How Much Paint and Troubleshooting

Painting Your Home and Trim
September 7, 2012
Prepping the Surface of Your Home to Paint
September 7, 2012

How Much Paint and Troubleshooting

Estimating how much paint you will need to paint your home can be a challenge. There are many factors that go into determining the amount you will need, such as the surface of the house, how big your home is, what paint you use, etc.

Some exterior walls require 10 to 50 percent more paint than the standard, smooth walls. Although airless sprayers claim to apply two coats of paint at once, they may require twice as much paint as you would need with a brush and roller.

Do not stress about buying the perfect amount of paint the first time. If you need more you can buy more, and if you have leftover, most stores will refund you or give you store credit. Your best bet is to calculate carefully how much paint you will need, then buy an extra gallon.

So how do you begin to calculate this? Measure the perimeter of your home and measure the height, then multiply the two numbers together. This will give you the number of square feet you are painting. If you are painting your doors or trim a different color, subtract 21 square feet for every door and 15 square feet for each standard window. Each gallon of paint will specify the square footage it will cover. To determine how many gallons you need, divide the number of square feet you will be painting by the number of square feet covered on the can. The rule of thumb for trim paint is one gallon to every six gallons of wall paint.

When painting your home, there are often problems you encounter. We will cover some of the standard issues people have with paint.

Peeling paint may result from moisture trying to push its way out. If you paint over wet wood, or over a surface that is holding in moisture, you may run into this problem. You can either choose to control the moisture problem with fans or use latex primer and latex paint. This particular primer and paint allows the moisture to escape through the paint. Dirt or a glossy surface can also cause peeling. To fight this, make sure you clean the surface well prior to painting and scrape off all excess paint, and then prime all bare spots.

Another common problem is called alligatoring. This problem results when the new paint does not stick well to the paint underneath. The new paint shrinks to individual spots looking like the hide of an alligator. You may encounter this if you paint the second coat before the first dries completely. To fix this, scrape off all paint, sand the area, prime and repaint it.

Blistering occurs for some of the same reasons peeling does: moisture or incompatible paint. If you see blisters in your paint, scrape them off. If you see wood behind them, the problem is moisture, but if you see paint, then the problem is that the paints are not compatible with the weather. Oil base or Alkyd-base paints encounter this problem in hot weather from the heat drying the outer layer of the paint and forming a skin trapping in the solvent in a blister.

If the paint you use is too thick, it may sag and look like wrinkles. This drooping can also occur if you paint in cold weather. To fix this problem, you have to sand out the wrinkled paint until it is smooth and you may have to remove the paint completely. When you recoat, be careful with the new paint to make sure it is the right consistency and brush over it several times as you paint.

Chalking occurs when paint appears to have a dusty surface. Some paints do this when it rains to remove a powdery layer and clean the surface. Sometimes this is desirable, but at times it can stain surrounding areas, sidewalks, and flower beds, signifying that too much chalking is happening. The best way to fix this is to wash down the chalking areas as best as possible and paint over them with paint that is not designed to chalk.

When painting you may encounter mildew, which likes to grow in wet, dark places. If you find mildew on your home, do not just paint over it. This growth can grow right through new paint. Use bleach or a commercial fungicide to kill mildew before painting the area.

A wavy surface can occur on the surface you are painting if you have too much paint on your brush. If this happens, simply sand out the area and repaint making sure you have an even surface of paint for the new coat.

It is necessary to buy good quality paint, because low quality paint may not dry quickly. Poor quality paint can stay tacky for a long time if the paint was applied too thickly or if it was applied on a day with high humidity. If you buy good quality paint, it dries quickly. To determine the quality of the paint you bought, you can test it on an area of your home before painting the entire house.

Once you have prepped your home, removed old paint, cleaned off dirt, and primed the area you are probably anxious to start painting. Remember the problems to look for and remember how to solve them if you do run into them. Painting your home is a monumental task, and it is vital to do it right the first time so you do not have to redo the process many times.

Susan Hilton (979)764-2100

CENTURY 21 Beal, Inc.

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