17 expert painting tips
Advice from the painting pros to keep your cottage looking fresh
“Have the primer tinted to half the formula of the colour you’ve picked, and don’t buy your paint until you’ve seen how the primer looks. That way you can tweak the colour of your final coat if necessary.”—Jerry Aleksic, Artistic Design Decorators, Toronto
Careful clean up
“Take extra caution with clean-up at the cottage: Never wash your brushes near the lake, or release paint or solvents into your septic tank or holding tank where they can disrupt the beneficial bacteria, clog up the soil around the leaching bed, or both. Instead, to reuse brushes, wrap them in plastic and clean them at home.”—Jerry Aleksic, Artistic Design Decorators, Toronto
Do your prep
“The painting is the fun part; the prep is ninety per cent of the job. The better the prep you do, the better the paint will adhere—and the longer it will stay there—because water won’t penetrate cracks in the wood.” —Nancy Bollefer, Behr, Brampton, Ont.
Keep it clean
“Cleaning the walls is often easier and almost as good as repainting. If after cleaning, the colour looks washed out, then it’s time for a new coat. Over time, stuff gets baked on exterior paint. Freshen it up annually by cleaning it. Use a biodegradable cleaner formulated for your siding material, and follow use instructions carefully.”—Sam Marinucci, AkzoNobel, Concord, Ont.
In its prime
“Winter weekend visits bring temperature fluctuations, which can make interior painted wood, such as trim, to expand and contract, causing any paint to crack. That’s when you really need a good primer, so you have better contact between existing paint and new paint.”—Jerry Aleksic, Artistic Design Decorators, Toronto
Say goodbye to flakes
“If you just paint over peeling paint on your cottage exterior, it will also fall off. You need to get rid of the peeling layer. To scrape off paint, you can use a paint scraper, a heat- or hot-air gun, or a pressure washer to quickly remove most of the flaking paint. Remove loose paint and leave what sticks.”—David Hacker, independent paint consultant, Toronto
“If you clean a surface with a pressure washer, do it on a sunny day and— because water was forced into it—give it longer to dry before painting. And try to time the job so the newly painted surface has a few days to dry before it gets rained upon.” —Alexandre Gauthier Marchand, Boomerang Paint, Victoriaville, Que.
What to use
“If you like the look of flat, low-sheen paint on interior walls, one hundred per cent acrylic generally gives the best wear and tear, and is washable. Use a high-gloss paint in kitchens and bathrooms, because it will last longer.”—Andrew Fedele, Para Paints, Brampton, Ont.
“On a wood exterior that has never been finished you can choose a semi-transparent stain to feature the wood grain but add a hint of colour. On older wood, or to mask the wood grain and only expose its texture, use a solid stain.”—Sharon Grech, Benjamin Moore, Toronto
Colours of choice
“For interiors, “mid-tone” colours that aren’t too dark or too light are best for disguising dirt. In addition to colour, the type of paint is very important. Hallways get a lot of abuse, so use a satin or semi-gloss on the trim and doors, and a washable matte paint for the walls.”—Sharon Grech, Benjamin Moore, Toronto
A room with a view
“Even for the interior, you likely want paint colours that won’t fight with the outdoor view—so more muted, natural colours are always a good choice.”—Sharon Grech, Benjamin Moore, Toronto
“The last oil (alkyd) paints for interior and exterior walls were manufactured in September 2010. Retailers have two years to sell what stock they have, and after that it will no longer be available. To paint over a surface previously painted with oil, sand and scuff up the oil coat, clean the wall, and use a super-adherent acrylic primer under your first latex coat.”—Jerry Aleksic, Artistic Design Decorators, Toronto
“Because deep, dark colours, such as red and navy blue, absorb more sunlight and more UV, they tend to break down more quickly. Shade trees can protect dark colours, while water, which reflects sunlight, can accelerate the damage, especially on boathouses. Also, darker stains may fade more quickly than lighter colours.” —Sam Marinucci, AkzoNobel, Concord, Ont.
“When painting vinyl, never use a colour darker than the original. The extra heat absorbed can cause the surface to warp.”—Sam Marinucci, AkzoNobel, Concord, Ont.
Colour me conservative
“The exterior of your cottage is not the place to experiment with wild and crazy colours. Limit your exterior palette to three or four colours, including the colours of fixed elements such as your roof. Understated, organic colours tend to work better outside as they are so compatible with the natural elements.”—Sharon Grech, Benjamin Moore, Toronto
Mind the weather
“The ideal weather for painting is a dry, cloudy day. Also, if the humidity level is more than fifty per cent, the paint will take longer to dry than you want it to. Don’t paint in high winds or hot sun—the paint will dry too quickly and become hard to manipulate. Plus, any sand or bits of leaves in the wind will stick to the surface.”—Alexandre Gauthier Marchand, Boomerang Paint, Victoriaville, Que.
It’s what’s outside that counts
“Spend a little more on the exterior paint, rather than interior. Exterior paint is not just cosmetic—it’s exposed to the elements, and it works to protect the building.”—Nancy Bollefer, Behr, Brampton, Ont.
This article was originally published on February 16, 2011