Paint . . . probably the least expensive and easiest thing to change in a house and gives the most "wow" for the time invested. I love to paint. It's like cleaning something that's very dirty . . . you can see the results of all the time and effort you put into the task.
Painting is not for everyone, however. There are big "no-no's" associated with the task that are in my list of "things I hate that painters do".
- Removing the switch plate and outlet covers but rolling over the switches and outlets with the paint. How hard is it to roll around a hole in the wall?
- Painters who use masking tape to protect the woodwork and don't see the sneaky trails of paint behind the tape when they remove it.
- Thinking one can paint around the trim without masking tape and doing a shoddy job. I'm a perfectionist and LOVE to paint around the trim (called "cutting in") without masking it, but most people can't do this.
- Rolling the paint to the top of the wall and hitting the ceiling with the roller. This is really gross when it's a similar color to the ceiling and it looks like there was a water leak. At least when there's a bright red strip around the edge of the ceiling that matches the walls, you know the painter was a schlepper.
- Forgetting to drop cloth the floors and dropping big globs of paint all over.
- Painting the metal rim on the ceiling light instead of loosening the light fixture so you can paint under the metal.
- Not using a wiping rag for when the paint drips on the closet doors.
- Painting doors, windows, and any movable surface shut. Time after time I have required painters to come back and open windows that were painted shut.
- Painting the outside of the house but not the window pockets (the area between the inner window and the storm) or painting half of the window pockets so two colors show because they didn't want to take out the storms!
- Thinking that scraping paint on the outside of a house does not require a drop cloth. Sometimes that paint is lead based and needs to be kept out of the soil.
- Slopping paint on the front steps of the house which are cement because it's outside and doesn't require a drop cloth.
Many of the things on this list I learned by making the mistake myself. You only spill the paint can on the front porch once without learning to use a drop cloth thereafter! It was a bear to wash off and never did totally recover! The steps looked like they had been whitewashed by the time I was through! Other items on the list have been added because of housing inspections. They were things I hadn't thought of (Hmmmm. There's lead in that there paint chip!) until some "friendly" inspector informed me of the error of my ways!
(c) Bonnie Erickson 2006