As a home inspector, I see a lot of painting mistakes and issues. I thought it was time for a list of Painting Do's And Don'ts!
This is Part 2 of two parts. IT IS THE DON'T LIST!
Again, this does not purport to be a complete list! It is based on personal experience. And each suggestion here is listed in no particular order.
- First, NEVER paint over wallpaper! I see this all the time! And paper-backed wallpaper can swell in the seams because of the paint and really look ugly. And stripping wallpaper with your spouse is divorce bait, even when it is not painted over!
- Resist the temptation to paint a second coat, indoors or out, until the first coat has had adequate time to dry. This is typically 24 hours for latex, and can be 48 hours or more for oil-based. Cool temperatures and high humidity will cause paint to dry more slowly however. DON'T paint if the first coat is tacky!
- Painting directly over spackle and joint compound will leave dull spots. The paint absorbs enough of the paint to cause a different reflection. Prime such repairs first, or "seal" them with an additional coat of flat paint.
- Similarly, never paint directly over stain blockers - such as Kilz or Parks. They will reflect light even through paint. They must also be covered over first with primer or an additional coat of flat paint.
- Read the label of whatever you are using to see the recommended minimum temperature above which the paint SHOULD ONLY be applied. Also, it should dry completely before that temperature threshold is reached. Why? Indoors or out, if temperatures dip below that temperature, OR WITHIN FIVE DEGREES OF THE DEW POINT, the surfectant in the paint will leach out. SURFECTANT LEACHING? The surfectant is the chemical in the paint that helps it adhere to the surface. In cold temperatures, it will separate! And the paint will not adhere properly. I see this most often on new construction when they insist on painting when it is very cold out. The problem begins as small, brown bubbles which develop on the surface of the paint. Then the paint will drool and run. The result is not only a really ugly job, what you have is no longer paint! Its chemistry has been destroyed. Typically this temperature threshold is 50F. BUT READ THE LABEL!
- Avoid semi-gloss and gloss paints on the ceiling. The glosses will reveal every little hair that is in the paint! Flat paints with an anti-fungal agent work just fine in bathroom ceilings.
- Never roll in erratic patterns. It's best to roll in straight lines, keeping a wet edge. And on ceilings don't roll in straight lines toward the windows. Rolling parallel to the windows shows less-noticeable paint lines.
- When painting horizontal siding, don't break up the wall into thirds or fourths, working from top to bottom. Instead, keep a wet edge and quickly paint one or two boards all the way from left to right. Sectional painting will cause large overlaps and the final finish will have distinct areas with more paint, and the lines will be visible and erratic.
- Don't buy cheap paints! The old adage that you get what you pay for certainly applies to paints! Good quality paints have more titanium (which seals and covers) and provide a smoother finish. Also, good paints are more washable, even the flat paints, and durable.
- In this vein, use good materials, especially brushes! Cheap brushes are just that - cheap! Don't use them! Remember, natural bristles for oils and alkyds, and man-made bristles for latex and acrylics. Good brushes can be cleaned better and last longer.
- Don't leave the rim full of paint when you replace the lid! Clean it out as best you can. Then the lid seals better and is easier to remove.
- Try to store left over paint in a single bucket. Don't store less than 1/2 gallon in a 1 gallon bucket! It will get a skin, separate and the chemistry will change. Quarts are best for storage.
- Never store your paints where they will freeze! If they freeze once they are done. Again, freezing alters the chemistry and it is no longer paint.
- Don't use outdoor paints indoors. Even with lower VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), exterior paints off gas indoors and can be harmful to health.
- And the BIGGIE - NEVER paint latex paints directly over oil-based paints! Latex will not adhere! It will peel quickly! Oil-based paints can be prepped first to receive latex with deglossers or primers. Latex paint WILL adhere to an oil-based primer, which primer is usually best over oil-based paints, and which may be needed especially outdoors depending on what is being painted. Prepping a paint job is a lot of work and requires paint knowledge!
My recommendation: WE DON'T KNOW WHAT WE DON'T KNOW! If you don't know if something is best practice, find out! Ask! Research! Look it up! And if all else fails, all else, READ THE LABEL. Likely your answer is there!
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560