House Painting Mistakes Almost Everyone Makes
You’ve picked a theme, you have the furniture ready to go, you’ve spent time picking out every accessory down to the throw pillows. Your vision for your room remodel is as clear as day. Now comes the moment that can make or break the whole project—painting. There is so much that can go wrong at this juncture that it may make you hesitant to pick up a brush. Here's how to avoid the house painting mistakes almost everyone makes so the project goes off without a hitch.
Picking Paint Without Testing It
When you are first handed a bundle of swatches and told to pick one, you may feel like a kid in a candy store. But not every candy in a store will match your tastes, and likewise, not every color will look good in a room, regardless of how pretty it looks on the swatch. There are plenty of factors in a room that will impact how the color looks-- the undertone of the wall, the lighting in the space, the color of other furniture, flooring, and other paints you may want to use in the room.
Bring the paint in the room and paint a large rectangle on the wall separate from other paints you may be testing, keeping an eye on it at different times of the day once it’s dried. This will give you a better sense of what the color really looks like in the space to help you decide if you want to use it or not.
Not Preparing Your Surfaces
Once you have paint, you will probably be eager to get it on the wall. But a lot can accumulate on your walls without you realizing that will keep paint from adhering to the wall, such as dust, grime, oils, cobwebs, and stains. Wiping down the walls before painting will remove these things and ensure a better finish. Places where old paint has cracked or buckled will also prevent you from getting the perfectly smooth paint job you want, so taking time to remove the old paint will also be part of this step.
Keep in mind you shouldn’t only prepare the surfaces that you want to paint in a room, but also the surfaces that you don’t want to paint. Paint is not always easy to remove, so covering or removing these surfaces will prevent a headache for you later. The floor should be covered with a tarp, faceplates should be removed, and outlets and switches covered. You should also use painter’s tape to protect any trim you aren’t trying to paint.
Forgetting About Pets
We love our animal companions, and our animal companions love us… which can become a problem when we’re trying to paint a room. Animals getting into our paint supplies and then running around the house can cause a huge mess. It can also be unsafe for your pets if you are using paint high in harsh chemicals. The best way to get around this is to make sure your animals are closed up in another part of the house and to use pet-friendly paint.
Unless you are using self-priming paint or are painting over an already painted surface, you should always use primer. Primer helps ensure that the wall beneath is sealed, which improves paint adhesion and ensures you won’t have to do too many extra coats to get to the color you want. Primer is also especially helpful when you are painting over a wall that is darker than the paint you are using. In this case, the primer will help your color appear closer to its “true” hue.
Improper Paint Order
Avoid haphazardly throwing paint on the wall in any order. Gravity is at work, making your paint drip as you work. The best way to paint your room is to start from the top of the wall and work your way down so that you can paint over any drips as they happen. If you are painting your ceiling, you will definitely want to paint it before you paint anything else.
Most people want a smooth finish when they’re done painting—a nice color without any evidence of brush marks. Over-brushing, or using too many strokes back and forth, works against this goal. There are several strategies you can use to counteract over-brushing. Only use the minimum number of strokes to get the paint down and level it off, then avoid going over it again, especially while it is in the process of drying. You can also use the strategy of tipping off, which involves using gentle brushstrokes for a smoother finish.
Not Factoring in Weather
Different weather conditions impact the way paint dries, specifically temperature and humidity. Lower temperatures can make paint thicken, making it dry much more slowly, while extreme heat can cause the paint to thin and dry too quickly. Humidity has a similar effect, with high humidity causing water-based paints to thin. Either condition can affect how the paint looks as it dries, such as causing it to sag or buckle. Also, keep in mind the fact that some paints take longer than a day to cure and may be drying into the night hours. Depending on your location and the time of year, the temperature may change drastically during the night, which can impact how paint dries as well.
Not Letting Things Dry
When you’ve finally got your paint looking the way it should, it’s easy to get overly excited and jump the gun and move the furniture in. But not letting things dry fully is a house painting mistake almost everyone makes, and it's the quickest way to smudge a perfectly smooth paint job. Different types of paint take different lengths of time to dry, depending on if they’re oil, latex, or water-based or if they’re glossy or eggshell. As we mentioned previously, the weather can also make paint dry more slowly or quickly. Keep this in mind before moving furniture in or even before adding additional coats of paint.
Taking the Painter’s Tape off Incorrectly
Painter’s tape is essential for protecting your trim and paint job, but it can work directly against both if it’s taken off at the wrong time or in the wrong way. For the tape to do its job, it has to be taken off only when the paint is already dry, but if you wait too long you can also risk chipping at your new paint job. Painter’s tape should be taken off within 24 hours of the paint being completely dry. When you’re ready to take it off, use a razor or putty knife to score the edge of the tape, then pull it off slowly at either a 45- or 90-degree angle.
Your remodeling dreams don’t have to become nightmares because of painting mistakes. All it takes is taking a little extra time at every step to ensure a beautiful paint job that will make your vision a reality.