By Dave Parrish
Brrr it’s cold outside. Super Bowl done and gone, the groundhog saw his shadow again, and valentines were delivered.
Hardware stores are putting the finishing touches on all their displays and holding “How to” classes every Saturday morning. We’re now in the throes of home improvement season.
As you walk around the big box hardware/home improvement store of your choice, you seem to find the biggest crowds at the paint department. This seems to be the top place for folks to begin when thinking about sprucing up the house. After that, it’s usually the flooring and tile department or the lighting department.
When you own a home, it seems there’s always something you’d like to do to make it more attractive, comfortable or efficient. The choices seem to be endless, but if you’re looking to do these things with an eye on selling sometime in the near term it’s wise to approach the project(s) with care.
I’ll focus on the paint department.
Before you select your paint color(s), take a moment to look at what you’re about to paint and see what kind of shape they’re in. Now is the time to recondition those walls and repair any damage. Chief among the possible items being addressed at this point may be the “damage” created by previous painting efforts or excessive painting. Poor paint type or application methods can all but ruin a surface. This can sometimes be corrected by sanding or “sizing” the walls. Make use of Google to find out more about this.
If the walls are in horrible shape, you may want to consider re-sheet-rocking the walls with ¼-inch drywall or in less severe cases using a technique called knockdown.
Once walls are in good shape, smooth and clear of blemishes, clean them well with a cleaner and then caulk any cracks or gaps near trim.
Now we’re ready to select the paint. If you opt not to do the online thing, go by the store and gather some color swatches that look like possibilities and bring them home to view in your home and in the light that you will actually see the color. The amount and type light play a big role in what the color will really look like in your home. My suggestion is go for a neutral color. Add the spice to your room through the use of window treatments and accessories. This will give you far more versatility and if looking to sell provide a more universally appealing setting for potential buyers.
You’re now ready to paint so that the investment in paint is actually rewarded with the hoped for result.
Before you start applying paint, protect the surrounding area. While plastic drop cloths are abundant and cheap, don’t use them. Opt instead for canvas drop cloths. There’s a tendency to track paint onto floors with the plastic cloths much more likely than with the canvas cloths. You can tape off areas/edges. Even if you tape edges, I would recommend using edging tools as though the areas were not taped.
When applying paint, it’s important to learn how to apply paint so that the brush and roller patterns aren’t visible.
All these little details are important in making that paint job an actual improvement. As my drill instructor in the Marine Corps drilled into us at Paris Island, “There’s a right way and a wrong way to do everything.” The difference, though seemingly small, makes all the difference.
There you go. Improve your home now and enjoy it for years to come.
May the market be with you.