I have a confession – I’m addicted to painting. I am constantly finding beautiful rooms online which inevitably leads to the infamous “honey, I’ve been thinking” conversation with my husband (who has an infinite amount of patience.) If you’ve also ever been inspired for some weekend DIY after watching an episode of Fixer Upper you know that sometimes home projects are not as easy as they look on tv.
First of all, our building materials are very different then they are in the States or Canada. Instead of wood and drywall we have good old fashioned concrete and plaster. It won’t blow away in a hurricane but it requires a little more maintenance. That’s why I’ve decided to put together a short post on how to deal with some of the most common interior paint problems as well as my favourite products.
There’s no doubt that updating the paint colour is one of the fastest, easiest and most economical ways to give your home a new look. But it’s easy to get overwhelmed when you walk into the paint store and see all those products on the shelves. Before we talk about which one is right for you, let’s start with prep.
I had a high school teacher which drilled into us the 5 P’s – Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance – and most of a successful paint job is all in the prep. First, start by moving all the furniture out of the room (if it’s possible), take everything off the walls, and remove all outlet covers. Then take a minute to assess the condition of the walls.
Begin by scraping off any loose paint. If you don’t, the new paint will come off with the old paint and you would have wasted an entire weekend. After you’re finished scraping, take a wire brush and use to get rid of any remaining loose wall material. If you have the time, it’s a good idea to then wipe the wall down with a damp cloth or sponge soaked in vinegar and water. This will remove any leftover chalky residue, clean the wall and neutralize ph levels. Let the walls dry out well (overnight) before moving on to the next step – primer. Make sure to leave on a fan, dehumidifier or air conditioning to dry out the walls as much as possible.
Now let’s talk about primer. Think of this like a pair of underwear for your walls. It’s a good foundation that holds everything in place. Sure, most paints these days are self-priming but often that’s not enough. If you scraped old loose paint off, use a sealer first to penetrate deep into the walls and bind up any chalky residue. Sealers are thinner than primers or paints so they soak into a surface instead of sitting on top of it. Our go-to sealer is Benjamin Moore Sealer 608. It’s waterbased so it dries quickly with no smell and cleans up with water.
Did you find fine hairline cracks on your walls? They often happen as your house settles or as plaster dries and can let in unwanted dampness (leading to mold). For that, at home I use Tite II 610 Waterproofing primer. It has a fine grit which helps fill in small cracks and it’s also very effective against dampness, especially in lower apartments that may be slightly below ground.
Finally, if you’re making a colour change, Benjamin Moore Fresh Start Primer 46 is a great way to go from navy blue to sunny yellow in less coats. Because it covers so well, you can erase a deep colour faster. Plus, it’s a multipurpose primer which means you can use it on drywall, masonry, wood and mental.
Now that all the prep work is done, it’s time to pick your paint. After you’ve chosen the colour think about how shiny you want the walls to be. Remember that flatter paints are harder to clean but will visually minimize wall imperfections. Shinier paints are easier to clean but can make your home look very institutional. That’s why all of our walls at home are painted in a matte finish. It’s flat enough to be forgiving on old stone walls but still washable. Benjamin Moore Regal Matte is our top seller since it’s self priming, covers well in most colours (for better coverage upgrade to Benjamin Moore Aura), and dries quickly with no smell. Plus, it’s zero VOC so it’s healthier for our families and the environment.
Even though it might not always be practical for walls, I love a flat paint on the ceiling. It minimizes glare when you turn on the light. For the brightest white you can’t beat Muralo 268 ceiling white or if you’re feeling adventurous we can always mix you any colour in our Benjamin Moore Regal Select Flat 547.
A couple of years ago we put up crown molding in our house. It really frames the walls beautifully. To keep your woodwork looking crisp white for years skip the oil paints and use a water based version like our Muralo Ultra Waterbourne Enamels. They’re just as strong and durable as the traditional oils but won’t yellow with time, they’re self leveling to minimize brush marks and dry quickly with no smell.
Got all your paints but need something to put them on with? Most stone walls will require a ¾” nap roller to get in-between the bumps. A microfiber cover is great for keeping splatter to a minimum on both walls and ceilings. For cutting in, use a synthetic bristle brush with nylon bristles. Choose one with a angle to cut in evenly against door frames, windows and the floor. If you’re painting out of the can a 2 ½” brush is the biggest that will fit into the opening. And don’t forget the tape! A good painters tape will keep clean up to a minimum.
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