Interior Painting Tips

Painting brushes

Interior Painting Tips

Painting = Profits

Interior painting is one of the quickest ways to transform the look of your home, and one of the least expensive. That’s a true statement, but if you do it the wrong way, you may make the situation worse. Yes, painting the interior is an excellent decision, but painting without properly cleaning and preparing the walls first will result in only a mediocre finished product. Worse yet, if you don’t check the type of paint that’s already on the walls, the new paint won’t adhere. What a waste of time and money! Many older homes have an oil-based paint, and modern latex paint won’t adhere to it properly.  Before you paint, clean with a mixture of TSP and water. Use on baseboards, doors, light switches and window casings.

interior paint paint brushes

The Golden Rules of Interior Painting

  1. Whatever you do, don’t paint over wallpaper! Wallpaper has to be completely removed, and after you’ve carefully removed every bit of it, it may require wall patching. If the wall was not ‘sized’ before the wallpaper was installed, you may have some work ahead of you to remove it cleanly. Repairing walls back to ideal painting condition is a meticulous process, and, if not done with care, all imperfections will be revealed.
  2. Don’t make the mistake of painting the walls and ceilings to hide odors, because it won’t happen. We get lots of calls requesting the removal of the odor after prospective clients have painted, and unfortunately, we have to give them the bad news. If you don’t thoroughly clean and deodorize first, the odors might take a holiday, but they come back permanently shortly afterwards, because you’ve now sealed them in.
  3. When the wall paint has faded or has streaks or stains, you need to use ‘block out’ paint (high-hiding primer). Otherwise, the streaks and stains will bleed through your new paint. It will also be obvious where you stopped and started the painting process.
  4. Don’t try to save money by not painting trim and doors when you paint your walls. The old paint is really noticeable against the new work. You need to use a good primer designed for that purpose when you paint over oil-based paints, or the new paint will not stick. Buy good quality paint to have superior results and save time. Poor quality paint actually takes more time to apply and takes more strokes and more coats to cover completely. Cheap paint products are no bargain in the end.
  5. The recipe to a clean, quick and great drywall paint finish is simple: fill all holes with drywall compound, allow adequate time to dry, then sand, wipe away all dust and prime. Use drop clothes to cover floors and any furniture that’s in the room to help minimize mess, use quality materials, and make sure your edges are straight.
  6. Does the home have older wall materials? Lath and plaster require a slightly different approach. Due to inconsistencies common with this type of wall, we recommend using flat paint so the imperfections aren’t as obvious as they would be with a more reflective eggshell finish.
  7. Stippled or ‘popcorn’ ceilings are another finish that was popular at one time. Builders loved finishing ceilings this way because it was a cheaper way to complete a room, allowing them to skip seaming drywall joints, because the stippling process covered all imperfections. When these ceilings have water damage, it is next to impossible to repair it invisibly. If you have to repair it, you will probably see it. For a smooth look, some people will scrape the textured material off the ceiling, then mud and tape, sand, add the finish plaster coat, prime and paint the ceiling. This is a big, messy job, but the end results look great and are well worth the effort. An added benefit is that if spot repairs become necessary in the future, they can be done easily and invisibly. If the stippled ceiling was previously painted over, it may be more difficult to remove the textured finish. If, instead, you decide to paint a textured ceiling, you have to use an oil-based paint, and lots of it, as textured surfaces are really absorbent.

Interior paint roller

Speaking from Experience

A previous customer wanted us to touch up some spots on a wall using the original paint she’d purchased. We asked, “Are you sure you want that?” She said she was sure, so we did as she asked, and then showed her the results. The wall had a spotted and tie-dyed look to it. Here’s why: painted walls fade over time from the sun, and paint in a can lose its luster as it ages. Add the two together and you end up with a few different tones.

She was taken aback, we had a chuckle together, and then we did it the right way for her. The right way is to paint from corner to corner to eliminate the speckled and mismatched look completely.

I remember a customer who had all the loud colors of the 80s on his walls, and he was anxious to repaint – in the same loud colors. This is perfectly fine – if the homeowner is staying in that home. However, if the object in repainting is to sell the house, loud colors are a no-no. Any reputable paint store can recommend more neutral colors, the colors of the year or shades that other families are buying. You do not want to paint every room a separate distinct color – this makes a house look disconnected and choppy, and actually makes it feel smaller. The goal when selling is to choose colors with universal appeal, and that is coordinated throughout the home, making it appear airy and open, and seem larger to prospective buyers.

Dave’s Toolbox TIP: Paint takes about 30 days to cure, so if you are cleaning walls that were accidentally marked after they were painted, take care, as you can easily rub off your new paint job.

– David Collier, President, Prep’n Sell