The fastest and most inexpensive way to give your home’s interior or exterior a fresh look, is by painting. By knowing which paints are right for the job and how to apply them properly, you can rest assured that the job will be completed easily and professionally.

Types of Paints

The three most common kinds of paint are latex, acrylic and oil based. They all come in a variety of premixed colors and can be tinted to match most decors. Oil based paints are the most durable, and mainly used on the exterior surfaces. For indoor painting, acrylic or latex paints are favored because of their fast drying time, soap and water clean up, and the lack of heavy drying odors that oil based paints leave behind. The needs of the area being painted will dictate what type of paint should be used. In high traffic areas, such as kitchens and baths, some people prefer oil based paints for their resilience to fingerprints and dirt, and their easy clean up. Epoxy is a much more durable paint and is often used on counter and cupboard surfaces. Many paint manufacturers have offered designer lines of paints that offer texture as well as colour.


Once you have decided which paint will suit the area’s needs, you can begin the preparation of the walls. This is the most important part of the job. For paint to adhere properly, it must be applied to a clean, dry surface, free of dirt, dust and flaking paint. Paint will only cover the surface of the walls, and defects and dents will show through the paint if not properly repaired. Sanding all surfaces before painting is very important. By using a good quality primer and paint, you can avoid having to apply several coats of paint. Many good paints cover in one coat.

The time taken to fill, sand and repair walls, will ensure a long lasting, high quality finish. Mildew should be scrubbed off with a stiff wire brush, and then washed thoroughly with Trisodium Phosphate (which is available at most paint stores), or chlorine bleach mixed with water. Mildew is a fungus that thrives in damp areas, and can live on oil based paints. Affected areas can be repainted with an anti-mildew paint, or a fungicide can be purchased at most hardware stores, and added to the paint. Knots in wood must be sealed with shellac and primed before painting.

Most paints are formulated carefully to cover most surfaces. Problems that arise are seldom the fault of the paint itself. The number one reason for paint problems is moisture in one form or another. Paint will not adhere to a moist surface, and besides the obvious rain, sleet and snow, there are many much more subtle sources of moisture that are far more detrimental. Because most homes are now being insulated more effectively to conserve heat, they  are sealing in much more moisture created by kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms. This can cause the paint on the exterior to pop away from the surface. Good ventilation can eliminate this problem.

Recognizing some of the most common paint problems can eliminate costly repetition of the same mistakes. Finding the source of the problem, and addressing it accordingly will ensure a job well done.

Applications of Paint

Painting over latex paints: Latex paints are water based, and can be covered by either another latex paint, or an oil based paint. Because of the nature of latex paint, most paints, including varnishes, can be applied without the use of any special treatment. When painting from a dark colour to a lighter colour, a coat of latex primer will help to keep the darker colour from distorting the new lighter colour.

Painting over oils or varnishes with latex paints: When painting over an oil based paint or a varnished surface, it is important to sand down the finish and clean any dirt or grease that may be present on the wall surface. An oil based primer should be applied and will offer a good base for the finished coat. Both latex and oil based paints can be used once the oil primer has been applied.

Water Stains: The only way to effectively cover water stains on ceilings is to seal the surface with a shellac primer. This will act as a protective barrier, and allow the paint a good adhesive surface which will prevent the stain from bleeding through.