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Painting to Sell

Painting interior rooms is one improvement that hits home with buyers, and helps you sell faster.

Choose Your Colors

Remember that you are painting to help sell your house. Go with neutral colors - like linen, cream, or beige.

Calculate how much paint you will need. A gallon of paint will cover (two coats) about 200 square feet.

Choose Your Paint

  • Type: For most tasks, latex is best. Oil can be unforgiving. Limit oil to trim work. Latex applies easily, cleans up with soap and water, and coats all surfaces.
  • Quality: When painting to sell your house, be value-conscious. A cheap paint will look cheap to potential buyers. A mid-range paint is inexpensive and shows well.
  • Finish: Use flat paint for walls, ceilings and floors and a semi-gloss paint for woodwork.

Brushes, Rollers and Additional Supplies

The brushes and rollers you use can make a big difference in the quality and efficiency of your work. From even coverage to the amount of coats a wall needs, you'll need to know what applicator works best for your project. Let Lowe's recommend the most effective brushes and rollers, and suggest a few other supplies that could slip your mind.

Painting Prep

Remove as much furniture as possible. Move remaining objects to the center of the room and cover objects and floor with painter's plastic.

Wash walls from the bottom up with trisodium phosphate (TSP). Mix with water and apply it with a clean sponge. Rinse well with water and let dry.

Use a putty knife and lightweight spackle to fill in all nail and screw holes.

Fill any cracks in the wall with painter's caulk. Check for gaps or cracks in the trim work (corners of chair rail, where baseboards meet wall, etc.).

Wear a dust mask and sand the walls. Scrape away any old paint. Brush off all sanding dust completely. Use a dry paintbrush.

Remove cover plates from fixtures, outlets, and switches and tape over to protect from paint. Use "painter's tape" to mask around doors, windows, baseboards and molding.

Prime patched or repaired areas before painting.

Note: Never paint over wallpaper.

Painting Ceilings

Painting ceilings is easier with a paint extension pole. If your ceilings are vaulted, you may have to use a stepstool or ladder in conjunction with an extension pole.

Painting Walls

Before rolling the walls, cut in about 2 inches around the ceiling, doors, windows, baseboards and molding.

Pour the paint in the reservoir area of a lined tray. Load the roller and apply the paint in a large M shape, beginning in a corner near the ceiling. Fill in by rolling across the M.

Paint the wall in blocks of 4' by 4' from the ceiling to the floor. Paint each adjacent block before the previous one dries to blend the edges together.

(If using high gloss or semi gloss paint, apply in smaller sections that measure 2' x 2'.) Allow the walls to dry completely (takes about 3 hours).

Add a second coat of paint if the first coat doesn't have the desired color or coverage.

Painting Trim and Doors

Paint the windows starting with the sashes. Then paint down the window casing to the sill. For all trim work, use a sash brush. Always paint with the grain of the wood.

For raised panel doors, paint the panels first using a sash brush. Then paint the door from top to bottom. Flat panel doors can be painted with a roller.

Cleaning Up

Wait at least three hours before removing drop cloths.

Follow the following steps to clean your brushes and rollers.

For latex paint:

  • Scrape away as much paint as possible from the brush/roller using a paint stirring stick.
  • Immediately soak the brushes/rollers (remove the roller from the frame before soaking) in water. Use a brush comb to remove additional paint.
  • Clean them with warm, soapy water.
  • Rinse thoroughly and squeeze out as much water as possible.
  • Hang the brush/roller up to dry.
  • Wrap brushes in paper towels to help keep the bristles in good condition.

For oil-based paint:

Soak rollers and brushes in paint thinner and follow steps 2 through 5 above.

One of the best home improvement values is an interior paint job. A little time and effort with this project can reap big rewards.

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