

All of these are important decisions, and if you call or visit your local paint professionals and Sherwin Williams store, they’ll be able to help you narrow down your options so you can choose the best grade and get the most for your money.

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About Pat Freling

Pat has been into DIY painting since he was 14 years old. He's painted interior walls, decks, patio, and even the first car that he'd purchased at 18.

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