Any Vancouver-area realtor will tell you that a fresh coat of paint is one of the highest-return investments you can make in your home. Whether you’re repainting to sell, or for your own enjoyment, it’s vital that the job be done right. A poor home interior painting job will de-value your home, not to mention being heartbreaking and maybe even embarrassing to look at. In this post, we’ll cover absolutely everything you need to know to maximize your return on investment; not just monetarily, but in terms of beautifying your home interior.
Interior Painting – Do It Yourself or Hire a Pro?
Anyone can pick up a paintbrush and add color to their home. Because the skills required seem basic, many people opt to do it themselves. For some, that’s the right decision, especially if they have previous painting experience and are certain of doing the job right.
However, if you want the best possible result, and particularly if you’re repainting to sell, you need to honestly asses whether doing it yourself is wise. With the extremely high cost of homes in Vancouver, buyers are justifiably very picky about the quality of the home they buy. While they’ll have looked at images of the interior online before visiting your home, small details, such as the quality of the interior painting, won’t be visible. This can lead to the frustrating experience of a stream of potential buyers, but no offers.
If you decide to hire a pro, you’re going to screen contractors to be sure they can do the job right. If you’re thinking of painting your home yourself, you need to be just as critical. Do you have the experience and time? Are you prepared to invest in professional quality tools and paint? If you’re not completely sure that you can produce a professional result, you’ll likely be better off hiring a pro.
How to choose a pro
If you’re going the pro route, you want to be sure that the company you hire has experience and is invested in doing the job right. The challenge with hiring a Vancouver painting company is the low barrier to entry. As already mentioned, anyone can pick up a brush. And, since the industry isn’t regulated, there are no qualifying steps to setting up your own painting contracting company.
Here are 5 questions you need to ask before choosing your contractor:
Are they legit?
Lots of people try to get into home painting as a business, and many fail due to a lack of business experience. A quick test to tell if the person you’re talking to really is a pro is to check if they have a Google Business listing. GB listings are the ones that show up under the map in your browser. In order to have a listing, they must have a registered Vancouver address. If there’s no Google Business listing, that’s a pretty good sign they may be just starting out or aren’t invested in their business.
How long have they been in business?
How long they’ve been painting homes in the Vancouver area should be posted on their website. If it isn’t, here’s a little trick you can use to check how long they’ve been around. Go to whois.domaintools.com and enter their web address. The whois search result will show you when their domain name was first registered. Not 100% reliable as they could have recently changed their web address, but if they only registered their domain name a few months ago it’s likely you’re dealing with someone with little experience.
Are they detail-oriented?
Do they have a website, and does it look professional? Check their site. Look at it on desktop and your phone. If it doesn’t look polished, the owner probably isn’t investing much time in the company’s future.
What’s their reputation?
Online reviews are a fantastic tool to assess the quality of the painting company you intend to hire. Studies show that people trust online reviews even more than a recommendation from a friend. This makes sense. Your friend might have a personal connection to the painter they recommend. Online reviews, especially if there are a lot of them, are almost all from customers, most of whom never met the contractor before the job.
Remember too that people are often reluctant to be too critical in their ratings. Any rating less than 4.7 is suspect. Note how many reviews there are as well. A 5.0 review means nothing if it’s from three people. They could easily all be friends of the contractor.
Do you trust them?
Talk to the owner. Does this person have the right answers to your questions? Do they seem approachable? If something isn’t done right, will you feel comfortable confronting them on it? Painting your home is a job that’s going to take time to do right. You need to feel that you can establish a rapport with them to facilitate good communication.
The Worst Mistake You Can Make
Don’t cheap out. Whether you’ve decided to do the job yourself, or you’re hiring a pro, going the cheapest route will almost always cost you in the long run. Of course, budget is a concern for all of us. The most expensive paint and tools, or the most expensive contractor, doesn’t guarantee a quality final product. However, the cheapest option is almost always cheap for a reason.
Cheap interior paints will fade more quickly, be more susceptible to yellowing from the sun, and be less durable. By the same token, the cheapest contractor is often cutting corners, or hiring any warm body to slap paint on your walls. While we truly are reluctant to knock our competition (hey, we’re not politicians) we would be remiss if we didn’t warn you to especially avoid student painters. The employees are almost all people with little or no experience.
Before You Paint
Is your home interior ready for new paint? Are there obvious repairs to walls and trim that may need to be made first? What about the doors? Paint, or replace? If replacing doors this job should definitely be done before painting, as it will involve replacing the frames in many cases. This means removing trim and that process will definitely cause minor damage to the paint around the door.
Picking the Right Colors
Now that you’ve assessed if your home is ready for interior painting, it’s time to decide on color.
The color you like best might not be the right one for your home. If you’ve noticed how often clothes look good on the rack, but don’t look good on you, this is the same idea. The color needs to fit your home and decor, not the other way around. Unless you’re a designer, or one of those rare people who just have an exceptional color sense, it’s ridiculously easy to pick a color that looks great on the chip, and terrible on your walls.
Here are 3 Tips for Picking the Right Color:
Home builders have professional interior decorators on staff. It’s their job to pick out the most recent trending colors, without using colors that will turn people off by being too trendy. By visiting showhomes you might even pick up some new interior decorating ideas while finding the perfect colors for your walls. Just remember to be honest with the salespeople about why you’re there. Most won’t mind, and some will even be flattered that you’re visiting their showhomes for this purpose. They won’t waste their time trying to sell you a house, and you can look around without any pressure. And if you ask nicely, they might even find out the exact color for you!
Hire a Designer
Designers aren’t cheap, but they are professionals at choosing colors that will compliment your home without going out of style by next week. A designer may be well worth the investment, especially if you’re prepping your home for sale, or you have unique furnishings and décor.
Use an Online Paint Simulator
There are a number of online paint simulators you can use to see the new color on your walls before you ever spend a dime.
While we’re not rendering an opinion on their paint, either good or bad, here’s a great tool from Dulux: https://www.dulux.ca/diy/colour/paint-colour-visualizer
You can upload images of your rooms and try out colors till your coffee gets cold. Just be sure to upload good quality images.
If you have a good quality SLR camera, you might want to invest a little money into a tripod, and some time into learning about HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography. Your camera probably has an automatic setting for it. You’ll be very pleasantly surprised by the quality of interior images you can get this way, without the need for professional lighting.
Types of Paint
You’ll also want to think about what type of paint to use. Flat paints are almost always used for ceilings, but some people prefer them on their walls as well. Here’s a quick guide to the most common paint finishes.
Flat paint works well for covering older walls that may have small imperfections. Because this paint does not have any gloss, there’s nothing to highlight small bumps or pits. Matte paint is easily marked or rubbed off, though. This is unavoidable due to the low amount of binder in the paint. Binder is what makes glossy paints, well, glossy.
Matte paints are not as opaque, so you’ll need at least two topcoats for full coverage, and possibly three.
Much the same finish as flat paint, but more durable. It’s applied the same way as latex. It will survive children and being washed regularly, which makes it great for kitchens.
A satin finish is on the low end of the glossy scale, but it does have some reflectivity. This means it will produce a soft sheen under strong light, but seem almost flat otherwise.
This is the one that everyone has heard of. It’s very popular due to its balance of durability and low sheen. Little or no glare off your walls, and you can scrub at it with a soft cloth to clean it, without worrying you’ll remove the paint.
Semi-Gloss and Gloss
These paints are very durable due to the high percentage of binder in them. Usually, glossy paints are used for trim, or painting furniture. This is due to their durability. While it’s not unheard of to use gloss paint on walls, we here in Canada tend to prefer flat or eggshell. If you’re going to use gloss paint on a wall, be sure to fix any small imperfections first, as the gloss will show every bump and dent.