There’s no better way to breathe new life into your home than a fresh coat of paint. Whether you’re painting the interior or exterior of your home, hiring an experienced Portland painting contractor is the best way to ensure the end result looks great and lasts for years.
However, if you’re a DIY master and simply must handle the job on your own, there are some common mistakes you need to avoid. As you start planning how to tackle the process, reference this list to make sure you’re not committing any of the following 10 deadly house painting sins.
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1. Improper preparation
Painting on a dirty surface is a big faux-pas.
Eager and impatient painters often forget the most important step in the process: preparing the walls.
Start by scraping away any old, chipping paint. Then, move forward with a good cleaning. Wash your walls and if you’re working on an indoor project, vacuum around your baseboards. If you’re painting the exterior, clear away debris and trim back any bushes or branches.
In addition to dirt and debris, you need to consider the quality of your surface. For instance, you’ll never good a good result if you’re painting on rotting wood.
2. Not using painter’s tape
Painter’s tape ensures crisp edges and a professional-looking result.
If you’re not a detail-oriented person, then taking time to apply painter’s tape around the perimeter of your surface will probably be your worst nightmare. Trust us, it’s worth it.
By the way, it’s called painter’s tape for a reason… it’s the best tool for the job. Using masking tape or another variety will lead to low-quality, messy results. Always use painter’s tape. A few other tips:
- Make sure your tape is straight
- Seal the tape very tightly along the surface
- Remove the tape before the paint dries completely
3. Failing to protect the rest of the house
Before you even open the first can of paint, make sure your entire workspace is covered. Paint has a nasty habit of ending up all over the place, so you need to protect against spills, drips, and sprays. This is particularly important if you’re working on an interior painting project.
Here’s a checklist of prepwork:
- Move all furniture
- Cover floor with a drop cloth, sealing the edges with tape where necessary
- Remove light fixtures and electrical wall plates
- Make a plan for kids and pets so they don’t run in mid-project and make a mess
4. Forgetting Primer
Never skip primer.
A primer helps prepare your surface for the paint, ensuring the paint sticks more easily and evenly. It also helps the true color of your paint comes through. It’s the key to a beautiful, flawless finish.
Some paints come in a two-in-one paint and primer, which makes this step a lot simpler. However, this option is best for a surface that has already been painted in the past. If you have a brand new surface, start with a traditional primer first.
5. Choosing the wrong paint
There are 3 main factors to consider when it comes time to choose your paint: type, color, and quantity.
The type of paint you choose will be based on many factors, including the space you’re painting, the item you’re painting, and what type of paint or surface you’re covering.
For example, outdoor paint is different than paint for interior projects. Once indoors, you’ll want a moisture-resistant paint for high humidity areas, like you’re bathroom and kitchen. Plus, if you’re painting something other than a wall (say cabinets or an armoire), you need to know what kind of paint you’ll be covering to avoid cracking and other issues.
Perhaps the most frustrating painting mistakes is choosing the wrong color. You may make your selection based on the color shown on a color chip, but then once you paint the walls, it doesn’t look anything like what you pictured. Avoid this by bringing a small sample of the paint color home and testing it on your wall.
In addition to the color of your paint, you also need to factor and decide on the sheen. The sheen of your paint refers to its finish. Do you want a glossy finish, a satin-looking finish, or something matte and flat? As you consider your options, remember that the higher the sheen, the higher the shine.
You’ll also need to calculate how many gallons of paint you’ll need to complete your project. You don’t want to run to the store mid brushstroke to pick up more paint! Plus, when colored paint is mixed at different times, the color can differ ever so slightly.
6. Poor-quality brushes
Your paint brush is your most important tool.
It’s true that a tool is only as good as its user, but when painting your home, your brush is important no matter your skill level. Opting for the cheapest option is not going to cut it. A high-quality brush is the key to a good paint application. Your paint will apply better and quicker and you won’t have brush bristles stuck to the wall.
You’ll also need to use the right brush for your paint. If you’re using latex paint, opt for a brush with synthetic bristles. For oil-based paint, grab a natural bristle brush.
Depending on your project, you’ll need a wide variety of brush sizes and styles. For example, a chisel trim brush for trimming in corners and edges, an angled brush for window trim, a wall brush for large surfaces, and so on.
7. Painting technique problems
You’ve made it! It’s finally time to start painting. This is where experience is helpful since getting a perfect finish is highly technical. Increase your chances of a great result by avoiding the following rookie mistakes:
- Fully dunking your brush – Don’t overload your brush with paint. Instead, only dip the top third of the brush in the paint, tapping on the side (or rolling it in the tray a few strokes if you’re using a roller brush) to remove any excess paint.
- Over brushing – Over brushing is an issue especially when painting woodwork, as it can lead to a streaky, ridgy finish
- Leaving the lid off the paint can – Work with a small amount of paint in your pan at a time. After you pour out some paint, immediately close the lid to keep the paint from drying out
- Not waiting long enough between coats – Adding a second coat too quickly can result in peeling paint or visibly brush strokes. The same applies when you notice an error. If you’ve missed a spot, wait for everything to completely dry before touching up
8. Painting the ceiling…last
Though it may seem like a small error, we’re highlighting this point because it’s incredibly common. Always work from the top down when painting a room. When working on the ceiling, drips and splatters are almost guaranteed. Starting with the ceiling helps you avoid messing up any other freshly painted surfaces.
9. Painting in the wrong environment
Make sure take the weather into account when starting a painting project. Avoid painting on extremely hot or freezing Portland days. Additionally, we know if you have an outdoor project, you’ll need to watch the forecast to choose a few days without rain.
Paint can’t dry properly in freezing temperatures. And in extreme heat, your paint will dry before you can spread it evenly.
10. Not seeking help from a professional
It’s okay to ask for help.
The final mistake many Portland homeowners make is failing to realize when a paint job is better suited for a professional. Don’t let pride or your love of home projects keep you from seeking help if you need it.
Especially for complex spaces or technical projects like cabinets, built-ins, or shelving, a trusted painting contractor will make the process so much easier.
Work with a locally-owned and operated painting contractor
At Bluenote painting, we do it all – prep, prime, paint, and clean-up. Our number one priority is making sure you’re completely satisfied with our work, and we always treat your home like it’s our very own.
If you have a painting need, give us a call at (503) 246-8888. We can help tackle any size painting project – interior or exterior – and all our work includes a warranty that’s among the very best in the Portland area. There’s no other painter in the area who can match our dedication to craftsmanship and service.
“I wanted you to know I am very pleased in every way with the painting. Your crew were very efficient and were able to get the job done in one day, which was great. They did all steps quickly and cleanly. They were very polite and easy to have in my home. When they were finished they left everything clean and checked to make sure I was completely satisfied.” – Karen B.