Sherwin WIlliams Duration vs Emerald Paint

Sherwin WIlliams Duration vs Emerald

Choosing the right type of paint for your home can be a headache, but luckily, our Sherwin Williams Duration vs. Emerald Paint comparison will make your decision much more straightforward.

Sherwin Williams is a Cleveland-based company that has a long history of producing top-quality paint. We will explore the differences between two of their most popular paint brands – Duration and Emerald.

We will compare their different features and performance, look at some alternatives, and determine which one you should use if you are redecorating your home.

Main Differences Between Sherwin Williams Duration vs Emerald

The main differences between Sherwin Williams Duration vs Emerald paint are:

  • Emerald paint can cover areas more efficiently and often in one coat, whereas Duration usually requires additional coats
  • Duration paint is better for bathrooms and areas with regular temperature shifts, whereas Emerald is not
  • Duration can dry quicker than Emerald as a result of its softer formula
  • Emerald retains its look longer, whereas Duration tends to fade over a shorter period
  • Emerald is a zero-VOC paint want will give off little smell, whereas Duration isn’t completely VOC free

Exploring Sherwin Williams Duration vs Emerald Features

Even though Sherwin Williams makes both Duration vs Emerald, the two paints perform differently. Let’s have a deep dive into the different features of both these paints and how they compare to each other.

Number of coats required

Sherwin WIlliams Duration

Paint technology has come on leaps and bounds, and many paints now require a limited number of coats to achieve good coverage and finish.

How many coats you require depends on several factors, including the paint you use, the material you are painting, and what color you are painting over.

Emerald provides a high level of coverage. If you are painting over a similar color or going from a light to a darker shade, you can often get away with one coat. This isn’t true all of the time; however, Emerald is very efficient, and you often use less product than you usually would with other paints.

Duration generally requires more than one coat to achieve a satisfactory finish. It doesn’t cover as well as Emerald, and you will likely need to spend more time applying more than one coat to the material you are painting.

Another thing to mention is that Emerald is zero-VOC which means that it won’t smell or give off much odor when painting.


The paint that you choose can heavily depend on the area of your home that you will apply it to. For example, painting the bathroom with its constant temperature changes will often dictate what type of paint you choose.

Duration is a better choice if you paint a room with significant temperature shifts as it has a softer film and high moisture resistance. The Duration paint is also thicker, making it more flexible, meaning you can use it in different areas, especially those that experience temperature changes regularly.

Emerald isn’t as suited to painting rooms such as a bathroom or a laundry room where the temperature will change rapidly. If you are going to use Emerald in an area that can go from hot to cold quickly and often, you might need to apply additional coats to ensure it retains its superior finish.


Sherwin WIlliams Duration Cleaning

Regardless of the material of your painted surface, dirt, grime, and marks can appear over time. So, you need paint that you can easily clean without impacting the aesthetic or requiring you to touch it up after a quick wipe.

Emerald paint provides a high level of resistance to picking up dirt and other imperfections. It cures tighter and harder than Duration, so this means that dirt and marks won’t show up as easily. Another feature of Emerald paint is cross-linking technology, which helps prevent peeling and increases its durability and ease of cleaning.

Duration doesn’t do as good a job at preventing dirt and marks from appearing. You can still clean spots and dirt of Duration paint pretty easily; however, it can often require touching up if you need to get rid of tough stains. However, their matt sheen is pretty easy to clean.

Drying time

Painting can be a long and arduous process, especially if you have had to scrape a lot of paint beforehand. Most likely, you will need to apply at least a couple of coats (although Emerald can often produce a high-quality finish with one coat). The drying time is crucial because it determines how quickly you can apply a second coat and how quickly you can begin putting your room back together again.

Both of these paints have a drying time of between four to six hours, which is when the paint will be touch dry. Something to consider, though, is that as Duration has a softer film, it often dries quicker. This is a big advantage if you want to apply a second coat and have limited time or need to start moving your furniture back.

One thing to note about the drying time is that quicker isn’t always better. The reason for this is that if you have a large surface area to paint and you cut in at the edges first, this section can dry before you get there with the roller. This often has the effect of brush strokes showing on your finish which can spoil the room’s look.


The final thing to consider when buying paint for your home is how long it is going to last before it needs to be touched up or completely redone. You don’t want to apply paint and have your kitchen or living room look fabulous if the whole process needs to be done again in 6 months.

Emerald paint tends to last a bit longer than Duration, and this is because Emerald isn’t as susceptible to dirt. The harder film of Emerald ensures that dirt and grime don’t cling to the paint as much, preventing it from breaking down and losing its appearance. Even though Duration paint is thicker, it tends to fade quicker, which means you need to repaint the area sooner than with Emerald.

Emerald is the better choice if you want to paint that will last longer and be less susceptible to losing its finish over time. However, this does depend on the room as Duration can be better suited to high-moisture environments.

Comparing Sherwin Williams Duration vs Emerald – Pricing

There isn’t much difference in the cost of Emerald and Duration paint.

While neither is the cheapest paint you will find for your home, Sherwin Williams paint isn’t that expensive compared to many other home renovation materials.

Emerald paint is slightly more pricey than Duration, but the actual cost difference is relatively minimal. Where the savings happen is with the performance. You might need to pay a little bit more for Emerald paint from Sherwin Williams, but you will likely save yourself time applying it to your walls and surfaces. Also, Emerald paint tends to last longer than Duration, so paying extra to paint a room can mean you won’t need to pay out more money to repaint it in a few years.

So, there isn’t a lot of difference between the two paints. However, remember that you will need to factor in other costs if you are painting your home, including brushes, rollers, trays, and masking tape.

Sherwin Williams Duration vs Emerald – Ease of Use

Painting can seem incredibly daunting if you haven’t done it before; however, with a little bit of experience and practice, it is one of the more manageable home renovation tasks.

Emerald paint is often better for beginners as it is slightly thinner, which means there is more chance of applying it evenly. In many cases, Emerald paint will only take one coat to finish a wall (although it often takes two), which can be better for many people. Duration paint isn’t difficult to use, but it is thicker, so be careful how much you apply to the wall.

Also, these paints dry relatively quickly. Ensure that you don’t leave the edges drying for too long before you blend them in with a roller, as this can cause brush strokes to appear on the finish.

Neither Emerald nor Duration will pose many problems for most homeowners who are intent on rejuvenating their homes. However, if you haven’t used either paint before, read the instructions first and ensure that you look up some online guides to achieve the best finish for your painted wall.

Pros and Cons



  • Zero VOC so gives off little smell or odor when painting
  • Has cross-linking technology to prevent peeling
  • This paint is easy to clean and maintain
  • Emerald won’t fade or lose its finish quickly
  • It can often be finished in one coat
  • Offers great coverage


  • Emerald isn’t suited to high-moisture environments.
  • Drying time of 4 – 6 hours, which can be more than Duration



  • Ideal paint for bathrooms and areas with regular temperature changes
  • Thicker paint if you need to paint a light color over a darker shade
  • Duration can often dry quicker than Emerald
  • Tried and tested paint that has been around since 2002


  • Duration paint can attract dirt easier
  • It Will often fade quicker than Emerald
  • Isn’t completely VOC free
  • Not as easy to clean and maintain

Are There Any Alternatives?

Emerald and Duration paint aren’t the only types of paint that you can buy. There are almost countless different paint brands on the market, and we have listed three alternatives you can consider.


Behr is another paint brand that many homeowners favor.

One thing to note about the paint from Behr is that it is very thick, which can pose problems when cutting in at the edges and achieving a consistent finish. Many people find that this paint is almost sticky, and it can be difficult to roll properly if you don’t have a lot of experience.

However, Behr paint is relatively inexpensive, so if you hope to brighten up a room without spending much money, Behr can be a decent choice. Behr doesn’t compare in terms of durability either with Sherwin Williams.

Behr paint isn’t the worst out there, but it doesn’t provide the same performance as either Duration or Emerald. Although, if you are on a tight budget or perhaps don’t want to spend money on premium paint to decorate a spare bedroom, Behr can be a decent option.

Benjamin Moore

A second alternative that you can consider to Sherwin Williams is painted by Benjamin Moore. This paint is popular across America, and it comes in around the same price range as Sherwin Williams.

Benjamin Moore’s paint offers excellent coverage, and it is certainly on par with Sherwin Williams in this regard. We also like the durability that their paint range provides. If you are new to painting and want a paint that is easy to work with, Benjamin Moore is a solid choice, and its application is pretty straightforward.

There aren’t many major differences between Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore paint, and we would put both in the same bracket for price and performance. If you are trying to redecorate a room on a strict budget, this paint might not be for you, but it is worth considering to achieve a high-quality finish.

We Use Benjamin Moore More Frequently | Ace Hardware

Even though both brands are very popular and offer great quality, we ultimately chose Benjamin Moore to be the better brand of the two as it features greater durability, fewer coats, and it's generally easier to spread and all that at a better, lower price.

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Another paint brand that is close to Sherwin Williams is Valspar.

Like Benjamin Moore, there aren’t many significant differences between Sherwin Williams and Valspar when it comes to pricing. You will find both of these paints in similar pricing categories. One thing many people have noticed when using Valspar paint is that it can dry very quickly. This isn’t always a bad thing; however, if you have a large wall to paint and brush the edges first, the strokes can dry before you roll, which can show up on the finish.

Valspar has a ton of color and shade options, and you won’t be stuck for color choice with this brand. One advantage of Valspar is that the paint can be easier to find as it is often found in many major retailers, whereas Sherwin Williams is usually found in their stores.

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Provides exceptional wear resistance. The high-gloss finish is scrub-able and non-toxic when dry. Easy water clean-up. Dries to touch in 1 hour. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Is Emerald paint VOC free?

Answer: Yes. Emerald paint is VOC free which means that it won’t give off much odor or smell when painting. VOC-free paint also releases less harmful toxins into the air.

Question: Is Duration paint VOC free?

Answer: No. While Duration paint contains little VOC, it isn’t wholly VOC-free like Emerald. This paint will give off some toxins and odor when painting and drying.

Question: Can I use Duration paint in my bathroom?

Answer: Yes. Duration paint is an excellent choice for a bathroom, basement, or anywhere that experiences regular temperature shifts, and it is moisture-resistant and better suited to these types of environments.

Question: How long will Emerald and Duration paint take to try?

Answer: Both Emerald and Duration paint has a drying time of between four to six hours. This is when the paint will be touch dry, and you can apply a second coat.

Question: Are Emerald and Duration paint made in the USA?

Answer: Yes. Emerald and Duration paint are both made by Sherwin Williams, which is based in Cleveland, Ohio. Sherwin Williams has been around since the 19th century and has a long history in producing painting products.

Question: Will Emerald paint fade quickly?

Answer: Not really. Emerald paint has been constructed with durability and longevity in mind. It contains cross-linking technology to prevent peeling and dirt from harming its finish, so Emerald paint should remain in top condition for years after application.

Question: Do I need a primer before painting?

Answer: Sometimes. A primer can be very beneficial if you are painting a light color over a very dark color. However, many paints, including those from Sherwin Williams, may have a 2-in-1 primer and paint solution.

Verdict – Choose Emerald paint for rejuvenating your home

Deciding between Emerald and Duration paint isn’t an easy choice; however, Emerald comes out on top for us.

This paint has built on the solid reputation Sherwin Williams created with Duration and has taken paint technology to a new level. Emerald paint wins as it is easier to apply, requires less work to maintain its appearance, and is also VOC-free which is a great bonus.

Even though Duration is good paint, especially in high-humidity environments, we recommend going for Emerald if you want top-performing paint for your home.


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