I have a customer who repaints at least one room in her house every other year, but she’s never happy with the results. The color is all wrong once it’s on the walls, paint ends up splattering on the floor, no matter how many drop cloths she and her husband put down, and she realizes – after the project is done – that some things like faux finishes are better left to the experts.
Painting is one of the simplest home improvement projects to manage. However, as my customer has learned the hard way, your paint job is only as good as the planning and preparation you put into it before you even pick up a paintbrush. Before you start picking colors, consider your goals for interior design. What look and feel do you want to create in your home? Do you want your kitchen to look bright and airy, or are you aiming for a rustic design?
Once you determine the style, visit your local home improvement store to pick out a variety of paint samples in your color range. Take the samples home since variations in lighting bring out different tones in paint. Neutral colors typically work best inside, whereas bold colors like red have a tendency to overpower a room rather than enhance the overall décor.
If you want to add some color to your home, consider incorporating an accent wall into your design scheme instead of painting an entire room one bold, bright color. For custom designs like faux finishes, you may even want to hire a professional painter since this technique can be difficult to master.
When you find yourself at the paint counter, ready to order, opt for water-based paints like latex or acrylic because they’re easier to maintain than oil-based paints. Paints come in a variety of finishes, including flat, eggshell, semi-gloss and glossy, so choose the right finish for your particular project needs. A flat finish is usually the least expensive but it’s also the hardest to clean, so stick to semi-gloss in rooms like kitchens and bathrooms that get a lot of use. I usually recommend people order about 10 percent more paint than they need (based on the square footage of their project area) in order to leave enough paint leftover for touch-ups down the line.
Once you have your paint, brushes and tools in hand, it is time to prep your work area. If you’re painting inside, wipe down your walls with a clean, soft cloth to remove any dust or debris. Then, wash the walls with an all-purpose cleaner, which is safe to use on most painted surfaces. Apply painter’s tape to your molding, trim, window frames, and doorways to prevent splattering. Cover your floors and any nearby furniture with drop cloths and you’re ready to get started.
If you’re painting the exterior of your home, attention to detail is equally important. Start by pressure-washing the outer walls, then sand any uneven areas and scrape away any loose paint. Apply a high-quality primer to exposed bare wood, and seal all cracks, gaps and voids with elastomeric caulk, which holds up better than other types of caulk under our region’s extreme weather conditions.
For both interior and exterior paint jobs, apply two coats of high-quality paint to ensure the end result looks polished. For exterior paint projects, adding a second coat of paint will also help protect your home so you can sit back, relax and enjoy that paint job of yours for years to come. Sounds like a much better way to spend your summer than up on a ladder, re-touching faded paint, don’t you think? FBN
By Mike Brackin, Flagstaff’s Ace HomeCo http://www.homcoaceflagstaff.com/