Greg’s Interior Painting Tips: Bold Colors and Accent Walls

April 22nd, 2010

If you watch any home improvement programs (especially on HGTV),  you may have noticed that bold room colors and accent walls are popular. Designers love to use bold colors. My Indianapolis area customers often ask me “is this color too much for this room?” So, today’s topic, when is a bold color right for a room, and when is it wrong? The answer is it depends…

First,  consider the architecture of the room and of the house as a whole. Some styles lend themselves more toward bold colors than other styles.  A room with a vaulted ceiling can “handle” a bold accent color because of the scale of the room, whereas a ranch with standard eight foot high ceilings might make you feel closed in if the color is too dark.  With low ceilings,  medium tone colors are usually a better choice,  but dark colors with low ceilings can work under the correct circumstances.

Second,  consider your furniture’s fabric,  flooring and lighting (natural and artificial) in the room(s).  Usually the accent wall color or color for the entire room is taken from a color found in the furniture fabric or from an area rug/carpet/flooring (carpet, tile etc)..So if you have a couch with a vivid floral pattern you can pull any number of colors out of that pattern for an accent wall, or room color. Same is true for carpets/area rugs.

And three,  if the room gets lots of natural light,  you want to make sure that when the sun hits the accent wall,  it does not wash the room in that color. If you have a red accent wall,  and the sun hits it directly,  it is going to give off a pink glow to the room.  I’m not passing judgement,  but I think most people would not be amused by this.

So keep in mind the scale of the room , tie the color of the accent wall to something else in the room,  and remember that lighting can change the look of your chosen colors.  If all three things are working together,  your room will look great. If you’ve had a chance to view some of my work on the Greg Mrakich Painting website, you will find examples of how bold accent walls and use of bright colors can really bring a room to life.

Painting Tips For the Do-It-Yourselfer

April 18th, 2010

One thing I have noticed here in Indianapolis when doing painting estimates is that many interiors were not previously painted by professional painters. Wall paint on ceilings and trim,  thin coverage of paint, paint on the carpet or floor,  and  crooked lines are all giveaways.  If you are going to tackle your painting project yourself, here are a few tips to give you better results.

If your house was built before 1978…

Chances are very good that it has lead paint.  One of the EPA’s most important guidelines is to keep sanding to a minimum and contain dust.  The dust that results contains lead and is hazardous to your health. Although I was trained in working in a lead environment as part of my California Contractors Licensing, the rules have changed. Effective April 22nd 2010, all home renovators and remodelers working in pre-1978 buildings, must be certified through the EPA. I am scheduled to take my certification class on May 7th and have scheduled all my projects in pre-1978 built homes after certification. I will be covering the EPA rule for renovation, repair & painting in detail after my training and certification.

Prep work is key…

  1. Before you do any painting,  repair cracks in the drywall, caulk trim where needed, and fill nail holes
  2. Invest in premium paint, a professional grade brush and a 3/8″ nap roller cover for best results

Now you are ready to begin…

Paint the ceiling first.  Paint the area where the wall meets the ceiling with a brush and then roll the the rest.  If ceiling is textured and has never been painted  you will need to prime first.

After the ceiling is painted,  paint the trim.  This is the doors,  jambs,  any wood around windows baseboards and any other painted wood in the room.  If the room is carpeted,  use the tan masking tape along edge of baseboards  to keep them free of paint.  Tan tape is less expensive than the blue tape (about half the cost).  It is not necessary to paint a perfectly straight line where the walls and trim meet.   That comes later.

Now you are ready to paint the walls. This is where you’ll want to spend the money for the blue tape because it will not pull off the paint you will be putting on the walls and trim. Everywhere the walls and trim meet,  use the blue tape to insure a straight clean line. Once the taping is done,  you are ready to “cut in” the room.  That is painter speak for painting along all the edges with a brush before you start rolling on the paint.  With the blue tape in place the cut in will go quickly.  The only place you need to freehand is at the wall ceiling intersection.  Don’t be scared, this is really pretty easy. There is almost always a groove from the dry wallers along the top that the brush will follow for a straight line.  If it is a plastered room,  then you will have  to freehand it.  And that is it. Usually one coat on the trim and two coats of paint on the walls for a repaint is enough to give you a great,  long lasting job.

One final note – wear clothes you don’t mind getting paint splattered on. Those commercials and programs you might have seen on the various home improvement shows are not realistic. No matter how careful and neat you are, you will get paint on your clothes! Good luck and have fun!

Interior Painting Tips for New Home Construction and Room Additions

April 11th, 2010

I’ve been painting homes for over 20 years, both in Southern California (Pasadena area) and the last nine years in and around the city of Indianapolis, Indiana. Most of my work is custom repaint projects, but from time to time, I will be hired to paint a new house or a room addition. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when getting estimates for your paint project:

1. With new construction you always want to use the correct primer on new drywall and wood surfaces.  A primer seals the surface and gives finish coats something to hold onto.  Painting without correct priming will significantly reduce the life of the paint job.

2. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again always use a quality paint.  The labor costs are the same whether you are painting with cheap paint or premium paint.   Get your moneys worth.  A premium paint will last longer,  touch up easier and is scrubbable where a lesser quality paint is not.

3. Make sure you and your painter are on the same page when it comes to materials (primer and finish coat grade), prep work and number of coats.  One primer coat and two finish coats is industry standard for new construction.  Prep work should always include filling nail holes, sanding and caulking. Your painter should always go back and repair any drywall blemishes that become visible once the walls and trim are painted.

A great paint job will make a new home look great, and an old home look like new.

3 Tips for Hiring a Painting Company

March 21st, 2010

So the “Silly Season” for painters is about to begin. I got my first call for an exterior painting estimate on the very first day of spring from a client who I did interior painting for last summer. Indianapolis area painting contractors have about a six-month window to do exterior painting every year. Rain and wind will claim about a month of that time. The first tip is for exterior painting. Tips 2 and 3 apply to hiring a painting company or painting contractor for both exterior and interior painting projects.

  1. If you are planning to have the exterior of your house painted this summer, now is the time to get estimates and get on a painter’s schedule. You don’t want to schedule your painting project too early in the spring or too late in the fall – a good rule of thumb is that the outside temperature should be above 60 degrees (even at night) for proper drying and curing.
  2. Ask if they carry liability insurance – don’t be shy about requesting a copy of their proof of coverage. If the painting company can’t produce it before you make a decision, that should help you make your decision.
  3. Ask what paint they will be using. Name brand of paint is not enough; ask what quality or grade they use. Paint companies manufacture several grades of paint – from low end, contractor grade to custom, top of the line paint. A top of the line paint will not add that much to the total cost of the project but will greatly increase the lifetime of the finish. I always tell my clients and prospects that the labor cost is the same, so why not use the product that gives you the maximum return for your dollar?

If the exterior of your house looks like it needs painting, it is probably over-due. The longer you wait, the more it could cost you.