Debbie's Best Tips For Decorating With Paint

Paint is the most versatile and inexpensive decorating tool there is. Always buy the best you can afford.


 I have a good sense of when spring fever is about to blossom. Winter’s chill is just about behind us for another year when your emails ask ask about renovating and decorating projects for the warm weather. Painting is on the top of the list for many, and paint is truly the most powerful and economical tool for giving your home a facelift. Here are answers to the most asked questions.


What type of paint do I buy?

Always choose the best quality paint you can afford. Good quality paint goes on easier, covers your surface better and lasts longer. Years ago oil-based paint was the best for durability, but today’s water-based latex and acrylic paints are vastly improved. They dry quickly and are safer for the environment. A high sheen (gloss or semi-gloss) finish is the most durable and easy to clean, and traditionally chosen for busy spaces including kitchens and baths, and all trim and baseboards. Satin or eggshell is generally used on walls; the lower the sheen, the less imperfections on the surface will show up.


Can I paint the wood paneling in my basement?

         You can paint over laminate and shiny surfaces as long as you prepare properly first. This is great news for outdated or dark basements, but the paneling must be prepared properly for paint. Sand first to rough up the surface, then apply a hide adhesion primer designed to cover slippery surfaces. Once the primer is dry, use latex or acrylic in your choice of colour. It’s not necessary to fill in the grooves between the panels. This is time-consuming and difficult to do perfectly so you will still see the lines. Use them as a guide for a paint finish such as broad stripes.


How do I paint over old wallpaper?

         Paper that has been painted over is even more difficult to remove, so your best option is to remove the old paper. However, you can paint it. Prepare the surface by removing any loose paper and sand gently to soften the edges. Prime, then apply one or two light coats of latex paint. You will still see the lines where the paper meets. 


Can I paint my stove?

         Absolutely not. Paint is flammable and you’ll have a fire before you know it. You can refinish a refrigerator, dishwasher or microwave with paint designed to cover slippery surfaces: melamine or laminate paint, metallic paint, silver spray paint, primer and acrylic paint, and decorative adhesive papers. 


Are their any tips for painting with a dark colour?

         In order to get solid coverage, begin with a good primer that has been tinted with some of the top coat colour. Allow the tinted prime coat to dry overnight, then apply the colour. Dark colours will take two to three coats.


What’s the best way to cover over a dark colour?

         Choose a good quality primer that is designed to cover stains and dark paint shades. Apply one coat and if you can still see the base coat apply a second layer of primer. If you don’t block the dark colour at the start, the dark hue will distort your new paler paint shade.


How can I stop paint from leaking under tape?

         Low-tack painter’s tape is used to block areas that you don’t want painted. If the surface is bumpy it is difficult to get good adhesion. When painting stripes, tape along the boundary lines, pressing down firmly along the edges. Don’t overload the paintbrush or roller; using a thin coat, apply the paint up and down overlapping the tape and moving away from it toward the centre of the stripe. Build up the colour with two thin coats rather than one thick coat to avoid leaks. Remove the tape carefully while the paint is still wet, pulling it off toward the fresh paint. A few touch-ups are inevitable.

 Debbie Travis' House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle.