Monday, August 19, 2013

Lowe's at the Library: Tips for Painting Your House

Each month, the experts at Lowe's come to the library to offer home-improvement tips for do-it-yourselfers (and prospective do-it-yourselfers.)

Last week, Dakota Doyle gave suggestions to those who want to paint the outside of their home.

Here are some of his tips. (If you're in a rush, he talks about the biggest mistake people usually make in the embedded video.)

1. Prepare yourself.

Don't just buy a color and start painting. Proper preparation will save you a lot of exasperation later.

Caulk holes. Clean your surface. Cover -- or, better yet, move -- everything you don't want to get paint on. Tape things off.

If you're painting over a shiny surface, you should sand and/or prime it first. (Paint doesn't adhere as well to glossy surfaces. The trade-off to that is glossy surfaces will be much easier to clean later.)

And definitely make sure you buy enough paint. There are few things more obnoxious than starting a project and then stopping because you ran out of paint.

Doyle estimated that a gallon of paint will cover between 300 and 400 square feet. However, that number can change depending upon how porous your surface is.

2. This is where I might break down the differences between oil- and latex-based paints, but almost all oil-based paints are illegal in Ohio.

(Oil-based primers, however, are still legal and great for covering stained or particularly pungent surfaces.)

Doyle recommended using a synthetic brush and urged people not to cheap out on their rollers.

A cheap roller is more likely to get lint in it and leave lumps in your painted wall, he said.

"If you can afford it, by all means, get a sprayer," he added. "It will save a lot of time and the paint will go on more evenly."

One downside to a sprayer (besides the expense): They use more paint than a roller would because some of it goes into the atmosphere. Take this into account when you're buying supplies.

3. The ideal painting conditions: 70-85 Fahrenheit, dry and as low humidity as possible.

Most paint cannot be applied if it's colder than 50 F. However, Lowe's does have a few brands that are effective down to 35 F.

Most paint is dry to the touch after 30 minutes; but you'll want to cover freshly painted exteriors before rain can get to it. If it starts to rain on you suddenly -- this is, after all, Northeast Ohio -- you'll have some streaks that you'll need to paint over later.

4. Doyle said he 2-coats everything, at least. If he's working with a brighter color (an orange, red or yellow,) he might do even more.

He also suggested using a gray primer when painting a bright color. It makes a better color base than white and might even save you a coat of paint later.

Always keep your strokes one direction whenever possible and corner as you go. Those odd strokes will stand out more if you wait until everything's finished to detail them.

5. Lead paint has been illegal for more than 40 years.

But if you have an older home and are concerned it might have lead paint, test it.

It it turns out that you do have lead paint, let the professionals handle it.

A lead test costs about $3. The fine for illegally disposing of lead paint is more than $3,000.

The next Lowe's at the Library program is 6:30 to 8 p.m. Sept. 11 at the Mentor Public Library's Main Branch. The pros from Lowe's will offer tips on how to build your own deck or pergola. You can register for the program here. You can also find more home improvement ideas and how-to's at

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