NEWSLETTER #267 AUGUST 2008 House-Building Home Page

Painting Your New Home

  1. Introduction
  2. Painting – Do it Yourself
  3. Dealing with Contractors
  4. Timing is Everything
  5. Prep- Work
  6. Paints : Types, Quality, Texture, Color
  7. Common Problems
  8. Summary
  9. Subscription and Removal Information
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1.  Introduction

This month’s newsletter is devoted to painting your new home, interior and exterior paints, tips, types of paints, how to paint and how to avoid common problems.  When I first began to write this news letter, I thought what a great subject. Everyone paints their home at some time or another and new home buyers get to make decisions about paint color, quality and texture before they move in. What is so difficult about painting a wall, trim, doors, the ceiling etc?  Painting decisions can be a lot more complex than at first glance, however if you make the right decisions you can save money and have a home that looks great and really makes your home  look fantastic.
Many new home buyers accept the builder’s first coat of paint without too much thought. They may be under pressure financially, trying to stretch limited funds and really do not want to consider spending extra dollars on better quality paint. There are pros and cons to painting before you move in or waiting for a year.

We will try to tackle all of these topics and more in this newsletter. As usual with all of our newsletters we will provide useful links for our readers to find out more detailed information about each of these subjects throughout our newsletter.

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2. Painting – Do it Yourself

Painting a room or your entire home can be both rewarding as well as economical.  Consumers are faced with many choices when they choose to build a new home, and painting is usually one of the last things on your mind and one of the last things to be completed prior to the flooring installation.  If you have purchased a home from a builder, your options will include the color of paint and quality upgrades, however painting the home yourself is not usually an option. This section will focus on new home owners who are going to paint their new homes themselves. The section on Paints, types, quality and texture will be of interest to those people whose builder will finish the painting on their behalf.

On the other hand if you are acting as your own contractor, one of your decisions will be to hire professionals to paint your home or to paint the interior and exterior yourself. While this can be a time consuming job, if completed properly, you can save a great deal of money.  Consumers should remember that there is usually a schedule for installation of items such as lights, floor coverings and appliances. Painting must be scheduled around these items and usually prior, to ensure that all areas are covered properly, not to mention it is much easier to paint when you do not need to worry about splashing a little paint on the floor.

We are going to include a list of do’s and don’ts about painting along with a list of tips, however before providing these, we wanted to talk about airless paint sprayers. Airless paint sprayers can be an excellent tool in the right hands to quickly paint an entire home inside and out. These systems allow painters to apply paint uniformly on surfaces to be painted, quickly and efficiently. We have included two links at the bottom of this section that provide more detail about how to use an airless paint sprayer as well as some of the safety precautions.  Several of the more important points follow:

  • When using an airless paint sprayer, paint will mist in the air and precautions must be taken to ensure that all surfaces, including yourself are covered to avoid paint damaging those surfaces. A proper air mask must also be worn.
  • Paint will be carried by even the slightest breeze, so if you are painting outside, ensure that all shrubbery, cars etc are either covered or moved.
  • Avoid accidently aiming the nozzle at your skin. Paint can penetrate below the skin, into your bloodstream without noticeable marks or openings on the surface of your skin.
  • Ensure that your airless paint sprayer is cleaned well after every use to avoid clogging and blockage of the nozzle.

Painting Tips

We have included several links at the bottom of this section that provide more detail about the tips we have summarized below, and  as well most of the links provided as part of this newsletter will include advice on various painting topics.

  1. Always prepare the room properly before painting, including sanding, repair of nail holes, imperfections, cracks,  covering flooring and furniture,  etc
  2. Use top quality paints to obtain a better covering and long term performance of the paint. The initial cost may be more expensive, however you may only have to apply one coat of paint vs. two and your paint will last longer than poorer quality paints.
  3. Wrap your paint brushes in sealed plastic bags overnight to protect them and avoid leftover paint from drying on your tools.
  4. Also use top quality tools when you are painting. A poor quality brush or roller will leave streaks and marks, while better quality tools will deliver superior results.
  5. Follow a step by step process when painting a room. Prepare the room, paint the ceiling first then the walls and finally the finishing work around doors and windows.
  6. Always use a primer as your first coat of paint. A primer paint is often less expensive than your final coat, will seal the surface to be painted and will bond the finishing coat better.
  7. Plan your paint application – primer coats, areas were you will use a flat paint, low sheen, semi-gloss and gloss paints. Glossy paints will withstand high traffic use better, however they also will show imperfections more than other lower sheen paints. Take extra time to prepare your room If you plan to use a high gloss paint.
  8. Take care of your tools, ensure they are thoroughly cleaned at the end of the day to avoid damage to your paint brushes and clotting of paint.
  9. Consumers may want to wear clothes that they are not concerned about, since most clothes will get some paint on them during your painting activities.
  10. Select your colors carefully; neutral colors are easiest to accessorize with furniture and paintings and make your home easier to sell if you plan to sell your home in the near future. A mauve colored bedroom might be your favorite, however many prospective buyers may not agree with you.

Useful Links

The following are useful links relating to painting that may be of interest.

How to Guides

Interior Painting Tips

Airless Sprayers

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3. Dealing with Contractors

Painting contractors are similar to many other contractors in the building trades. There are great contractors and then there are not so great contractors. How do you protect yourself from ending up with an unsatisfactory contractor and poor quality workmanship?

The fundamental rule is always ask for references and preferably from people you know and trust. If you must hire a contractor, ask for several references and ask to see his or her workmanship. You can judge for yourself whether the workmanship is up to your standards. Always view any painting work during the daylight. Imperfections and poor workmanship are always more difficult to see in the evening, even if the room is well lit.

Always have a contract that covers the details, for example:

  • When will the start the painting work
  • How many painters will be on the job and when will they finish
  • Agree on inspections
  • Agree on performance payments and holdbacks to cover workmanship
  • Agree on who will provide the paint, the manufacturer, the quality and the price
  • How are damages covered
  • Is the cost estimate a fixed cost job or variable, what will the total job cost you?
  • Is your painter insured  and
  • Again, ask for references with names and phone numbers of people you can call and visit if necessary.

Useful Links

The following are useful links relating to painting that may be of interest.

Hiring Painting Contractors

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4. Timing is Everything

If our readers have ever painted anything before, they already know that it is much easier to paint a room or a wall when they do not have to be concerned about splashing paint on floor coverings or on furniture that may be in the room they are painting. If at all possible, paint your new home prior to installation of floor coverings, appliances, wall and ceiling fixtures and any wood work that you will want to retain its natural color. It is just so much easier; you can paint more quickly and use tools such as airless paint sprayers that will speed up the application of the paint.

Unless you have contracted with your builder to apply a specific quality of paint, your builder will often use relatively low quality beige paint over an initial primer coat. Most people are satisfied with this approach, since it lowers the initial cost of their new homes construction and they may also not be ready to select all of their color combinations until they have moved into their new home and placed their furniture.

One of the drawbacks of builders paint is that it will easily mark and in some cases will even wear off in heavy traffic areas, notably near doors, hallways etc. Typically a builder will use a flat paint which hides imperfections due to its low matt finish.  If you are making a decision regarding when to paint there is one other factor to take into account about the timing of painting decisions.

Builders know this, however most consumers may not be aware that it can take a new house as much as six months to fully dry and settle. Although kiln dried lumber is used it is not 100% dry and over the initial six months your home will shift and move slightly. Minor cracks and nail pops in the drywall may occur over the first year. Most builders will cover this in the warranty and will come back to make repairs, sanding out the nail pops and cracks, applying a little plaster and repainting.

This is the time when you will want to consider repainting the entire room with the color and quality of paint that you prefer. You can be confident that there the nail pops and cracks have been taken care of and your new paint will look great for many years. Consumers will also have a better sense of the color scheme they wish to use throughout their new home once they have moved in with their furniture and accessories. Apply semi-gloss or gloss paint in high traffic areas to avoid build up of finger marks and smudges.

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5. Prep- Work

Preparing both the surfaces that you will be painting as well as the surrounding area will ensure an professional and quality job, with no spillage onto other objects near were you are painting such as furniture or floor covering. Of course if you are able to paint your home prior to moving in and before the floor covering is installed your prep work will be much easier.

  1. Cover all areas that you do not want painted. This is extremely important when using an airless sprayer due to the floating paint mist that usually accompanies airless paint spraying.
  2. Assemble all the required tools. Do a quick check before you begin; You do not want to get started only to find that you need to make a quick run to the store for additional paint, brushes, masking tape etc.
  3. If you are painting exterior surfaces, pull shrubs back from the wall, cover if necessary, move cars and protect the walls of your neighbors from floating misted paint when using an airless paint sprayer.
  4. Some painters will protect themselves by using goggles, especially for ceiling work, and will also place petroleum jelly on their hands to avoid paint drying on their skin. Door hinges can be rubbed with the same jelly to avoid paint on these surfaces as well. Most professionals will not bother with this approach and will focus on being extra careful when painting near hinges etc. Many will also wear a peaked cap to protect their hair and eyes instead of goggles.
  5. Remove any dirt and dust prior to painting and you may need to pay special attention to any areas that are discolored from water or other materials that found their way onto the area to be painted. Worst case is that you may have to cut these out or re-plaster to cover the affected area.
  6. Plan your painting schedule so that walls have time to dry before the next coat is applied. Follow the manufacturers instructions regarding applying the next coat of paint.
  7. Consumers planning to install decorative molding will find it much easier to paint prior to installation. Minor touch ups may be necessary after installation; however this is much easier than painting the entire length of molding after installation.

Useful Links

The following are useful links relating to painting that may be of interest.

Surface Preparation, Priming

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6. Paints : Types, Quality, Texture, Color

Selecting the right color, quality and type of paint can make a world of difference to your enjoyment of your new home, admiration from friends and family as well as re-sale value of your home.

We will cover a few basic facts about paint which will help you make decisions about your selections.  High gloss paints have a high sheen look to them and will withstand finger prints, repeated washing and look great. However high gloss paints will also show imperfections much more than a low sheen paint or flat paint. Flat paints do not wear well and do not stand up to repeated washing and cleaning. Typically, kitchens and washrooms will be painted with semi-gloss or gloss paint, while other rooms may be painted with low sheen paint. Egg shell and satin paints bring a sense of warmth to a room, which are attractive for rooms such as family rooms and dens.

Using higher quality paint may mean the difference between only needing one coat of paint vs. two coats. High quality paints will have a better surface covering ability than other lower quality paints. Although you pay more for higher quality paints, they will last longer, will not fade as quickly and provide you with lasting satisfaction.

Most paint stores employ experienced people who can help and guide you with the selection of paint for your new home. Obtain several opinions and then make your decisions regarding quality and type of paint.

The most difficult decision most people have to deal with is the color of paint they will use. If you are not a decorator, or have difficulty figuring this aspect out, many paint stores and interior decorators can assist with color selection.   Several considerations that should be taken into account when choosing paint color for the interior of your home are:

  • Will you be selling your home in the near future; if so then neutral colors are usually best from a resale perspective
  • Complimentary color selection throughout the home is also important. Sharp contrasts from one room to another, especially in open concepts may not appeal to everyone.
  • Furniture and accessories can always be changed, however they can be used to accentuate the color of paint on the walls as well. For example, pillows on a couch can be used to harmonize the color on your walls with the color of your furniture. Area rugs can be used in the same manner.
  • There are literally thousands of colors of paint. With today’s modern technology, paint colors can be blended to match just about any shade including wallpaper as well as fabric. Borrow paint pallets or color strips from your local painter to take home and visualize what your home will look like once it is painted.
  • Of course if you are building a new home, you may be working from construction plans when you make your paint selection. One of the most important points to remember about selecting a paint color, is that it is always easily changed. Although frustrating, repainting a room is much easier than many other aspects of your homes construction, so don’t stress about selection just the right color.
  • Using a decorator who has experience in matching wall colors, flooring colors, furniture and accessorizing will be well worth the money as well as time. After taking the time to understand your preferences, they will provide you with lots of ideas and suggestions about color selection.
The links we have provided also refer to selection of paint colors to create a sense of warmth in a room, harmony and contrast, durability and balance. As we mentioned at the beginning, this can be the most difficult decision, yet provide you with a real sense of satisfaction. Remember, if you do not like the color, you can just re paint with another color or shade of the existing color.

Useful Links

The following are useful links relating to painting that may be of interest.

Principles of Paint

Paint Colors

Picking House Colors

Types of Paint

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7. Common Problems

As with all jobs around the home, preparation is key to a successful and rewarding painting experience. Ensuring that the proper tools are available, adequate painting supplies and most important cleaning supplies to clean and store your tools at the end of the day will go a long way to ensuring a successful do it yourself painting job.
New plaster must always be primed to ensure adequate adhesion of the main coat of paint. Many consumers will try to save money by avoiding this step and end up using much more paint. Primer is usually less expensive than the final coat of paint as well.
Part of your prep work is to cover furniture, doors, windows and flooring. Taking short cuts in this area usually results in paint splatters in all of the wrong areas. If you have the opportunity always paint prior to the installation of the floor coverings!
Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, paint at the proper temperature, and always make sure that your paint is well mixed prior to every use. Otherwise streaks and discolorations may result.
Paint in uniform continuous strokes with a brush or a roller. Some people recommend painting following an N pattern, while others recommend painting from dry to wet and wet to dry. Whichever method you use, take your time and apply the paint uniformly to ensure that there are no light patches.
If you need to paint the ceiling and especially if it is a stippled ceiling, always paint the ceiling first. Some of the stipple will come off and cling to the walls and the flooring. Wait until it is dry and then use a dry brush or mop to brush it off the walls. Otherwise the semi-gloss or glossy paint you may be using will hi-lite all of the stipple on the walls, leaving a less than satisfactory result.

Finally and again, we want to emphasize prep work. Fill all cracks and holes, sand rough spots, and wash the walls to remove all debris from the walls. If there are stains or water marks, you must clean these, remove them or paint them with a high hiding paint prior to adding your final coat of paint, otherwise these marks may bleed through your new paint.

Useful Links

The following are useful links relating to painting that may be of interest.

Paint Tips

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8. Summary

Many new homeowners will leave painting to the professionals, while many others will take the job on themselves as a means of saving money and ensuring the quality that they desire in their new home. Whichever you decide, it is a good idea do your homework. Selecting the right contractor for the job and selecting the right colors for your home will ensure many years of enjoyment in your new home and enhance your new homes resale value as well.

If you do decide to paint your home yourself, ensure that you practice safe working conditions, adequately prep your painting area, your tools and clean up materials and if possible complete your painting prior to floor coverings and furniture are installed.

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