The finishing touches on your home mean everything. When it comes to paint, you want it to look perfect. But a proper paint job is so much more than a bucket and a paintbrush. Just like an actor on stage has hundreds of moving parts and a team behind him, a well-painted wall will only make its debut if the preparations are done properly – and sometimes that goes all the way back to drywall. Read on to find out what you need to know about painting your walls.
Step One: Specifying
Getting the paint specified early on in your project will help it move along smoothly and rapidly. Here are some tips when selecting the right paint for your home:
- Paint comes in different sheens (i.e., shininess or glossiness). Paints with a higher gloss are
usually more durable, but they reflect more light and thus will show every single bit of uneven texture, patches, and joints on the wall. Paints with more of a matte finish are not as durable, but they are better at hiding imperfections.
- It is conventional to paint ceilings with more of a matte paint. (Although there are exceptions to every rule, and you will find high-gloss paint on many unique New York artists’ homes.)
- Interior walls are usually painted in flat or eggshell (a middle-of-the-road sheen).
- Interior wood trim (including doors and windows) is usually painted in semi-gloss and sometimes gloss.
- Exterior wood trim is usually painted with gloss, although this is not always the case.
- The body of the house (exterior) is usually painted in a lower gloss.
We recommend specifying only the highest-quality paint products on the market – either Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams. In our experience, it is not worth it to use any other brand of paint.
Step Two: Drywall Finish
Before painting even begins, you definitely want to check the quality of the drywall finish. There are different levels of quality when it comes to drywall – from Level 1 (no finish) to Level 5 (highest-quality finish). Be sure to tell your Contractor what level of finish you want for your walls when creating the bid for your project, because the quality of finish does affect the price.
Our Quality Control Division checks the quality of the drywall finish on each of our projects before the painters even begin their work. We use a high-powered halogen light to show all imperfections, and we require that the drywall finishers filter their plaster through a cheesecloth to filter out sediment.
Once the drywall finish is satisfactory, you can move on to paint preps.
Step Three: Paint Preps
When it comes to paint, most of the work is in the preps. The painters should take great care to tape everything off, from trim to hardware. Drop cloths should be used to cover furniture and flooring, and if it is an exterior paint job, shrubs and flower beds should be protected, as well. Nails and slight imperfections in the woodwork should be corrected by the painters before they begin. The walls should be made clean and free from dust, dirt and grease spots.
Step Four: Primer
Primer is a special base coat that is usually applied on a new, clean surface that hasn’t already been painted. It is used as a sort of adhesive to give the paint something to stick to. This makes the paint more durable and makes it last longer.
Primer is not actually paint. It has the same consistency as paint and is applied the same way, but you would never use it as the final coat on anything.
Step Five: Painting
If all previous steps have been done well, then painting should be the easiest part of the project. Whether using a machine, a roller or a brush, applying the paint to a properly prepped wall is like spreading butter on toast. If you have used a good primer, then you should only need one or two coats.
The moral of the story is, if the quality of the paint job in your home is unsatisfactory, the problem is likely either a) the quality of the paint, or b) prior steps done incorrectly. Using the information in this article, you can work with your Contractor or Designer to ensure your walls are smooth, beautiful and long-lasting.
Nelson Construction and Renovations, a family business founded in 2006, is a design-build company that specializes in high-end remodels, home additions, and custom homes. With our headquarters in Clearwater, Florida, we serve homeowners all over Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. We are an award-winning member of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry and have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
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