Tuesday, May 22 , 2018, 9:16 pm | Fair 59º


Make a Fresh Coat of Paint Your First Step in a Room Makeover — and You Can Do It Yourself

To make the job easier, follow these tips from paint professionals, then enjoy the change in your interior outlook

Following a few basic steps can make painting easier, but success depends at least as much on preparing as on painting. Click to view larger
Following a few basic steps can make painting easier, but success depends at least as much on preparing as on painting. (Dave Bemis / Noozhawk photo)

Whether you’re planning to sell your home or live in it for a long time, a fresh coat of interior paint can make a world of difference in a buyer’s first impression or in your own satisfaction.

Sometimes it’s enough to paint even one room. If you decide to do it yourself rather than hire a professional, a few tips from Christine Egan at realsimple.com are a useful guide.

First, decide whether you want to use oil-based or latex (water-based) paint. Oil bases are known for their durability and sheen, but the odor and cleanup hassle can be hard. As latex paints have improved over the years, offering fast drying times, soap-and-water cleanup, and plenty of sheen and durability, they have become the most popular choice for amateur painters.

According to Phil Hursell, manager of Vista Paint at 516 E. Gutierrez St. in Santa Barbara, the choice of latex paint is a no-brainer except in rare situations. The technology of paint has come so far, he adds, that many paints labeled “oil-based” are actually hybrids that clean up with soap and water.

Next, do some quick measurements of your walls to determine how much paint you need. In general, one gallon can cover about 350 square feet. If you want to be more precise, you can find calculators online or at paint stores that will also ask you about the dimensions of all the windows and doors.

Whatever you decide, buy one additional quart, if only for touch-ups later. If you’re using a mixed color, buying another batch later won’t guarantee that it matches exactly.

Decide whether you need primer. Some painters insist on using an undercoat every time, but Egan says primer isn’t necessary unless you’re painting a light color over a dark one or the walls are badly stained or pockmarked with spackled holes. In these circumstances, you can buy a separate primer to create a smooth, even base for your paint, or buy a more expensive all-in-one mix of primer and paint.

Hursell echoes the advice about covering dark colors or damaged walls with primer, but he says the biggest concern is adhesion, which “would depend on what’s on the wall now.” If the existing paint has a flat finish a primer won’t be necessary, but anything with a sheen can present a problem for painters.

“If they’re painting over semi-gloss, we do recommend a higher-adhesion-type primer,” Hursell saids. “If it’s shiny at all, I would recommend they take some sandpaper ... and scratch the surface. It gives it a ‘tooth’ for the paint to grab onto.

“And any time you’re repainting over anything, primer or not, make sure it’s 100 percent clean,” he added.

Egan also emphasizes proper preparation, because a successful result depends at least as much on preparing as on painting. Clean the baseboards and get cobwebs out of the corners, especially where the walls and ceiling meet. Apply painter’s tape to mask the areas that won’t be painted. Put down drop cloths. Use a brush to “cut in” the corners where a roller won’t reach. Then paint the room from top to bottom, starting with the ceiling, then walls, then trim.

Speaking of the ceiling: Think hard about it before you start. Is it in good enough shape that you can skip it this time? Walls take much more of a beating, and nothing is harder and messier to paint than that overhead surface.

If you do paint your ceiling, Egan recommends buying specialty ceiling paint that is thicker with an ultra-flat sheen, which drips less and hides errors well. And don’t paint directly over your head. It’s hard on your neck, makes it difficult to see what you’re doing and, well, did we mention those drips?

Noozhawk contributing writer Dave Bemis can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Supporter

Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >