Many DIYers have successfully painted their new homes inside and out. But it’s hard work and it takes quite a bit of skill. Before you decide to do the painting in your brand new home, consider the painting projects that you’ve done in the past. How did they turn out? Was the trim smooth and without excess caulk? Were the walls uniform and free of debris and drip marks?
If your past results haven’t met the standards that you have set for your new home, you may want to hire a professional painter with good references. For some advice on what to look for and expect when hiring a painter, take a listen to last week’s episode, episode 50.
Whether you choose to do your own painting or not, you’ll have to decide what paint finishes are best for your house. This week’s episode will cover what paint finishes that work well for the different areas of the house. We’ll also cover some quick painting tips for those of you who want to do the painting yourself. Not a full tutorial, but some helpful tips.
If you have little or no experience painting, first and foremost, I suggest hiring a professional painter. But if you’re determined to save those labors costs, in addition to considering the quick tips in this mini lesson, go over to You Tube and take a look at some painting tutorials.
Before we move on to the lesson, let’s define this week’s pro term:
Hat banding is a common problem that occurs when people use a paintbrush for cutting in, and a roller to apply the rest of the wall paint. Remember that cutting in means to use a paint brush to paint tight or awkward areas, like along the ceiling line. When you use a paint brush near the ceiling line and a roller for the wall, different textures are produced. And the paint at the top of the wall, near the ceiling, can look kinda like a hat band.
To avoid hatbanding, roll the paint as close to the cut-in areas as possible. Also make sure that you use paint from the same bucket for both cutting in the edges and for painting on the walls. This will alleviate color inconsistencies that can occur in different cans of paint. This inconsistencies can make hat banding more prominent.
Moving on to the mini lesson...
I think hiring a professional painter is the way to go with a brand new house. But, if you really want to do your own painting, the good news is, if you do end up a bad paint job, it won’t make you fail a building inspection, and it won’t compromise the structural integrity of your house. But, the bad news is that your interior paint is something that you or your family will look at everyday, so imperfections may become daily eyesores.
If you want to save on labor costs, but you don’t want to do all of the painting, you could sub out the more tedious tasks like caulking, cutting in and painting trim and ceiling, while you paint the majority of the walls. Or you could paint the more private spaces that mainly you and your family will see, like the mudroom, laundry room and bedrooms. You could then hire professionals to paint the more public spaces that will be seen more often by visitors— spaces like the living and dining rooms.
Whether you do it all yourself or not, be willing to spend a little more for high quality paint since a good, long-lasting paint job is very dependent upon using quality products. When it comes to primers and paints, you really do get what you pay for.
Try to catch good quality paint when it’s on sale. Paint usually goes on sale several times per year, especially around Memorial Day, Fourth of July or Labor Day, and sometimes in December. Many stores will let you to buy the base paint when it’s on sale, and then it take back to the paint store for tinting months later, when you need it. Just check with the specific store before you make the purchase, and make sure to save your receipt to take back with you when you get the paint tinted. Store the paint in a climate controlled space until you’re ready to use it.
Even if you find the paint on sale, you don’t want to invest in full gallons of paint for your house without testing it out. Why wonder about how a color will look in you house? For a just a few dollars, you can purchase sample pints of paint, then take them home, and test the colors on your walls. This will give you a much better perspective than you would get with one of those small paint sample cards.
By painting the samples on the walls, you can see how the color will look in different rooms and at different times of the day. It’s better to make a small investment in sample paints, than to spend hundreds of dollars on gallons of paints only to find out you don’t like the color
Another idea is to paint the samples on a piece of poster board or foam core board, which are available at Walmart or any craft or art supply store. Paint the entire board with one or two sample colors. And move the painted board around your room to see how light and the time of day will affect the color on every wall. A color might look great on one wall, but, because of shadows and lighting, it might not look so great on another wall. And if you have multiple colors that you want to try, you can use both sides of the board.
Once you’ve chosen on your paint colors, you’ll have to decide on the paint finishes. The finish of your paint, also called the sheen, will have a major impact on the look of your room. Paint sheen dictates how shiny the surface of your painted walls and ceilings will be. You’ll have to choose from gloss, semi-gloss, satin, egg shell, or flat sheens.
Those finishes again, going from the most shiny to the least shiny, are gloss, semi-gloss, satin, egg shell and flat.
High gloss/glossy paint offers the highest sheen. High-traffic areas do well with gloss finishes because they’re resistant to fingerprints and stains, and they can be easily cleaned.
But, the glossier the paint, the more light it reflects, so the more imperfections it will show. If your drywall has any waviness, patched areas, or other irregularities, a glossy paint will make those imperfections easier to see.
The reflective quality of glossy paint also makes it difficult to apply. If you want glossy paint on your walls or doors, but you have limited painting experience, you might want to consider leaving that the job to the pros. It can be really tricky to get a smooth finish with glossy paint.
Because it reflects light, glossy paint is a great choice for areas that you want to highlight. Think doors and trim work. Glossy paint is also works well for stair risers. The riser is the vertical part of a step. People often paint it white. If you want to paint, instead of stain, your stair risers, choose a glossy paint because it can hold up to the shoe scuffs and marks, and subsequent cleaning that will inevitably happen with a stairwell.
The next shiniest on our list is semi-gloss. Semi-gloss is just what it sounds like, kind of glossy, but not as glossy as high gloss paint. Semi-gloss paints are less reflective than glossy paints, but they’ll still show drywall imperfections pretty readily.
Like glossy paints, semi-gloss offers good resistance to stains. It’s a good choice for areas where small children will be, like playrooms and children’s bedrooms and baths. Because semi gloss can be wiped down frequently, without harming the paint finish, it’s great for areas prone to stains and dirt, areas like mudrooms, hallways, kitchens and bathrooms.
One of the most popular sheens of paint is satin. Satin paints have a subtle sheen, instead of a true shininess. Satin finishes don’t have the glare of high-gloss and semi-gloss paints, but they’re still washable and pretty durable, making them practical for use throughout the house. Although washing satin paint finishes is fine, scrubbing should be avoided because that could harm the paint finish.
Next on the list is an egg-shell finish. Some paint companies offer either a satin or eggshell finish because they are fairly similar, but an eggshell finish has a little less sheen than a satin finish does. An eggshell finish has more of a soft luster, like the luster of an actual eggshell.
Eggshell finishes work well for walls, but are not ideal for trim around doors and windows, or other areas prone to marks and fingerprints. Eggshell paints can be washed gently, but not scrubbed, so it’s best to put them in lower traffic areas. Eggshell paints are not terribly reflective, so they hide drywall imperfections well and can be applied fairly easily.
Finally, there’s flat paint, also called a matte finish. A flat finish is just that… flat. There is no sheen or shine whatsoever.
Flat paint finishes are non-reflective, which allows them to conceal drywall imperfections better than other paints. But, a flat or matte finish is prone to stains and marks when touched. And unfortunately, it shouldn’t be wiped down too often or the finish will be compromised.
In addition, flat paint often shows evidence of cleaning, in the form of smudges and stains left by cleaning products. More recently, though, some manufacturers, such as Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore, have made scrubbable flat paints that allow for easier cleaning.
Flat paint should not be used in bathrooms, the kitchen or kids' room, but is often used on ceilings, or in very low traffic spaces, or areas with known drywall irregularities.
Alright, here’s a summary of what sheens work best for different rooms in the house.
Gloss or semi-gloss paints are best for doors, trim work and stair risers.
Semi-gloss or satin work well for hallways, kitchens, bathrooms, mudrooms, laundry rooms and kid’s spaces.
Satin or eggshell finishes can work in dining rooms, living rooms and bedrooms. Choose a satin finish if you have children, since satin paints are more durable and washable.
And finally flat paint is good on ceilings, or in areas with drywall imperfections.
Ok, we’ve learned about the different sheens. What about choosing latex versus oil based paints? Let’s talk about the pros and cons of each.
Latex paints dry quickly, so 2 coats can sometimes be applied in one day. Only water is needed for thinning latex paint and for clean up. There are fewer fumes and odors with latex paint, as compared with oil based paint.
Other advantages of latex paint are that it doesn’t yellow over time and it’s better for the environment. It’s also more widely available than oil paint.
The main disadvantage of latex paint is it causes wood to swell so, if you are painting it on wood trim or other wood surfaces, sanding is necessary between coats.
Oil paints are extremely durable and go on smoothly. Oil based paints typically have coverage that’s superior to latex paint, so fewer coats may be needed. The disadvantages of oil based paint are that it requires mineral spirits or turpentine for thinning and cleanup.
Strong odors and fumes are another problem. Those fumes can cause some people to develop headaches. Oil paints can fade, crack or yellow over time. Plus, they’re slow drying, but some people prefer oil paints for that very reason. The longer drying time gives brush and roller marks time to flatten out before drying, so an extra smooth finish can be achieved.
Alright, we talked about the types of paint you can use, now let’s go over a few quick painting tips. As I said, I’m not gonna give a complete painting tutorial, but a few helpful tips for those of you who want to try your hand at painting.
1. Choose high quality tools. Not only should you choose a good quality primer and paint, but also high quality, brushes and rollers. Cheap brushes readily lose their bristles and cheap rollers don’t give even coverage.
2. Roll or brush on primer and paint with light pressure. Don’t press the roller or brush into the wall or ceiling when painting. Let paint flow easily from the brush or roller for nice, even coverage. And use an extension pole so you can reach the maximum amount of area with the least effort.
3. Apply a primer of the same composition as your topcoat. So if you’re using latex paint, use a latex primer. And for oil paint, use an oil primer.
4. Use a 2-inch angled-sash brush as an edger for cutting into corners and along ceilings and baseboard lines. Hold the edger like a pencil and paint a steady line.
5. After you’ve cut in the edges near the ceiling and baseboard using a brush, use your roller or sprayer to apply paint from the ceiling downward. By starting at the top and moving downward, you can correct any drip marks or other imperfections as you go down the wall.
6. Paint one area at a time to avoid painting over an area that has already started to dry. Going back over drying paint can leave overlapping marks and color streaks. Avoid these lap marks by maintaining a “wet edge.” Each stroke of your roller should overlap the previous stroke before the paint dries.
7. Always paint at least two coats paint. Darker colors might need three coats.
8. Box your paint.
POP Quiz. What is boxing? Boxing was our pro term last week in episode 50. Boxing is combining different cans of paint of the same color into a large container, like a 5 gallon bucket, and mixing the paint together using a paint stick. Boxing helps to alleviate color inconsistencies that can occur with different cans of paint.
9. Instead of using paint trays, use a five-gallon bucket with a roller screen inside. Not having to fill the paint trays repeatedly saves time.
10. If you take a break while painting, cover rollers in plastic wrap and refrigerate, if possible, so that you don’t have to clean them every time you stop.
Well, that’s it for this week. I know there’s lots that we could talk about regarding painting, but I don’t want to overwhelm you with information, so we’ll probably talk more about painting in a future episode. If you’ve been enjoying the podcast and don’t want to miss an episode, make sure you subscribe so our latest episodes will automatically be downloaded to your device. In iTunes, just tap the 3 small dots at the bottom right of the screen.
Alright, let’s move on to our quiz.
1. Which paint sheen is most resistant to stains and is easiest to clean?
B. Semi Gloss
The answer is A. Glossy paint is most resistant to stains and is easiest to clean. Semi gloss and satin finishes are also resistant to finger prints and stains, but the shiner the paint, the better the paint resists stains. And the shinier the paint, the easier it is to wash.
2. Which of the following is false?
A. There are less intense fumes and odors associated with latex paint as compared to oil paints
B. Clean up and thinning of latex paint can be done with water
C. Latex paint has a slow drying time, allowing brush strokes and roller marks to flatten before drying, making the paint finish extra smooth.
D. Latex paint is easier to find and better for the environment than oil paint.
The answer is C. C is false. It’s not latex paint that has a slow drying time, it’s oil paint. That slow drying time is blessing and a curse because the paint job will take longer, but you’ll end up with a very smooth finish, with fewer brush strokes and roller marks.
Please remember that the purpose of this podcast is simply to educate and inform. It is not a substitute for professional advice. The information that you hear is based the only on the opinions, research and experiences of my guests and myself. That information might be incomplete, it’s subject to change and it may not apply to your project. In addition, b uilding codes and requirements vary from region to region, so always consult a professional about specific recommendations for your home.
Thanks for stopping by. I hope you learned as much as I did. Let’s do it again next week.