Summertime is usually when home interiors are set aside and homeowners focus instead on the exterior of their homes, but this year, with our record rainfall continuing into the summer it seems, many people are waiting for the bone dry days before they tackle painting the outside of their house. Still, the wonderful thing about interior painting is, you can do it any time of the year. In fact, the summer offers a few advantages, especially if you are doing the painting yourself. The air is usually much drier than in the winter, and you can leave the windows wide open both during the painting and after the painting project. You also have the possibility of getting the work done while you and your family are on your summer vacation. There’s nothing like returning home to a freshly painted interior, with no sign of the work itself; just a beautiful new home!
There are seemingly as many paint varieties and colors as there are homeowners who go shopping for them. Today, computerization can come up with a customer color that isn’t even available off the shelf. You probably saw that old TV ad where a guy arrives at the paint supply store with a purple bowling ball. They were able to provide him with a can of custom-mixed paint to match the exact color of the ball, so you can see how there is essentially an infinite number of colors to choose from.
The secret to choosing a color is to do it well ahead of time. Don’t wait until your contractors are on their way to your house. Have the colors, paint types, manufacturers and notes on which colors go where, weeks before the project is to start. Choosing the right colors and color types (mat all the way to high gloss, for example) is the single easiest way to make the project result spectacular. Hire an interior designer if you personally don’t have a good ‘color eye’. It’s worth it.
It’s much harder to remove paint from a patch of carpet later than it is to protect that carpet in the first place. Every minute you spend preparing the room, hallway or trim from paint splashes will save you two minutes once the project starts in earnest. If you can’t move furniture from a room, cover it completely.
You can buy painter’s masking tape in bulk from most home supply stores, and it’s an inexpensive way to protect those finer edges where the border of what’s to be painted meets what’s not to be painted. Don’t assume your steady hand will take care of it. Splashes occur, even at the hand of the most experienced painters.
You remember the phrase “mad as a hatter”? It came from old times when hat makers worked with lead in their materials, enough to give them brain damage and and cause them often to go mad. Well, we do understand the dangers of lead today, and it’s forbidden to be added to consumer products such as paint, but it’s always easier to be safe in hindsight. Today, paints are sophisticated in their composition, so I recommend excellent ventilation of any part of your house you are painting. Secondly, I would wear a mask over my nose and mouth, and consider protective glasses if you are, for example, painting a ceiling or high point where gravity might bring a splash of paint into your eye.
Keeping windows open and air ventilated will reduce your inhalation of whatever vapors are there. Even if you don’t get injured by vapors, you might reduce the chances of nausea by breathing cleaner air.
Paint begins to change the second you open the paint can. Part of a paint’s process in in the drying, but the real change is in its ‘curing’. Curing can last between two to four weeks, sometimes longer if the temperature drops, and for perfect results, you want that process to start as late as possible. Opening a can of paint only when you are ready to apply it will therefore give you the optimal result.
Most of the cost of a painting project is in the labor. Whether you do it yourself or pay someone to do it, it takes hours and hours of human effort. Multiply the dollar value of one hour of your work by the number of hours it takes to paint a room. Compare that to the cost of the paint. It’s an order of magnitude more. Spending a few extra dollars on good painting tools will improve the overall result and make the work more enjoyable. When you purchase those tools, ask about cleaning supplies you’ll need to keep those brushes in good condition.
If you are hiring contractors to paint the interior of your house, you most certainly want them to wrap it up as soon as possible, but if you are doing the work yourself – in the evenings and weekends – a good plan to do it in manageable stages is essential. If you spend the whole day behind a computer, then come home and expect to do painting work for five more hours, you’ll get fatigued quickly and will be more likely to make mistakes. Break the work into two-hour increments for any evening, and stick to those times. You’ll get it all done in a few days anyway, even if you have to clean your brushes and prepare for the work a few more times.
I know folks to burn themselves out on working late into the night and get fed up with the project before they’re half way though.
Children, dogs and large cans of open paint do not mix well. A child chasing a dog through your in-progress painting room can be the cause of a big messy accident that everyone will remember for a very long time. Try to keep children and pets away from the actual painting project itself. You want to be able to focus on the work itself, without having to look after screaming children at the same time.
See you next week, I hope!