Home & Garden--pigment For Ponder
Painting is not for the faint-hearted.
Thursday, October 8, 1998
Home decorating, the new politically correct and aesthetically pleasing synonym for painting, is truly not something for the faint of heart. It either takes a lot of gusto, the true eye of an artist and two weeks (maybe more) of vacation time, or enough funds to pay someone what you''d one day like to get to. The "pain" in "painting" is there for a reason.
Martha Stewart''s magazines look terrific, and why not? Home dcor and color schemes are her legacy. So flip through her books, get some ideas. This is essentially what contractors do. But beware! Those lush, easily laid-out patterns and finishes may be more than what you bargain for. Ever tried sanding or priming an entire house? How about meticulously painting two coats of trim on a 2,000 square-foot Victorian? It''s tough. Real tough. Faux finishes and glazes are not for sissies. Speaking to local contractors and paint stores, we''ve come up with a basic painting synopsis that may either make you run out to get the latest of Stewart''s Living or throw in the (paint) towel and call a professional.
Mario Partida, a painting expert at Salinas'' Home Depot, says the first thing for do-it-yourselfers to do is to get all your information down on what you need for interior and/or exterior and begin to ask the right questions: How much paint and what kind? Do I need to sand or clean down the walls? Primer? How much square footage? How do I want my finished product to look? Have I researched all my options? Partida says paint store experts can help answer all your questions and have how-to guides on different finishes and styles.
Painting costs money-even if you do it yourself. Partida estimates that for a 2,000 square-foot house you will need seven gallons of paint, one gallon each for 300 to 400 square feet. He says a basic gallon of paint with a gloss sold at Home Depot will run from $18.97-$21.97. They also carry the popular Ralph Lauren paint with many choices of trendy faux finishes, which runs $20.97 to $29.94 per gallon. Let''s say, for the sake of easy mathematics, the paint you choose is $20 per gallon. Since your paint is mediocre, we''ll estimate it only covers 300 square feet. You''re looking at needing 469 gallons, if you don''t also need primer (around $16.97 per gallon). At $20 a pop, you''re looking at a minimum of $9,380. This is before drop cloths, plastic, tape, respirators, brushes, rollers, sand paper, rags, fans, sprayers and taking time off from work.
Partida''s favorite tool-particularly for exterior jobs-is a sprayer. Its cost at Home Depot is $269 and this baby has half a horsepower and pumps out 3.3 gallons per minute. The good news about investing in a sprayer, Partida says, is that you have it for a long time; and can use it to paint your mother''s house, your house again and then your mother-in-law''s house. (You can also rent sprayers, A-1 Rentals in Salinas carries them.)
Do-it-yourself paint jobs can be fun. You get to see the fruits of your labor and you''ll probably shed that extra 10 pounds, but listen to another paint professional before you take your act on the road. According to a local contractor, doing a good job, a really good job like you see in Architectural Digest, takes a lot of practice and time you may want to consider this before you get your bristles in an excited bunch.
TNT, Ian Trosky ''n'' Noah Trosky, a professional painting and decorating business in Carmel, say that for them, an exterior job on a 2,000 square-foot Victorian takes two guys and nine working days. Interior, they estimate, will take two painters and 13 working days. What does a newer remodel involve? Two coats, but that''s not all. "You have to replace doors and windows, wood trim, door jams and baseboards. You have to do all the prep work like a plaster redo on the sheet rock, fill holes and cracks, prime all the bare wood and sand between coats." Noah Trosky estimates the whole job at $15,300. That''s only one-third more of the cost of doing the exterior yourself.
You could go with less expensive paint or equipment, but in the end you''ll lose. Trosky''s technical advice for stubborn home decorators without much experience is to first go to the paint store and describe exactly what you need to do. Secondly, he says, buy professional equipment (Sherwin Williams in Monterey offers top-of-the-line brushes from $8.99 to $30, rollers from $6 to $12, a 12 by 15-foot drop cloth at $38, plastic roll $12, and sand paper 60 to 70 cents a sheet.) Thirdly, try to use latex, never oil. Latex paint is less toxic, although it still contains ammonia and is water soluble, thus less mess. With oil-based paint you need the whole nine yards: gloves, paint thinner and a mask with a charcoal filter. After you''ve painted an interior, experts advise staying out of the house for 24 hours.
Should you go with Martha Stewart''s lime green, sky blue and vanilla kitchen? What about that "peeling" finish, or an antique wash, a "Mission" style ragging, gold or bronze trim? For people with not a lot of paint in their financial bucket, Noah''s aesthetic advice is to keep it simple and traditional.
"Use simple colors and a simple finish, something that''s more natural. When you walk into a room, you don''t want people to ask, ''God, what did they do to the walls?''"