I know this is more basic than most of the questions here, so if someone
can recommend a good website that goes into more detail, that'd be
great. (Unhandy middle aged female alert, LOL).
1. 50 yo row house, plaster walls. Last painted about 18 yr ago, before
I moved in. I'm planning to sell sometime in the next yr and want to
start getting ready. I'm going to have a pro paint my 1st floor after
I've moved, because all of the walls run into each other and into the
stairs and I don't wanna deal with that (did I mention I'm also 5 ft
tall). However I thought maybe I could at least paint the three small
bedrooms and save a little money. Most of the paint looks to be in good
shape, but there are several areas of paint that have lifted and
cracked and are peeling off, leaving an uneven surface. The last person
who painted obviously just painted over that type of area, leaving
noticeable depressions. How to make the surface even? Someone told me
vinyl spackle or whatever it's called? I take it that I smear it on, but
then is it sanded or what? Or is it not worth the hassle of me trying to
do this part myself? (Someone told me that if I had it painted after I
move, they'd use a sprayer and it would be fast).
2. I have metal casement windows with metal frames. If I decided to
tackle painting those myself, would I need to do anything special
because of the metal vs wood? Different paint?
Thanks! And back to lurking.
Well, you ask difficult questions, in a sense. I'd start with one of
the "Big Box" stores like Lowes or Home Depot, and see if they have
any literature. You also might get some help from a friend who has
done a lot of painting before. Cook them dinner. Always works.
A 3 step stool/ladder does wonders for the hight issue. I am 5'11",
but with the 8 1/2 foot ceilings in my current house, I need a bit of
help. A 6' step ladder is also good. You should have one around
Prep is everything. Scrape/sand any loose paint, spackle, etc. The
surface MUST be clean and smooth. Check out surface prep material like
TSP - tri sodium phosphate to remove any traces of grime, grease, etc.
You can't paint over grease. This is an especial problem in kitchen
areas from cooking fumes.
Consider "eggshell" finish, versus flat paint for areas like
bathrooms, or kitchens. Easier to keep clean. However, it doesn't
cover as well, so you might need more coats.
If you are doing the same color, then 2 coats usually does the trick.
If changing color, look into primers like Kilz or Zar. You can also
get the primers tinted to the final coat color, which helps a lot. I
did pink over green one time in a bedroom, and it was a non-trivial
Metal -- same deal, prep, etc. You often get better adhesion with a
oil based paint. Also check out "liquid sandpaper," which is a solvent
surface prep material that is good for surfaces that have been painted
with an oil base paint.
Don't skimp on paint or brush quality. Blue "Painter's tape" and drop
cloths are your friends.
If you have lived with lumpy walls and metal windowframes
for 18 years without any compelling need to learn how to
refinish them, it seems false economy to propose first to
learn how and then to complete the work, just in order to
sell the property (i.e. never again do this sort of work.)
Spend (half) the time on locating a truly skilled tradesman.
His charge in dollars per hour will be less than yours in
sweat and frustration.
I would not paint the aluminum windows..just use some fine steel wool to
clean them up before you paint.
Uneven places where thick paint has peeled usually need to be levelled
out with spackle .. just plain spackle, nothing fancy. You can try
sanding the edges of the chipped paint, but that generally causes more
chipping and doesn't smoothe out well. After you spackle, wrat a damp
cloth around a flat chunk of 2x4 and wipe across the spackle to smoothe
it. Let it all dry very well. Prime the newly spackled areas,
feathering out beyond the edges. You spred the spackle with a wide
blade scraper, wider than the spot you are patching so that it bridges
the entire defect .. otherwise one edge gouges out what you are trying
By the time you buy all the stuff you need to prepare the walls and
paint them, you will have spent a good deal of money. Unless you plan
on buying a different house and doing some painting there ... you will
have left over painting supplies that you can't use....and it costs a
good bit of money to buy all this. Bottom line - you truly may be
better off to just hire someone.
On plaster and stucco - especially old plaster and stucco - it sucks
up paint like you wouldn't believe. Don't be surprised if three coats
are necessary. Before you do anything, take a trip to the paint store
or Home Depot and write down the costs of all these things you are
going to need to buy that you may never use again ... if you are
serious the library used to have books explaining the basics of DIY
repairs like painting.
I'm relieved that several people have said this. I was feeling like I
"should" do some of it myself to save money, although part of me was
also thinking that it might be faster just to let someone who knows what
they are doing breeze through once the house is empty. What I may do is
go ahead and get an estimate on having the company do the whole thing vs
doing part of the house. I probably will be doing some painting when I
buy a new house, since everyone else seems to have watched the same
"sell your house" shows and painted their walls white, too.... except of
course for the ones who apparently watched an episode where someone
painted their walls two tones of beige, and/or painted the dining room red!
A good paint job is all about preparation. Use a putty knife to
remove any loose or peeling paint. Use 100- or 120-grit sandpaper to
smooth any rough areas. A trouble light held against the wall will
greatly help inspection of the work. If you can get another person to
do the inspection, all the better. Spackle areas that need it and
smooth spackled areas the following day using sandpaper (hold a
dustpan against the wall directly under the sanding will keep the mess
down). Flat paint shows fewer defects than gloss, although a gloss
paint is preferred in baths/kitchens. Don't forget to paint all the
I recommend Rustoleum paint for the casement windows. Always follow
the directions recommended.
White is blah, but the best "selling" color. It makes rooms look
bigger and brighter.
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