How to Choose the Right Paint Finish for Your Home Projects

Throughout the years, I have consulted with clients on how to choose the right finishes for their paint projects…here is a quick reference guideline:

Flat – good for ceilings throughout the house except for kitchens and bathrooms. Flat is NOT recommended for your walls because it is NOT very forgiving. I liken it to a chalkboard. If you accidentally rub furniture against the wall, touch the wall with dirty hands or worse, a child writes on the wall, you have every little to no recourse but to repaint.

Eggshell – highly recommended for walls throughout the house except for kitchens and bathrooms. It has a little bit of a sheen which allows you to wipe away any “accidents” as indicated above.

Satin – this is my recommendation for kitchen and bath areas. Most painters recommend semi-gloss, but semi-gloss is too shiny and tends to look very industrial (like a hospital). Satin offers ease of cleaning without the glossy overkill. It’s a lot more sophisticated and modern.

Semi-Gloss – perfect for doors and trim. It offers the ease of cleaning (you just wipe it down with a damp sponge or cloth) with just the right contrast against your eggshell walls to make your woodwork pop.

A few extra tips to keep in mind:

  • Be careful when doing touch-ups. Make sure it is the right finish. I have seen on more than one occasion when the wrong finish was used to do touch-ups and the walls end up looking like it has a skin condition. If the original paint finish is flat, make sure to touch up using the same flat paint. If the original paint finish is semi-gloss, make sure to touch up using the same semi-gloss paint. Paint finishes are not interchangeable. You will notice a difference, even between semi-gloss and high-gloss. Don’t try to cut corners because it will cost you more in time, effort and money in the long run!
  • If it’s been a few years since the walls have been painted, touch up is not the right solution. Wall colors tend to fade from the sun and dust and dirt will also change the wall color.
  • Avoid painting EVERYTHING (walls, doors, trim) the same finish). There is no contrast and it just looks bad!!! If you’re going to put forth the effort, do it right! The only time I recommend painting the wall and the baseboard the same color is when you have the builder’s grade 1 inch baseboards. It’s not worth highlighting those baseboards with a contrasting paint color. If the budget does not allow for upgrading the baseboards, painting the wall and the old baseboard the same color and finish allows it to blend together and bring less attention to the inferior trim.
  • Check the paint color in the room that you’ll be painting that color in…colors tend to look different in different light. Better yet, get a sample and paint a swatch on the wall for best results.
  • Remember, color is your friend. Don’t be afraid to add a little color to your home…it makes furnishings, paintings, everything look better!

Paint is the least expensive home improvement resource with the most return on investment. Choose wisely and enjoy the rewards!

Home Improvement Tips: Financing Home Repairs and Improvements

Finding funding may be a project itself, depending on the scope of your home improvement plans, For smaller projects, you may be able to save for it from your regular household budget. But for major projects, you will probably need financing. It may be possible to borrow against the cash value of your life insurance policy. Talk to your life insurance agent for information about this option.

Contact your bank, savings and loan, or credit union for information about home improvement loans. Compare interest rates, repayment options, and penalties from a few lending institutions before selecting one of the following options:

Second mortgage: A second mortgage is loan against the equity in your home, in effect, an additional mortgage. Typically, financial institutions let you borrow up to 80% of the appraised value of your home, less the balance on your original mortgage. For example, if your home is appraised at $100,000 and your current mortgage balance is $70,000, you may be able to obtain $10,000 by a second mortgage. You may also have to pay all the fees normally associated with a mortgage, including closing costs, title insurance, and any fees. Your tax advisor can tell you if the interest on a second mortgage is tax-deductible.

Refinancing: This option pays off your current loan and takes out a new mortgage on your home. Generally, you’ll need to have equity in your home, a solid credit rating, and a steady income. Again, you’ll incur all the closing costs that you’d pay on a new mortgage. Unless your remodelling project is extensive and you can get an interest rate at least two points less than you currently pay, refinancing may not be a good choice for you.

Home Equity Line of Credit: A home equity loan-like a second mortgage-lets you tap into up to about 80% percent of the appraised value of your home, minus your current mortgage balance. Since it’s set up as a line of credit, you won’t have any interest charges until you make a withdrawal, but you will pay closing costs. You can make withdrawals as needed when you start paying contractors and suppliers. The interest rate is usually variable and may be based on the outstanding balance.

Make sure you thoroughly understand the terms of the loan. For example, if your loan stipulates that you need to pay interest only for the life of the loan, you’ll have to pay back the full amount borrowed at the end of the loan period or you could lose your home. Ask your tax advisor if the interest on a home equity loan is deductible.

Unsecured Loan: Although the interest rates on unsecured loans are frequently higher and you generally won’t get a tax deduction for the interest you pay, the costs of obtaining an unsecured loan are usually lower. And the relative ease of getting this kind of loan may make it a good choice for small projects of $10,000 or less. The lender will evaluate your application based on your credit history and income.

You’ll be happier with the outcome of your home improvement project if you plan carefully and do your homework. The information in this article and a realistic idea of your needs and budget will help you make your home closer to your dream of perfection.

The Internet’s Broad Home Improvement Resources

The World Wide Web, commonly referred to as the internet, is one of the best home improvement resources. For home improvement ideas, simply search over your favorite internet browser and you will find thousands of sites dedicated to improvement and renovation projects. These web pages are rich with how-to information, step-by-step do-it-yourself guides, contacts for local contractors and reviews of house improvement services.

Using online mapping sites is very ideal in finding local contractors and hardware stores in your area. Conveniently in front of your computer, you can search and browse for home improvement shops. Usually, store reviews are also presented.

In addition to store reviews, the internet also provides lots of product reviews. If you are planning to buy a new home improvement item, take the time to check the product reviews from various resources online. By doing so, you can learn about the pros and cons of certain products which have been used and tested by customers like you. Information on price, durability, power and ease of use are the common concerns covered in these product reviews.

Online quotations are often provided by home improvement websites. With these quotations, you can easily have an idea regarding the project’s price and the estimated cost of materials. Online quotes are great tools to give you a fairly accurate idea of the expenses you would have.

How-to’s and do-it-yourself guides are to be found on many online home improvement resources. The internet offers tips on everything about home renovation projects, even about the smallest and simplest task of hanging a picture frame on the wall.

There are also many web communities where you can connect with other individuals engaged in home projects. These message boards, forums and web communities are filled with helpful tips and advices. By joining one, or by simply reading the online pages of these resources, you can have your questions answered without having to pay for professional help.