House Painting Basics

A home is an asset that most people buy for a lifetime. Unfortunately though it is only a matter of time before this lifetime asset requires renovation because of something as simple as the lack of vibrant colours.

There is a lot more than meets the eyes when it comes to repainting a house. This is the reason why some people rely on professional painting companies for this job. But hiring such services tends to cost a lot of money. So, if you’re planning on painting your house on your own, there are a few things that you need to consider apart from the effort and the time that is involved in painting a house.


There are quite a few different types of paints available today. Some of these paints have different finishes on the surface while others are designed for specific applications. You might find it a little confusing to choose the correct paint at first, but the moment you pick a theme for painting your house and sort out which jobs and the kind of finishes you are looking for, the choices become quite easy.

There are two bases you can use while painting your house. The first is solvent based (oil or alkyd) and the second is water based (latex). Solvent based paints take around 24 hours to dry which is rather slow. The best way to clean oil based paints is with the help of paint thinner or turpentine. The advantage with latex paints is that they dry quite fast. But they are not at all desirable when it comes to painting in direct sunshine or hot weather. Soap and water can do a terrific job of cleaning up latex paints. Therefore, it is recommended to use latex based paints for the interiors of your home while using solvent based paints for the exteriors.

Paints are also differentiated by the kind of finish that they provide. This involves something called sheen factor. This is a term used for determining the amount of light reflection a particular type of paint has. The lower the amount of sheen the lower the stain resistance paint will have.

- Gloss paints are quite easy to clean and resist scuffs quite well too. They are ideal for rooms that are in constant use. Gloss paints are most used on woodwork, bathroom walls, baseboards, kitchen walls, window casings, doorjambs, etc. The disadvantage of using these paints those is that they leave noticeable imperfections on the surface of the wall.

- High gloss paints are extremely reflective and work well for highlighting details like decorative mouldings and trims. They are also a great choice when it comes to cabinets and doors as well as any areas that are subject to high levels of abuse.

- Semi gloss paints are similar to gloss paints in all ways but one. They have lesser sheen. Semi gloss can also be used in rooms that have high humidity or casings and trim works. These paints are the most durable.

- Eggshell paints give a smooth, low sheen finish. These paints are most ideal for areas like the living room, bedroom, dining room or den. The pain is even washable and can be used in even home offices, family rooms and hallways.

- Satin paints make for a nice combination of moderate sheen and easy-clean. These paints are a little better than eggshell paints when it comes to scrubbing ability. They look just as good in almost any room.

- Matte paints (Flat) are non reflective & always a great choice when painting ceiling or large walls. These paints hide any imperfections on the surface of the wall and even spatters well while being applied. These paints are a great choice when it comes to aluminium or vinyl sidings that are prone to scratches and dents since it hides the imperfections. They are great for low-traffic areas like your master bedroom or formal dining area.

There are even some special paints which have been innovated using different insights and technology which allows the creation of specific paints for specific requirements.

- Ceiling flat paints are designed for application on the ceiling. These are extra spatter-resistant.

- Primer paint can either be water or oil based and is used for sealing unpainted surfaces in order to prevent the covering coats of paints from soaking in. There are different types of primers based on the surfaces being painted like metal, plaster, wood, tiles, etc. There are even some primers that are designed for working on two or three of these surfaces.

- There is something called anti-condensation paint which is used in rooms that have humid conditions like the bathroom and the kitchen. This paint helps prevent condensation and usually contains fungicide.

- There are even fire-retardant paints available which don’t completely resist fires but does a great job of preventing fires from spreading quickly.

It is very important that you use a primer before you start painting your room. Primers will help the paint to stick well on the surface and allow it to have a uniform appearance. If you are painting new wood, drywall, bare wood, etc. you definitely need to use primer.

But before you do this you need to known the condition in which the surface you are going to paint is in. Irrespective of the base coat being oil or latex, you have to sand glossy paint or de-gloss is with a chemical in order to make it duller. If you don’t do this, the second coat of paint with start streaking and not stick well to the base coat while drying.


If you want to change the ambience of a room in your house, you could consider painting it. When it comes to interior painting, it is recommended that you use paints which dry quickly and do not have strong odours which linger around for days after the job is complete.

You need to have thorough visualization, estimation and preparation before painting the insides of your house. After choosing a theme for the rooms you want to paint and purchasing the equipment required for the job like paint brushes, rollers, extension handles, paint stirrers, paint trays, step ladders, decorators dust sheets, etc., all you have to do is to keep the simple tips giving below in mind:-

1. Before & During Painting

- Always provide sufficient ventilation to the areas which are being painted. If there isn’t enough ventilation in the area, it is recommended that you use a mask or a respirator.

- Always close solvent containers or paint containers when they are not being used.

- Keep all paint products away from children.

- Avoid any direct contact between the paint and your skin.

- Always read the instructions on the paints before using them.

2. Surface Preparation Tips

- Empty the room as much as possible by removing any small furniture and group the remaining furniture together and cover them all with a drop cloth.

- Provide sufficient lighting for you to be able to spot painting imperfections.

- Remove all switch plates.

- Patch any holes or cracks that you find in the surface using spackling paste. Don’t forget to sand the areas once the paste dries.

- Dust & wash the walls, baseboards, ceilings, door and window mouldings.

- While you can paint over wallpaper, it will be better if your strip it. Wallpaper will eventually start to peel and this will ruin your paint job.

3. Ceiling Painting Tips

- When painting a room, it is advisable to start with the ceiling.

- When using a paint roller, always paint using diagonal swaths (like the letter M). Fill in any open areas through cross rolling.

- When using a paintbrush, always apply paint towards unpainted portion in short strokes. After that you can again brush back into the area you painted in order to get a smooth surface.

- Remove any chandeliers, light bulbs, fixture covers and fluorescent lights when painting your ceiling.

- Always paint the trims around the ceiling first including mouldings.

4. Wall Painting Tips

- Always paint the trim first. This includes any edging near the ceiling.

- When using a gloss finish paint, ensure the final strokes are away from the main light source in the room. This will help cover up the tiny ridges that are usually left by a brush.

5. Woodwork

- Always check the woodwork for any damage. Use wood filler to patch in any damage you find and let it dry overnight. Don’t forget to sand any rough spots and always use a sealer prior to painting.

- If the woodwork will have the same paint as the walls, then you should paint it together. If the woodwork is of a different colour, then paint it only after you finish the walls.

- Always paint double-hung windows from the centre outward. In the case of casement windows, apply the same technique but allow the windows to remain slightly open so that the paint may dry.

- When it comes to door panels, paint the moulded edges first and then move on to individual panels. Always start in the centre and paint out. After completing the panels, then get started on the horizontal and vertical panels.

- Use painter’s tape for keeping the paint off the windowpanes. Never use duct tape or masking tape. Painter’s tape allows you to keep the areas covered for around 72 hours.

- The top edge baseboards should be painted before the bottom ones. The middle section should be painted last.

- Remove all cabinet drawers and doors and paint all of the flat surfaces in the beginning. Then paint the inside edges and proceed to outer surfaces.

6. Clean-Up, Disposal & Storage Tips

- If you haven’t used decorators dust sheets and have paint drops on your floors, clean it immediately using soap and water. The longer you let the paint stay, the harder it will become to clean it.

- Use a putty knife or razor-blade scraper for chipping off the bigger paint droplets which may have dried up.

- Trimming around windowpanes should also be done using the scraper.

- Always wash & dry the rollers and paintbrushes before storing them. Store them as per the instructions on the label as not every paintbrush or roller is the same.

- Clean up all the paint present on the can’s rim. Always ensure container lids are tightly closed using a block of wood and a hammer.

- Always store solvent-based paints upside down in order to prevent the formation of a skin.

- Always store paints at room temperature. Never keep them in extreme hot or cold conditions.


When you are buying paints for painting the exteriors of your home, you need to choose a brand which has all of these characteristics: colour retention, hiding power, blister resistance and chalk resistance.

Colour retention refers to the ability of paint to maintain its original colour even after long hours of exposure to sunlight, etc. Hiding power is related to the pigment of the paint and is mostly affected by the thickness and manner of application. Blister resistance is the ability of the paint to keep out moisture which may be coming from the substrate & affecting the paint Blistering is imminent if paint is applied on a wet or even a damp surface. Chalking resistance is the ability of paint to prevent the formation of a white chalky powder on its surface which also lightens the colour of the paint. This may take a long time to occur.

Some of the tools involved in painting the exterior of your home include sandpaper, caulk, paper towels or rags, a garden hose, painter’s tape, a power washer, sponges and buckets, a stepladder, a spray nozzle, a paint scraper, an extension ladder, a wire brush, putty knives, a heat gun, an electric drill, sanding block & work gloves.

After you collect all of these tools, it is important that you examine the exterior of your house properly. You may find problems including wrinkling, wax bleeds, vinyl siding wraps, staining, surfacent leaching, poor gloss retention, poor adhesion, poor alkali resistance, peeling, paint incompatibility, nail head rusting, mildew, lapping, poor frosting, efflorescence, dirt pickup, crackling, chalk run downs, chalking, blistering and alligatoring.

If you already know what the problems with the exterior of your house are or if you are just repainting it, follow the below tips for the best application:-

- Being by cleaning the exteriors of your house thoroughly. Always start at the top of the house and work your way to the sides. If you locate areas with moulds, discoloration or mildew, clean it using an anti-fungal cleaner.

- Mask off any areas which you are not going to be painting. You cold also consider placing masking tape on the edges of the house trim as well as on windows & door frames and trims since you will most probably be painting them in a lighter colour or with a more glossy paint. You could also tape newspaper or plastic cloths over the windows and doors to protect them from any drips.

- Cover your plants and shrubs using plastic drop cloths as well. If you are worried about paint dripping onto the sidewalk, your roof sections, your porch or your driveway, you can cover them as well.

You must understand that painting a house does take a lot of time and costs a lot of money even when you are doing it yourself. But the results you get at the end of the day are always worth the time and effort.

This post was written by

Khalid – who has written posts on Dust Sheets - Buy online, individual or wholesale quantities!.
Managing Director of, an online retailer of quality dust sheets for builders and decorators. Dust sheets can be bought in individual quantities or in wholesale amounts for re-sale.

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