5 Major Painting Mistakes to Avoid

Tony 04/17/2024
5 Major Painting Mistakes to Avoid
Now that spring has arrived, it's the perfect time to spruce up your home -- and maybe do a bit of redecorating. There's no better way to freshen up a room than with a new coat of paint; it's a highly affordable and effective way to make a tired space look cheery and bright. But before you get started, you might want to learn how to avoid some of the most common painting pitfalls.

  1. Failing to Prep the Room: You're going to end up with lackluster results if you don't take the time to make sure the space is in proper condition for painting. You'll need to clean the walls prior to starting to remove any dust or grime, use drop cloths to cover the floors and furniture, and cover the doorknobs and outlets to ensure there's no splatter. You may also want to use painter's tape around windows and baseboards to prevent bleeding. Make sure to smooth out any cracks or gaps prior to painting so that these flaws will be adequately covered later on. Putting in the effort beforehand will pay off when you finally finish with your painting.
  2. Picking the Wrong Paint: If you want to minimize your chances of painting the same space multiple times, you'll want order some paint chips and paint samples to do a small test drive at home to see how the paint you've chosen looks in a given space. Picking out paint from a store or online can be tough, especially because colors can look drastically different in various lighting conditions. Make sure that you pay attention to the finish of your paint, as well as the color. If you like a matte finish, don't pick out a paint with a satin or semi-gloss designation. Don't feel like you need to rush this process, either. It's much better to take a little longer finding the right paint than to rush to pick out something and realize too late that you're unhappy with the color or finish.
  3. Not Reading the Ingredients: We tend to read the ingredient labels when we select the food we buy -- so why don't homeowners do the same when choosing their paints? Considering that the chemicals in many readily available paints and types of primer for painting have been linked to health concerns, many families are taking the time to really examine what's in these home improvement materials. A recent report found that products with VOC (volatile organic compound) levels of over 500 parts per billion could cause issues for those with chemical sensitivities. To make certain your paint is as healthy as possible, look for low VOC paints, low odor paints, and those that won't cause issues for people with allergies, asthma, or other respiratory issues.
  4. Skipping the Primer: To ensure that your paint coverage is as smooth and opaque as possible, you can't afford to skip the priming step. Primer for painting provides a surface to which the paint can adhere. Without it, your paint job might not last as long. It might also not appear quite right in color or in finish. That's because a primer for painting will essentially seal the surface of the wall and keep the paint from seeping in later on. If you want to obtain a great final result the first time you paint, you'll need to get your hands on some primer for painting and use it correctly.
  5. Using the Wrong Brushes: Some people assume that all brushes are the same, but that's not true at all. Cheap brushes often produce an inferior paint job, so don't be afraid to spend a little more on a trusted brand. You should also pay attention to the type of brush you're buying and match it up to the kind of paint you're using. Latex paints require brushes with synthetic bristles, while oil-based paints need natural bristle brushes. Synthetic brushes are often recommended for water-based wood finishes as well, but you may also want to ensure your brushes are health- and eco-conscious. Using the wrong brush can keep your walls from looking their best.
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