Dear LH, I have lots of painting work that I need to do on an old house, both internal and external. The range of options and advice from different people on paints to use is wide and varied. Any cheat sheets you’ve come across or other advice? Thanks, Paint Misbehaving
House painting picture from Shutterstock
As luck would have it, Kotaku editor Mark Serrels just finished painting his property. His advice? “If in doubt, ask Bunnings!”
The reason there's so much conflicting advice about house painting is because the process isn't the same for everybody. The "best" paint will depend on a large range of factors, including the surface type, its location, whether it's been painted on previously and the kind of finish you're going for.
If you're not fully sure about the colour you've chosen, a water-based paint is probably the best way to go as these paints are easier to remove. Oil or alkyd-based paints are more difficult to take off, but they provide a shinier and more durable finish. Oil-based paints also take longer to dry out, which could be handy if you're planning to paint in the summer heat.
See also: Top Tricks For Hassle-Free Painting
While we've not come across any notable "cheat sheets", most house paint companies contain plenty of useful information on their websites, including FAQs and detailed glossary pages for novice users. Here are a few of the major paint types to get you started:
Primer: This is an undercoat that prepares a surface for proper painting via a binding layer. A primer provides better paint adhesion and stronger durability. Naturally, it's a good idea to choose a tint that closely matches the paint colour that will go on top of it.
Interior/Exterior: This is self-explanatory, really. If you're painting an outdoor surface, use an exterior paint, which will be labeled as such. While it's technically possible to use an exterior paint indoors, this isn't advised. They use harsher chemicals that may be harmful in closed environments and also have a stronger smell.
Enamel: Because of their hard, glossy finish, oil based paints are sometimes referred to as enamel.
Acrylic Water-based house paints use acrylic as a binding agent. It comes in several varieties including acrylic latex, acrylic enamel or acrylic latex enamel. Acrylic latex will be suitable for the vast majority of interior walls.
There are also plenty of "specialty" paints available that include additives to suit a variety of purposes. These include everything from anti-mold properties to fire retardants and insulation that reflects heat.
Unfortunately, it's usually necessary to remove any existing paint before applying a new finish. This tends to be a time-consuming process that involves sanding, striping, cleaning and masking the surfaces before you even think of cracking open a tin of fresh paint. (If the house if very old, you also have to be mindful of lead-based paints.)
While selecting the right type of paint is obviously important, the main consideration still comes down to colour. After all, you're going to be looking at these walls for a long time to come so it's not something you want to get wrong. One tool that can help in this area is ColorSnap Studio. This is a mobile app that digitally paints your house to help you pick the right colour.
We'd also love to hear from our readers on this one. If you've recently painted a house, please share the lessons you learned in the comments section below.
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