Home Improvements

The Rules of Painting a House

Painting a house is one of the best and easiest ways to breathe new life into it. A new coat of paint is a relatively affordable way to update your home, and doesn’t take months to complete. Whether you hire a professional painter or tackle the job yourself, with just a couple of weeks, you can have a home that feels brand new.

Painting is relatively straightforward, so there’s not much you can do wrong. But there are some rules you should keep in mind (and never break!) if you want to guarantee good results.

Rows of open cans of paint with their lids lying next to them.

Don’t Skimp 

When it comes to painting a house, it pays to spend more on top-quality products. Some home improvement projects can be done with the cheapest materials, but painting your home isn’t one of them. You should aim to buy high quality paint, primer, and caulking compound.

With painting products, what you pay for is what you get. The more expensive paints usually contain higher-quality ingredients. Not only does it end up looking better, but you’ll also find these products apply easier and cover better.

Old can of paint filled with brushes and other painting tools, on a shelf covered in old paint. These tools should be upgraded when painting a house.

Proper Preparations

If you want your paint to stick to the walls, you have to make sure they’re prepared properly. Dirt, debris, and peeling paint will all get in the way of a smooth look.

You need to clean the walls before you do anything else. This step will also highlight any imperfections or cracks that you should fix before you can start painting. If you only paint over a crack, it will only hide it for a short period of time.

It’s a good idea to sand the walls and any existing paint down for a smoother surface. You don’t want to remove all of the old paint, just enough to have a good canvas for the new paint to go on top of it.

After sanding, you’ll need to clean the walls again to ensure any dust that developed during this process is cleared away.

Birds eye view of a white painting sheet with an open can of green paint and a fresh paintbrush, roller and paint tray.

Have the Right Tools

Before painting, you might want to consider purchasing or hiring the right tools. Much like the paint you use, you want to use high-quality brushes or rollers when painting a house. Some paint types work better with specific tools, so make sure you find out what your preferred paint requires.

If you’re planning on painting large areas and don’t have a lot of time, or you want to paint over a textured surface, you should look at an airless sprayer instead. Make sure you read the instructions carefully and practice on small sections of wall that you can sand and repaint if needed. 

If you’re dealing with a textured surface, you’ll also need to roll the area by hand with a roller after spraying to ensure it sticks.

Man and woman in black shirts and blue jeans, covered in white paint. Man is holding a paint roller, woman is holding a sledge hammer and wearing a breathing mask around her neck. Things tend to get messy when painting a house and doing home renovation work.

Multiple Coats of Paint

Higher-quality paint covers better than cheaper alternatives, meaning you’ll be able to do less coats of it to cover the wall. But you’ll still need to apply more than one coat of paint! And the primer doesn’t count as a coat of paint (yes, even if it’s tinted). 

After you’ve painted the first coat, you need to wait a bit before applying the next one. It’s best to wait until the paint is completely dry, but it’s good enough if you wait until it’s tacky. But be careful: if you apply the second coat too quickly, you’ll end up lifting the previous layer of paint.

There isn’t a rule about how many layers of paint you need to apply. It depends on paint brands, colours, and the base colour that you’re covering. Paint as many coats as it takes to ensure the walls are completely covered and there aren’t any imperfections.

Wall of paint swatches in variety of colours, with muted nude colours on the left and more vibrant rainbow colours on the right.

Knowing the Rules of Painting a House

When you know the rules of painting a house, you’re able to easily update your space without much mess or fuss. While some rules are meant to be broken, when it comes to painting, they’re there for a reason!

If you’re worried about your skill level, or simply don’t have the time to paint your home yourself, don’t worry! You can hire an expert painter to help you out. 

You’re in good company