Home Hardware Center

Painting Buying Guide

 

INTERIOR PAINT

Paint has many uses around your home aside from decoration. It protects you interior walls and wood surfaces from damage due to daily use, humidity and exposure to sunlight. So when it comes time to paint there are many factors to consider.


COLOR: Choosing the right color for your rooms is very important. You’re going to be looking at it for a long time. Our advice is that when you are choosing a color, start with a general idea. Then, once you know what you’re looking for, head to the paint department to narrow the search.

The paint chips that you’ll find in the paint department are created to try to provide you with the best possible representation of your finished color. Of course there are many factors that can alter your finished color. Anything from neglecting to prime your walls before painting to the lighting in the room will change your paints final look.

When you look at paint chips in the store, they won’t look the same as in your room. Pick a few variations of your color in the store then, take them out into the daylight. You’ll be amazed at the difference. Once you’ve done that, take them home. Look at the colors in the room that they’re intended for. Doing it this way will help to solidify your choice.


COLOR MATCHING: In the past matching an existing color was difficult. It took a little trial and error. Now, with the advent of Color Match technology, most colors can be matched quickly and with relative ease. So if you have to make a repair to an older wall and you don’t want to repaint the whole room, you can do that. If you have an item that you simply love the color, you can match that too.


TRY IT OUT: If you have concerns about how a color may actually look on the wall, go ahead and purchase a small “tester” can of each of your choices. Take them home, prep your wall and paint a one foot square of each choice. Once they’ve dried, you’ll have a real life example to make your decision by. 


SHEEN: The sheen you choose is often dependent upon the room you’re painting and the amount of daily abuse your paint will be put to. Sheen (or the amount of shine) is also tied to a paints durability.

Use this handy chart to help guide you. Of course, it’s only a guide, your choice is your own.


TYPE
SHEEN (0 to 5)
DURABILITY
USES
FLAT
None (0)
Medium-Low
Adult Bedrooms and other interior rooms
MATTE
Very Low (1)
Medium-Low
Adult Bedrooms and other interior rooms
EGGSHELL
Slight (2)
Medium
Dining rooms, Living Rooms
SATIN
Soft (3)
High
Kids rooms, Foyers, Hallways, Family Room
SEMI-GLOSS
Shiny (4)
High

Kitchens, Bathrooms, Door and Window Trim

HIGH GLOSS
Most Shine (5)
Very High
Kitchens, Doors and Window Trim

 

CLEANING YOUR PAINTED WALLS:

  • PREP FOR REPAINTING: Use a low sudsing cleaner and a scrub sponge to wash your wall. Using the scrub sponge will clean as well as rough up your surface for better adhesion. Be sure to dry your walls thoroughly and patch any cracks or holes before you begin to prime. 
  • GENERAL UPKEEP: Lets face it, people touch your walls all the time. That combined with dust, grime and pollution will make for a dirty wall over time. How do you clean them without damaging your nice paint job? Well, one of the most important factors is the paint that you’ve used. If it’s top quality, it should be able to take a little scrubbing without damage.
    • REGULAR CLEANING: For a general clean begin with just water and a soft cellulose sponge. For tougher dirt, add a tiny bit of dish soap to a bucket of warm water and use you soft sponge. 
    • TOUGHER STAINS: If your stain is really tough (heavy dirt, crayon marks) put together a mixture of 1 cup ammonia, 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup baking soda in 1 gallon of warm water. Once you’ve mixed that up, pour it into a spray bottle and spray the solution onto the wall. Then, simply scrub lightly with your sponge.


THINGS TO REMEMBER:

  • HOW MUCH PAINT DO I NEED: To determine the right amount of paint, first measure the length of your walls and multiply that by the height. This will give you the square footage in general. Don’t forget to measure the ceiling if you’re going to paint that as well. Then (using the same formula) determine the square footage of the doorways and windows. Since the doorways and windows are not areas being painted, subtract that number from the room’s overall square footage. Now, add 25% to the final number to determine your needs. One Gallon of quality paint should cover approximately 350 to 450 square feet. Remember to always buy a little more than you need, just in case you need to do some touch ups in the future.
  • DON’T SKIMP: Good quality paint is not inexpensive. But remember, you get what you pay for. If you skimp on quality due to price, you may end up with spotty results and will most likely have to re-paint sooner than you thought you would.
  • PRIME YOUR WALLS: This is extremely important! If you don’t want an older color bleeding through… Prime your walls. If you want the true color you picked out… Prime your walls! If you don’t want to use 4 coats to cover… Prime your walls!
  • ACCENTS: We’re talking moulding, chair rails, picture rails and the like. Think about giving your room extra flair by painting these in a complementary or even contrasting color, even white will make them pop. It’s your room, express yourself.
  • OIL OR WATER BASED: The biggest advantage of water based paints over oil based paints is the clean up. Simple soap and water will do it for water based paint. Oil based paints are very durable, but need volatile chemicals to clean brushes and rollers. Also  oil based paints will often contain VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) that have odors that can cause headaches and will need to be aired out 


TOOLS YOU WILL NEED:

  • Brushes and rollers
  • Roller pans and buckets
  • Drop Cloths 
  • Painter’s tape
  • Ladders
  • Gloves, eye protection and face masks

EXTERIOR PAINT

Your exterior paint goes a long way towards the beauty and curb appeal of your home. But it’s about more than just picking your favorite color. Which exterior paint will protect the home that protects you? This guide will help you make an informed decision about exterior paint and hopefully provide you with all the data to make an informed choice.


Did you know that the protective layer of paint that stands between your home and the ravages of the elements is only about the thickness of a human hair? Two coats of latex house paint is only about 0.004 of an inch thick, but it’s all that stands between your home and damage from sun, rain, sleet, snow and wind. Don’t let your home stand out in the elements unprotected. 

If you’re ready to tackle your home’s exterior paint there are a few things you’ll need to know before you begin.


TYPES OF EXTERIOR PAINT:

  • OIL BASED/ALKYD: These will give you a hard finish that is both durable and water resistant. Most often used by pros, these paints give great results but you will need chemicals to clean your gear after work. Oil based products need to be stirred… a lot. This prevents separation and will ensure better coverage. You will need to use brushes or rollers specifically designed for use with oil based paints. 
  • LATEX/ACRYLIC: Newer latex paints can be nearly as durable as their oil based counterparts. It’s easier to apply and resists fading in direct sunlight. If you choose a latex paint for your home make sure the label says its for exterior use. Latex exterior paint is easier cleaning, needing only soap and water.


To know if the older paint on your home is oil based or latex, try this method. Find a place where your existing paint is peeling and break off a piece. If it snaps right off, it’s probably oil based. A latex paint will bend a bit before it snaps off.


CHOOSE YOUR COLOR AND SHEEN:

  • COLOR: When you consider the color that you will be painting your home there are a few things you may want to keep in mind. 
    • First, take a look at your immediate neighborhood. You don’t have to paint your home to match your neighbors, but if your neighborhood has a general tone, you may want to choose colors that stay within those confines. Of course, your choice of color is a personal matter, so you do you. 
    • Remember that most homes are not painted in a single color. You have the main color of the walls, then you’ll also have a contrasting trim color. Sometimes you may even opt for a third accent color.
  • SHEEN: Whether eggshell, semi gloss or gloss, each different sheen has a benefit for your home’s exterior.
    • SATIN/EGGSHELL: This sheen has the least reflectivity of the bunch, making it great for use on your siding. It hides imperfections and the muted shine makes it harder for dirt to grab hold. 
    • SEMI-GLOSS: Perfect for windows and trim, semi-gloss is more durable and easier cleaning. It really stands up to the weather as well. It’s extra shine adds a nice accent to your home’s look.
    • HIGH GLOSS: When it comes to doors, shutters and anything you may touch, high gloss gives an added level of durability and dependent. Super easy to clean and beautiful to look at, high gloss needs to be applied carefully as it’s sheen magnifies any imperfections.


ATTRIBUTES OF GOOD EXTERIOR PAINT:

  • APPLIES EVENLY: If your paint is too thin it will run. If it’s too thick you’ll end up with ridges and clumps. A quality paint will go on smoothly and evenly.
  • COVERS EASILY: The fewer coats the better. A good, quality paint will cover well in two coats. That’ll save you money.
  • DRIES SMOOTHLY & QUICKLY: A lesser quality paint will tend to dry unevenly. A good quality paint will dry evenly, quickly and without leaving drips or runs.
  • LOW VOC’s: Volatile Organic Compounds are much less prevalent now than in the past. These VOC’s can cause dizziness and headaches and some have been linked to pollution, smog and even cancer. Things are much better now. Regulations have reduced the amount of VOC’s present in newer paints. But to be safe always use gloves, eye protection and a respirator (if the fumes are too much). 
  • MILDEW & STAIN RESISTANCE: Paints with mildew inhibitors and stain resistance will save you elbow grease in the long run.


TIME TO PREPARE:

Here’s where the hard work really begins. That means prepping your surface by scraping, sanding or peeling the existing paint off with a heat gun. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. Begin with cleaning your surfaces with a light detergent and a scrub brush. Paint adheres best to surfaces that are clean and dry.
  2. Once your walls are clean and dry it’s time to scrape or sand away any loose paint. If you leave cracks or chips in your old paint, they will develop into cracks and chips in your new paint. BE AWARE: If your home was built before 1978, you may have lead based paint somewhere in the layers of previous paint. Lead based paint dust is very dangerous if breathed in. If your home is pre-1978, test your paint for lead with a kit that you can pick up in most hardware stores. If the test shows lead in your paint it would be best and safest to have it stripped by professionals.
  3. Repair or replace broken siding or trim.
  4. Fill any holes or dents.
  5. Caulk gaps and joints.
  6. PRIME YOUR WALLSDon’t skimp and skip this step. Priming allows paint to adhere better. This has the benefit of saving you money. Exterior house paint will cover better using fewer coats if you prime your walls first. Make sure you use primer clearly labeled for exterior use. Use only oil based primer if you intend to use oil based paints and latex primer for latex paint.
    1. Some newer paints have the primer built right into the mix.
    2.  If you have to cover knots in your exterior siding use a BIN Shellac based primer over them first. This way they won’t show through. 


PRO TIPS:

  • Make sure that the outside temperature is between 50 and 90 degrees and that humidity will be low. Of course, avoid painting in rainy periods.
  • Sometimes you have to spend money to save money. Using the best quality paint you can afford will help you in the long run. Better quality means better ingredients, so your paint will need fewer coats, last longer and hold up better in the elements.
  • Start painting your walls from the roof down. Once you’ve completed your walls then do your trim work.
  • As you paint, keep a wet edge to prevent lap marks.
  • Once your paint has dried, you can clean any dirt or stains that develop with a light detergent (dish soap), a scrub brush and a garden hose. (You can also use a power washer starting at a lower PSI).
  • Never put new acrylic paint over old oil based paint (or vice versa).This is a recipe for disaster and will leave your new paint peeling away.


TOOLS YOU’LL NEED

Paint Brushes / Paint Scraper / Wire Brush / Patching Paste / Putty Knife / Painter's Tape / Caulk & Caulk Gun / Extension Ladder / Bucket / Sandpaper / Extension Poles / Roller Cover / Roller Frames / Paint Tray / Drop Cloths / Respirators / Safety Glasses 


Once you’ve gotten the work done, you can expect that a well done paint job will last between 10 to 15 years. Longer if you’re painting over stucco. So unless you change your mind about the color, you won’t be repeating this process anytime soon. That is why it is so very important to take all the variables into account and make your choices accordingly. If you change your mind, it’s not going to be cheap.


But a new paint job will improve the look and feel of your home, making it seem practically new again. It will certainly improve your “Curb Appeal”, a new paint job can increase the selling price of your home by up to $6000. That’s a significant bump and well worth the effort.