Beyond the Basics: Tips for Painting Your Home
By Lee Michael Katz
By Lee Michael Katz
Painting your home, either an interior room or the outside of the house, involves lots of considerations. We offer some key advice to help you make the right moves.
When you paint your home, picking the right color is a primary decision — but smart and safe painting also involves other considerations. Here's how to handle several home-painting questions, whether they're related to climate, colors or contractors:Exterior Painting: Weather Matters
Safety: DIY vs. Hiring a Pro
- When it comes to durability in various climate conditions, all paints are not created equal. The old maxim "you get what you pay for" is just as true with paint, and when you consider a new paint job should protect your home for many years, it makes sense to do some research to find a quality brand, even if just to make sure your contractors are using quality paint. Also, some types of paint are formulated for different climates. This is worth investigating, particularly if you live in an area where the weather is tough on your home, like the shore or in especially hot or cold climates.
- Does your region alternate between hot and cold, depending on the time of year? "For outdoor use, an acrylic latex paint can deal with the stress of seasonal climate change," says Danny Lipford, home improvement expert on The Weather Channel.
- When you plan to paint, consider what's going on outside. If you live in a high-humidity area, choose your timing carefully. "Moisture in the air keeps water-based paint from drying," notes the DIY Network. "Skip the humid-afternoon paint project so slow-drying walls won't wreck the rest of your day."
- Consider whether you can do the job safely. The do-it-yourself (DIY) route is cheaper and potentially more satisfying, but requires ladders, physical skills and knowledge of potential danger when painting high areas. If you have any hesitation, hire an insured professional to do the job. And check their status with the Better Business Bureau.
- How do you pick a contractor? "Ask around and get references, get estimates and interview the potential contractors," says Richard Greene, CEO of the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America. Greene recommends asking the following:
- Does the painting company have proof of insurance?
- Are they bonded and licensed, if local laws require it?
- How long have they been in business?
- Do they subcontract their work?
- Do they offer a written guarantee?
- What are their safety protocols?
- If you opt to forgo professional help, the Paint Quality Institute reminds you to be smart about safety. Keep the room well ventilated with open windows and fans to prevent fumes from building up, and use eye protection such as goggles.
- Be mindful of your materials, and know exactly what you're putting on your walls. Even water-based paints can emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are chemicals that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Ask your contractor or paint supplier for information on which paints are best for the planet, as well as your home.
There are websites that can offer recommendations and reviews, like Angie's List and Yelp. Whether you do it yourself or hand over the brush to a professional, keep painting safety in mind so you can be worry-free and enjoy your home's new look.