Expert painters offer tips on selecting paint
We spoke with three highly rated companies on Angie’s List to find out what homeowners should do to select the best paint for their interior project.
Joshua Devries, owner, Devries Painting, Fishers, Ind.
Devries: I ask clients what their long-term goals are. Do you have kids and need more durability for the walls? Do you want to focus on washability, or do you want something that can just be touched up?
Miller: There’s flat finish paint; soft eggshell paint in a low sheen or a standard, softer finish, which I prefer, used in bathrooms and kitchens; semi-gloss paint, used on trim, doors, bathrooms, kitchen and laundry rooms; and a gloss paint I don’t recommend, because it shows every imperfection, especially dimples in doors.
Carter: The best choice for any house is an eggshell or satin finish for the walls. These paints contain more acrylic, which gives paint durability and allows it to be washable and is especially useful in the kitchen and bathroom. If you have an older home and there are a lot of imperfections or plaster walls, you’re better off going with a flat finish because it hides the imperfections.
What’s the best way to choose colors?
Devries: I tell people to follow their instincts. I offer to put color samples on the walls. Paint colors will look different on the wall than the color chart due to the surroundings.
What kinds of paints are available?
Devries: Almost all painters today use water-based latex paints. Oil-based paints are rarely used because they eventually crack, especially near windowsills where moisture contacts it, and maintaining oil-based paint is very difficult. It has a tendency to discolor over time, and you have to use chemicals like thinner to remove it.
Carter: There’s more acrylic in the latex paints. Acrylic is what gives the paint durability and allows it to be washable. If you want a specific decorating look, oil-based paints are very shiny.
What kind of preparation should be done before my home’s interior is painted?
Miller: Remove items off your walls and knickknacks off furniture. Move large furniture out of the way, unless you hired the contractor to move it for you.
Carter: I always recommend completely sanding the walls before applying your first coat of finish. It roughs up the walls to help the paint adhere.
If I live in an older home, how can I or my contractor protect my family from the harmful effects of lead paint?
Miller: If you’re in a historic environment or in an older neighborhood, you’ll want to hire a professional to test your home for lead-based paint. However, in any homes from 1980 or prior, you’ll want to test any kind of popcorn ceiling for asbestos, which is more prevalent than lead these days.
What measures do you take to protect flooring, baseboards, trim, furniture and so forth?
Miller: The contractor will cover tiles and hardwood floors with builder or rosin paper, seal and tape kitchen cabinets and cover ceiling fans, countertops, vanities, toilets and shower areas with plastic. They should cover furniture with plastic too, as tarps have a tendency to move.
Devries: An estimate should list out all the things the painter is going to do and everything should be explained to the customer.