There are several choices when it comes to high quality paint brands, but the first consideration is really what you plan to use it for, the condition of the surfaces to be painted, and what end result you expect.
If you are working with a painting contractor, it’s a good idea to talk through the alternatives. If you don’t have a favorite painting contractor, sometimes a knowledgeable employee at a home supplies company may be able to assist you. Failing that, there are interior designers available who can do an excellent job of helping you choose colors as well as paint types, gloss levels, and of course paint manufacturers. An interior designer, however, is likely to expect to be paid for his or her services. If you have that in the budget, it might well be worth it. Paint choice – color, in particular – is the single best most effective way of producing an excellent result.
The golden rule is, paint will always look different on a wall than it does in the paint color catalog. It may look darker, lighter, warmer or colder. There is just no way to know by simply looking at the catalog – where dozens of colors may be displayed on a single page – and imagine what that bedroom will look like when it is painted. You’ve probably seen those social media color tests where two sides of a box look like they are each painted with a different color, but when you cover the edges of the object, you can see that the sides are of the same color. The human eye is easily fooled, and its color perception, in particular, is greatly affected by the surrounding objects. For that important reason, you should always do a color test area in your home before committing to a big investment in paint. For about five dollars, you can buy a small container of any paint – manufactured for this very purpose – and apply it to a test area in the room. Let it sit for a day or two, and see what it looks like after you’ve not been looking at it for a while. You might be surprised at how it looks a few days later. Fill the room with light, doing a test during broad daylight as well as another test at night, to see how it looks under varied circumstances.
If you’re operating an Airbnb house, for example, you might simply paint the walls of each bedroom the same color every few years. While there are many “shades” or white, even though that sounds like a contradiction in terms, a well defined color choice might work perfectly well if it has been used before.
Some colors are, for example, easier to keep clean. Or, at least, they can appear to stay clean for longer. What’s more, there are paint types that are more suitable for use on, for example, a kitchen wall where you will expect to have everything from olive oil to mashed potato to be splashed on it. Not every paint type will respond to hundreds of sponge cleanings. For such a place, you need a durable, 100% waterproof paint. An experienced painting contractor will know this, and when you are working with them with respect to paint type, that will be a major consideration they can advise you on.
Bathrooms are another room type that take special consideration. In the typical family home with young adult children, a bathroom may rarely get a chance to fully dry out, so you will need paint that can withstand an almost permanently damp environment.
Preparing a bathroom for painting requires a few special steps. No paint – none suitable for the home, at least – can be applied effectively to a damp or wet wall. Before you paint the walls in a bathroom, they must be well prepared. You must clean them thoroughly, removing any grime, grease, mold or other growth. Then the walls must be dried to bone-dry. Only then should the new paint be applied. That process may take several days, all the while it is best not to use the bathroom for showering or bathing. This will keep the moisture levels to a minimum while the surfaces to be painted dry out completely, so if you have an extra shower in the house, ask everyone to use it instead. This extra preparation step will make all the difference and will likely help the new paint last and perform for its full, expected lifetime.
Gloss is another consideration that is best not left up to chance. It’s another one of those considerations that when guessed at, rarely results in a happy situation.
Most painting contractors will help you choose the right level of gloss, and it all depends on context. For the typical TV room, a level of mat is appreciated, and TV or computer screen content will show up in the form of wall reflections. You’ve probably been in one of those restaurants that used a higher-than-suitable level of gloss on their walls. Flash photography there produces large white ‘flash’ areas in any photos you take. Consider what the room will be used for, and what the lighting is for that room.
When your painting contractor begs you to reconsider your color choice, and if he asks you to sign some waiver relating to the color choice, it might be time to rethink the color and paint choices in general. There’s nothing worse than realizing you’ve chosen the wrong color or colors, especially if the sight of your own home is giving you nightmares. It’s time to call the painting contractor again and ask him or her to redo the work.
In the grand scheme of things, the cost of the paint is actually only a fraction of the overall cost of the project. Labor – even if it is your own, it is worth something of course – accounts for about 80% of the investment. Paint is less than 20%, so paying an extra ten percent for the most suitable and highest quality brand for that specific purpose, is well worth it.
More next week!