House Painting Frequently Asked Questions

How far can one gallon of paint go, as far as coverage?

A good rule of thumb is one gallon of paint covering 400 square feet. It’s a very rough rule of thumb, though – it depends on the quality of the paint and the type of surface that needs to be covered. Even the color of the paint that’s being covered over can have a lot to do with how far coverage can go for a gallon of paint. The paint label will usually supply some good guidelines on coverage.


What makes a paint a good paint?

Paints are comprised of three elements: binder, liquid and pigment. Pay attention to the solid content (the binder and pigment); the higher the percentage of solids, the better the quality of the paint. The binder, in particular, has a lot to do with the durability of paint. Also, some paints have additives such as mildewcide to enhance their performance.


What are the advantages of latex paints?

Less odor, easier cleanup and faster drying times are the chief advantages to latex paints. Latex paints can also flex, making them less likely to crack or peel over time.


What does ‘oil-based paint’ mean?

An oil based paint has resins and thinners that evaporate as the paint dries. What’s left is a hard coating that provides thicker, heavier coverage than latex paints; oil based paints also penetrate better into crevices and other irregularities. Oil based paints are well suited for chalky surfaces or those that already have a few layers of oil-based paint.


What’s a good cleanable paint surface for kitchens?

High gloss paints, whether latex or oil-based either one, are well suited for high traffic areas like bathrooms and kitchens; as well as being washable, they also resist water and grease. Consider using gloss paints especially on door frames, furniture, banisters, railings, kitchen cabinets, windowsills and other surfaces; the gloss will not only clean up well, but might also make a nice contrast to the rest of your painted surfaces.


What is an “eggshell” finish?

Eggshell paints are a semi-gloss texture. They’re a compromise between flat paints and gloss paints, and are made to cover well and clean up easily. Eggshell paints are a good choice for living rooms, bedrooms and hallways.


Where should caulk be applied?

Caulk is useful to fill in gaps or crevices around baseboards, moldings and windowsills. It doesn’t need to be the same type of caulk used for outdoor weatherization; latex caulks are usually a good choice and are easy to paint over.

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