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The Right Paint For Your DIY Project: First Things

By Edited Aug 13, 2015 1 0

The brand of paint you choose is important.  However, if other aspects of your painting project are neglected, the best paint and precise color will be undermined and its value diminished.  Importantly, paint should be purchased from dealers who know their products and will help you know how best to use them.  Following these important suggestions will ensure a successful outcome with the right paint.

paint project

1.  Determine the status of the walls and ceilings that will be painted

New sheet rock, previously painted, light or dark color?  Are they smooth, porous or textured?  Is there wallpaper on the walls?  Is it removable without damaging the sheet rock?  Test it to make sure.  What is beneath the wallpaper that is being removed?  The answer to these questions will help determine your decisions.

2.  Prepare the walls according to their need. 

The best paint will be a loss if surfaces are not properly prepared.  Avoid using combination paint and primer products.  Address specific needs.  A PVA or latex primer may be all that's needed, or a 100% acrylic bonding primer may be needed, or in some cases none may be needed.  When using primer, ask your paint expert to tint it close to your finish color.

3.  Calculate the square footage of your wall space.

Most product labels state a coverage rate of 400 square feet per gallon.  This will vary based on the surface and color of the wall and on the color and sheen of the new paint. 

Bright or dark colors tinted with organic tints rather than oxide tints are very sheer and require an undercoat of a similar color, or up to three coats of finish paint could be required.  Two coats are always recommended (#8) and with a similar color of the undercoat, will give a good finish.  Bright reds, oranges and yellows, including yellow-blue and yellow-green make coverage difficult even in the best paints.  For two coats, calculate a coverage rate of no more than 250 square feet per gallon when applying colors such as these.  A qualified paint expert will advise you correctly.

If you have calculated correctly, you will use all or most of your paint and will tightly store any left over for touching up when necessary.

4.  Have a general idea of the paint color and sheen you want to use

If you need help, your paint advisor will help you narrow down the selection, but he/she should not make the final decision for you.  However, good counsel will enable you to see the colors in a way that is pertinent to your need.  This person will guide you to the point where you will be able to analyze your situation correctly and feel completely confident about the choice you are making.  A quick study of the power of color may be helpful.

If you still have doubt, purchase only one gallon.  Apply all of it; it serves as one coat of paint and the large area of color gives you a better perception of how it will really look.  Small samples of paint are a trend that allows you to inexpensively determine if you like a certain color.  Avoid the confusion of painting many different samples of colors all over the walls.  That will not help you visualize the entire room when finished, nor will you perceive the color correctly next to other colors.  If you don’t know where to start, choose one or two small samples, paint onto a 2’x2’ piece of cardboard or dull poster board and study it in different areas and at different times of the day in various lighting.

5.  De-prioritize the price of paint.

There are two main categories of quality interior wall paint.  The standard acrylic is still the most popular and will range in price from $25 to $35 per gallon.  The second category is increasing in popularity but is still very expensive being on the front end of the trend.  The environmentally safe paint is formulated with very few or zero VOCs (volatile organic compounds that contain carbon chemicals that readily evaporate into the atmosphere). The price of these products averages $50 to $55 per gallon.  If paint disposal is a concern to you, or if you are physically sensitive to standard paint and feel the higher price is justified, the green paint products are a good choice for the money as they yield an excellent paint performance and the highest environmental quality.  The best you can buy are paints from the Gennex line by Benjamin Moore.

Do not look for “cheap” paint; its application will cost you time and tribulation and usually total just as much in the end when more is needed.  Compare apples to apples.  “Premium,” “professional” and “economy” grades mean different things by different manufacturers.  Also, some manufacturers produce generic paint to be labeled for many different brand outlets.  Paint with primer is mostly a marketing technique.  Paint that is 100% acrylic may be as effective as a paint-with-primer product when a specific primer need is not present. 

The price of paint should include quality service with expert advice and instruction.  Behr has an intense marketing strategy.  However, one does not usually get the premium and personal service at mass merchandise retailers. 

  Highly prioritize the choice of who you will pay for your paint and service.

This could have an effect on the success of your project.  Your company should keep detailed records of your purchases. These will show any color adjustment changes.  Exactly the same product and formula can be made again if repairs or changes are later made in your room.

Did I say color adjustments?  It happens.  It’s important to get the color right.  Your paint expert should be understanding and very willing to accommodate your decision.  Also, it should go without saying, your expert should be able to match any brand’s color in their own product.

7.  Applicators are as important as your paint.

Using the wrong one can interfere with the intended quality of the paint.  Always use the better quality naps and brushes.  A good roller nap will pick up and hold paint and then release it properly onto the wall.  It should be the appropriate thickness for the surface.  

Important!  Do not keep rolling after the nap is empty.  This will actually take the paint back off the wall and make streaks.  Get the paint into the nap and onto the wall.  At the same time, you should not try to do the job in “one coat”.  Nor should you expect “one-coat” paint to give you the beauty that two coats will.

8.  Do not skimp on paint.

Two coats are always better.  Many stop with one coat because it looks covered or because the label said you could.  The second coat evens the thickness of the paint on the wall creating a more uniform and desired pigment.  It also brings up and evens any sheen.  Two coats of paint give a greater depth of beauty.

Expect some degree of trial and error.

Experience will make future decisions easier.  Don’t be distracted with marketing gimmicks focusing on the container or some new trendy term that implies shortcuts.  Follow these suggestions and you will have the right paint and a finished project that shows it.

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