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Home Improvement Guide 2007
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Ideas and suggestions for your next project, from simple plans to designing extensive renovations.
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Twenty-two top painting blunders
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9. Not identifying existing paint. Many older homes have oil-based paint on the walls. But homeowners most frequently turn to latex varieties when they want to paint. The problem: You can't put latex over oil unless you've coated it with a special primer first, says Hanby-Robie. Otherwise, you're gorgeous new paint job will peel off within the week.

10. Thinking all paint is the same. You have latex and oil. You have a variety of paint finishes from flat to eggshell (matte with just a hint of gloss), to semi-gloss and high-gloss. For a bedroom, you might choose flat or eggshell, while the adjoining bathroom gets the same paint shade in a more water resistant semi- or high-gloss.

While some of today's popular darker shades look too "chalky" in a matte finish, an eggshell has just enough gloss in it to give a professional matte appearance. Flat paint hides imperfections in a wall the best, while glossier versions can highlight them. "Glossy paint in the hands of an amateur is a no-no," says Lowell. His recommendation to do-it-yourselfers for trim: eggshell.

But Gillingham-Ryan believes that homeowners should choose trim finishes based on the style they prefer. Glossy trim will give you a more traditional look, while eggshell trim imparts a more contemporary appearance, he says. If your home is new and the walls are in good shape, a glossy or semi-gloss accent wall can look great.

In addition, there are special easy-to-clean versions that resist stains and scratches and eco-friendly paints low in volatile organic compounds, called low-VOC paints, which emit much less in the way of smells and gases.

11. Not asking for help. This one time it really pays to patronize the small, specialty paint stores, says Hanby-Robie. "You're buying more than paint, you're buying expertise," she says.

12. Not using best tools. One example: a paint edger kit. It's a mini roller with a brush guard that lines up with woodwork and trim. It allows you to paint close to the trim without actually painting the trim. "It's so much easier and you don't have to go through taping," says Hanby-Robie. Cost: $26.

13. Buying insufficient paint. Get all your paint and tools at once. That way, once you start, you don't have to stop. To ensure you have enough paint, measure the room. Pad in a little extra, just in case. And read the can to determine how much you need for the space. When it doubt, ask questions at the paint store.

14. Not examining paint early. Waiting until you start the project to open your paint cans for the first time. Hanby-Robie will never forget one on-air makeover she designed. The room was supposed to have been painted a lovely amethyst color. Instead, when she walked into the room prior to the taping, it was bubble-gum pink. "The guy at the paint store forgot to put the blue base in there," she recalls. Almost every color you use will be a mixture of colors and getting the right shade is important. So don't be afraid to check it before you leave the store.

-- Posted: April 4, 2007
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