Fix-It: What type of paint to use

What type of paint do you use?" This is one of the first questions I am asked when giving an estimate for painting.

paint cans 88 (photo credit: )
paint cans 88
(photo credit: )
What type of paint do you use?" This is one of the first questions I am asked when giving an estimate for painting. The answer is: it depends on the surface being painted. Before we go into the details of which paints to use, it is worthwhile to mention that there is a lot of preparation work to do before you even open the paint can. Without the proper preparation - which may include scraping, opening cracks, sealing, spackling and spackling again, sanding, cleaning, and priming - the paint you put on will not last. It is very rare to find a room that does not need at least several hours of prep work. If there is any mold, that also must be dealt with prior to painting. I have been in numerous recently repainted homes that are now covered in mold. When mold exists, it is critical to clean the mold with bleach and then use only quality anti-mold paint. I prefer the Zinnser Perma-White anti-mold paint. This product has an exceptionally high success rate of not having mold return for five or more years. Once you have the preparation completed, you are ready to apply paint. We will discuss ceilings, walls, doors and doorposts. Ceilings: Sid (limewash) is great for ceilings. Using sid allows a room to breathe, as it is one of the most vapor-permeable coatings that exist. If you were to use an acrylic (plastic) paint on the ceilings, it could cause the room to stay damp and develop mold. Sid dries in a flat finish which hides imperfections that may exist in the ceiling. Walls: There are numerous items to consider when choosing paint for your walls. It is best to get something that will be washable. Even if you are very neat and do not have little kids touching the walls, a washable surface is desirable. Dust that collects around picture frames is very hard to wipe away without leaving marks on an area painted with a flat plaint. A paint that dries to a satin sheen can be washed with water and a light detergent. Oil paint that dries to a satin or a glossy finish should be avoided as a wall paint, however. Oil-based paint is flammable and poses a fire hazard when applied around electric outlets. In recent years numerous water-based paints have become available that are just as good as the oil-based paint, without the risk of fire. Doors and doorposts: Oil-based paint is best for these areas. There is no fire hazard when using oil on doors and posts, as there is no electrical wiring in these areas. Oil-based paint has the advantage of being very durable and also washable. It is advisable to use oil paint for this trim work when possible. There are many water-based paints that can also be used for doors. In fact, my favorite wall paint can be used on the trim as well. When painting areas that are high traffic, or bathrooms, it is still best to stick with oil paint. Tambor makes two excellent oil-based paints for trim work. Superlac Plus paint is used when a high gloss finish is desired. The Poliur paint offers a silky gloss finish and is both very durable and a great choice for doors and posts. Both of these paints can be tinted to any color desired. A reader asks: I just received an estimate for painting my home. I want a different color in every room. I was told the price is 10% more if I deviate from white. Is it reasonable to pay more for colors? Does color paint cost more than white? Although Walls R Us does not charge more for color, I can understand why some painters do. Unless you are going with a very dark color, the difference in price between white and color paints is usually not a factor. Tinting paint to a pastel color requires very little dye and costs only a few shekels. However, there is additional work and time involved when colors are chosen. I usually tint color on the spot for a customer. This usually involves tinting the paint and applying a small sample on the wall. Most of the time we make numerous changes to the color until the final color is selected. All this takes time, and time costs money. Also, if the painter is not equipped with duplicate buckets, rollers and brushes, more time is needed to clean the tools between treating the ceiling and walls. Today's Do-It-Yourself Resource is:, which contains more information about using the oil-based paint mentioned above. Readers' tips, questions and comments are always welcome! The authors can be reached at