Painting is a popular spring do-it-yourself project, especially since it’s one the easiest ways to refresh the appearance of your home. If you’re trying to sell, new paint can also improve your home’s appeal to potential buyers. Depending on the size of your project, primer, paint, and supplies can get expensive fast. To help you stay on budget, here are a few tips to help you choose paint, find good deals, and ultimately get the greatest return on the time and money you invest in your spring painting projects.
1. When choosing paint brands, compare key qualities.
There are scores of paint brands to choose from these days, ranging in price from $8 per gallon to more than $30. The price of some brands corresponds with their quality, but that’s not always the case. To choose the best paint for your project, you need to look at more than just the price tag. Here are five key qualities to look for:
- Coverage: Many higher-end paints have built-in primers and get the job done in fewer coats than economy brands.
- Stain resistance: Depending on what you’re painting, you may want to choose a paint with better stain resistance (for instance, high-traffic living areas).
- Scrub resistance: Some paints dull when you scrub them, so if you’ll be using extra elbow grease on the walls, prioritize this quality.
- Paint pros say acrylic latex paints are more resistant to the effects of temperature and moisture over time than oil-based alternatives.
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are the solvents paint releases into the air as it dries. A typical paint has about 150 grams of VOCs per liter; low-VOC paint has 50 g/l or less. If you’re concerned about paint fumes, this is something to pay attention to.
A great place to find all this information in one place is Consumer Reports, but you’ll also find useful reviews on non-biased handyman and do-it-yourself sites.
2. Consider what you’re painting.
Deciding which of these qualities to prioritize is easier when you keep in mind what you’re painting. Areas that won’t be seen or trafficked don’t require top-of-the-line paint, but if you want the paint job to look professional and last longer, you may want to spend a little more.
Also, consider the color change you’re making. If you’re painting over a very dark color, it could mean the difference between two coats of a high-quality paint versus three to four coats of an economy paint.
3. Use expert tips to make inexpensive paint look spectacular.
Even though the quality of paint you use matters, how well you paint can also make a huge difference. Failing to prep your surfaces properly and follow good painting techniques can make even the most expensive paint look bad. On the other hand, using expert tips with midrange paint can result in a professional-looking job. If you’re an amateur painter, look for expert tips or — better yet — get a seasoned pro to help you.
4. Find deals on paint.
Investing in quality paint won’t be cheap. Stretch your budget a little further by looking for coupons (Sherwin Williams stores and DIY retailers like Home Depot run regular sales). The best time to shop for paint is in the months of May, July, and September, right before the major holidays.
If you’re not picky about the shade of your paint, check out the miss-tint section at retail stores, where you’ll often find $35 gallons discounted as low as $15. There’s nothing wrong with this paint – it just didn’t turn out the way a customer expected.
You might be surprised to learn that you can get even get paint for free from recycling centers, where businesses tend to drop off excess paint from their renovation projects. Even if the paint is a few months old, the shelf life of paint is much longer – up to 8 years!
Like many things in life, what you put into painting is what you get out. Even if you’re just trying to spruce things up for your own benefit, it doesn’t hurt to use these tips to get the best possible results and save a little money in the process.
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