A professional paint job can make an old house look like a million bucks. Yes, it’s true: new paint applied by an experienced painter can do wonders for your home and your psyche. So, if you’re thinking about painting your home—or hiring someone to do the work for you—read on!
You’ll find everything you need to know here, from determining what type of paint to use (oil or latex? flat or glossy?) to how long the job might take (a few days up to a few weeks).
You’ll find out how to prep the surface for painting, how to sand and clean and paint woodwork, how to paint walls, ceilings, and trim. You’ll also get some handy tips on how to use a paint sprayer (an easy-to-assemble and easy-to-use tool that may save you lots of time and energy) and what kind of paint brush is best suited for which job.
A couple of notes about this article:
First, it’s not a cold, hard “how-to” manual that tells you exactly what to do. It’s really a guide to help you decide if painting your home is the right thing for you—or whether you should hire someone else to give it a try.
Second, some tasks covered here (like installing trim) can be handled by the builder or contractor who will be finishing up your home. Still, if you’re thinking of painting your own house, this article should help.
So, get ready for a new look! And for a new era in home ownership. Painting is one of the simplest and most rewarding things you can do to transform your house into a great place to live.
“If you have paint in your pot, you’re not a painter.” – David Hockney on the importance of getting experience.
Size And Price Of Paint Pots & Colors
THINNER OR THICKER PAINT?
Most painters use two types of paint: a thinner (also called “single coat”) that covers bare surfaces, and a thicker (also called “double coat”) that fills in the spaces between thicker coats. Which you choose depends on what you’re trying to accomplish—and which type of paint is cheaper.
If you’re painting floors or a ceiling, a thinner paint will let the base coat (the color you start with) show through. A thicker paint lets you mix color into the surface and eliminate bare spots.
The thickness of paint isn’t as important for walls. You’ll see what I mean after you read the next section.
What’s The Difference Between Oil & Latex?
Latex paints can be made from natural or synthetic rubber. Synthetic latex tends to be more expensive, but it makes painting a breeze because there’s no mixing required.
Natural latex tends to be thicker, but it’s softer and more likely to flake or peel.
For interior walls, you’ll find that pretty much all paint will work either way—so it makes no difference whether you choose oil-based or latex paints. Oil-based paint is usually cheaper than latex, and the two types have virtually the same properties.
Oil-based paint is made of two primary ingredients: solvent and emulsifiers. The solvents evaporate during application, leaving a layer of clear lacquer behind. The emulsifiers keep the paint from drying too quickly.
This type of paint goes on smoothly and evenly, with no brush strokes or streaks. It dries quickly, but it’s not as durable as latex or polymer-based paints.
Oil-based paints should never be used to paint exterior walls because the solvents allow water to penetrate the surface. In addition, the paint will turn yellow in direct sunlight.
That’s why oil-based paints are only recommended for interior use.
Most latex paints are water-based, although a few use a mixture of water and other liquids or alcohol as their base. The water-free paints are usually more expensive.
Latex paints are softer and more forgiving than oil-based paints. They’re also slower to dry. They tend to flake and crack, especially on old paint or if the surface isn’t prepared properly.
You’ll often see a warning against using latex on high-traffic areas such as living rooms or hallways because of the possibility of accidents caused by flaking paint and drips in hard-to-reach spots.
Latex paints are the best type to use on exterior surfaces because their water content makes them more durable than oil-based paints. They’re also easier to clean off your hands and clothes.