Twenty-two top painting blunders
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.
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-
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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