Interior House Painting Tips

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January 4, 2013
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February 12, 2013
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Interior House Painting Tips

If you’re getting ready to start an interior house painting project, here are some helpful tips to insure the job goes smoothly, looks great and lasts for years to come. When it comes to interior house paint, consider:

Base – More important then the color, base determines paint’s toughness and resistance to dirt and stains.

Colorant – Determines how much the paint will fade.

As with most things in life, you get what you pay for and generally speaking, the same holds true for paint products as well. From our experience, any product promoting a good, better or contract grade will not perform as well as the top-line brands.

So, while going with a “contract grade” paint may save you some money up-front, you will end up applying 3-4 coats where a top-line brand can cover in 2 coats for everything but the darkest colors. This will result in double the cost and time of the project then initially projected.

Research Colors

We’ve all done it. You see a color that looks fantastic in the store, but once you start painting the walls at home quickly realize that the hue is not what you expected. Before you buy (and while you’re at the store), ask for:

  • Store’s color-sampling products.
  • Use a retailers computer program to search paint collections, match colors and determine the correct amount of paint required for the job.
  • Most stores sell 2-ounce sample jars so you can test a paint before buying a large quantity.
  • Most manufacturers offer large color chips, easier to use than the conventional small swatches.

Try out samples on different walls and at various times of the day. Fluorescent light enhances blues and greens, but it makes warm reds, oranges, and yellows appear dull. Incandescent light works well with warm colors, but it might not do much for cool ones. Even natural sunlight changes from day to day, room to room, and morning to evening. Color intensifies over large areas, so it’s better to go too light than too dark in a given shade.

Choose the Right Gloss Level

Flat and satin finishes are best for walls because they hide flaws by reducing reflections. Semigloss paints add some shine to doors and trim, providing a nice visual contrast.

Prep Work, Don’t Skimp

Good preparation is critical to a good, long-lasting and professional looking interior finish, whether you’re paying a pro or are among the roughly 20 percent of homeowners who do the job themselves. That means scraping, sanding, filling holes and cleaning the walls thoroughly. We recommend two coats for long life and optimal coverage. Other materials may require different procedures. Stucco and masonry, for example, may need sealing beforehand. If you sand or scrape paint on a house built before 1978, be warned: Older coats of paint may contain lead, so you’ll need to take extra precautions. Indeed, federal law now requires that painters you hire be certified by the Environmental Protection Agency and be trained in lead-safe work practices.

Other Things to Consider

Flat -Flat finishes hide imperfections well. But they’re not the most stain resistant, so they’re best in a decorative setting such as a formal living room, dining room, or other space that doesn’t see heavy use.

Low luster – Often called eggshell or satin, these finishes have a slight sheen. Use them only on smooth, well-prepared surfaces, since their shine can accentuate imperfections on the wall. Low-luster paints are best for family rooms, kids’ rooms, hallways, and the like. Some might change sheen when scrubbed.

Semigloss – Shinier still, these paints are formulated to stand up to water and scrubbing. They’re generally the easiest to clean, so they’re ideal for kitchen and bathroom walls, windowsills, and other woodwork. Like low-luster paints, semigloss paints require a smooth, well-prepared surface with few imperfections. Some semigloss paints might change sheen when scrubbed.

Stain resistance – While most low-luster and semigloss interior paints were very good or excellent at resisting stains, flat paints haven’t scored as well in this area.

Fade resistance inside – Fading has long been a problem in sun-drenched rooms, resulting in walls that become lighter over time as they’re exposed to sunlight. In general, whites and browns tend not to fade; reds and blues fade somewhat; and bright greens and yellows tend to fade a lot.

Hire a Pro – Insist on top finishes. If hiring a pro, be sure the contract specifies the brand, line, and number of coats; for paint we generally recommend two top coats plus a prime coat over bare surfaces if needed.