With house prices sky-rocketing these days, many people are regaining interest in the condition of their homes. Some are living in a million-dollar home for which they paid a fraction of that amount when they bought the homes decades ago. And so, they could be forgiven for wanting to keep it in premium shape, even if they continue to earn a relatively modest income today. There is possibly no quicker or more effective way to give your home that ‘new look’ than to paint it, especially on the inside.
Let’s first look at what to consider before any painting begins, and what preparation needs to be done before that big project. You might be doing the actual paint work yourself, or you may be planning on hiring a contractor to do the work. Either way, these steps will increase the chances of an excellent finished job, and will increase the value of your home. Even if it didn’t, you’ll be living in a nicer place!
Not everyone has an eye for color, and sometimes, it pays to get help with this first stage of the project. Speaking personally, I would say I don’t have much of an eye for making color choices, but I do know a great set of colors when I see them. The thing for me is, therefore, to definitely get help with color choice. For the price of a few hundred dollars of color and paint consulting , I have to say, it can have an enormously positive effect on the outcome. A professional artist will usually be able to give you several choices, and within those choices, some accent coloring to give the project that professional touch. If paying a consultant to help you is out of your price range, or if you have a reasonably good idea what you want, some painting contractor offer a free color selection service. Even if they charge you a fee, they often subtract that from the estimate for the painting project itself, should you decide to hire them.
Paint type is also important. There are paint types ranging from high gloss to full mat, with many levels in between. Some are oil-based, while most are water-based. And there are top notch paint manufacturers all the way to cheap alternatives. A good paint consultant, or some painting contractors, will be able to advise you. Sometimes different walls in a room might benefit from a different level of gloss or paint type. In a small condo, where there is a cooking area adjacent to a living area, you might use a heavier, water-resistant paint around the cooking and eating area, yet use a lighter, water-based paint in the living area. It all depends on what the paint will be subjected to.
The basic rule of preparation is that there are some things you want to expose that need to be painted, and other areas you don’t want to paint which must be protected. Protection means masking, covering or removing, while exposing usually means getting furniture and fixtures out of the way as much a possible. Some people want to do everything perfectly, and will go to considerable lengths to solve both these objectives. Preparation time is usually well worth it, often saving time both during the painting and clean-up stages. Every minute spent preparing saves two minutes later in the project, is a rule-of-thumb I have lived by for years. It also improves your chances of doing a better overall job, so it’s well worth it.
In the first house I lived in, we painted several rooms ourselves. It was early in our habitation of the house, so we had very little furniture. We decided – well, I decided – to replace the outlet covers with new, white ones. The old ones were a dull, beige color which I think were from the original installation from when the house was built in the 1970s. But once I replaced the beige covers with new, white ones, the outlet unit itself looked rather out of place because it, too, was that beige color. So, off I drove again to the local home supplies store and bought a box of outlet units. Then I had to replace the light switch covers, and the light switch units, so everything would match. The project grew to be more than I had planned, but it made the rooms look a lot better, and with new outlets and switches, the use of those was also superior. The whole room looked new after it was painted, and by removing all those electrical covers, I was able to get that new paint on the walls fully and completely, without having to mask off anything. Getting a drop of paint on the old electrical outlet didn’t matter because those would be replaced after the paint had dried. Just remember, remove the covers during prep stage, but leave to old outlet unit in place until after the paint has dried. That way, you get to paint the wall around the unit, but don’t have to protect any new outlets.
Replacing outlets is something many people regret not doing later. In a freshly painted room, some things can look suddenly older. Think about it as another way to really make the room pop after the job!
If you are painting trim as well as walls and ceilings – you will have to cover it while you’re doing everything else. It’s almost like two complete paint jobs, as you will have mask out the first stage while doing the second stage, unless you’ve got excellent hand-eye coordination, and can be confident you won’t splash any paint where you don’t want it.
For the want of a few hundred dollars of drop-cloths and masking tape, you could do serious damage to that family heirloom grand piano with a single paint spill. Anything you can’t remove from your rooms or hallways, make sure you have protected fully. I know it takes time and patience, but it will make the actual painting job easier and quicker.
Bathrooms and kitchens are notorious for collecting mold, fungus and plain old grim from the constant exposure to food, showers, soap and all manner of household liquids. A good washing might be required, and at least a wipe-down to remove dust before the painting begins. Be sure to let it dry completely, though, after any cleaning. This will extend the life of the new paint because it will be sitting on – and bonded to – the real wall surface, and will perform to the maximum design of the paint manufacturers.
More next week!