Hilton Head Sellers - Pay Attention To Paint Colors & Appearance

Painting always sounds worse than it actually is. If you don't want a full project on your hands, check out these tips to make it a little easier.


If your walls are mostly in good, clean condition but some areas (light switches, doors, etc.) are rubbed bare, here's a quick and easy solution. All you need is some of the leftover paint from when you painted originally (hopefully it is water-based) and a new sponge (an old one may contain soap file or other residue). Rubber gloves are a good idea as well. 
Make certain that the touch-up area is clean. 
Soften the new sponge by dipping it in water. Wring it out, then dip it in the leftover matching; paint. 
Start in the center of the touch-up spot using a circular motion as if you were washing the area, and use just enough paint to cover the spot. Continue the circling motion spreading the paint and feathering it out until it meets and thins sufficiently to blend with the surrounding area.


Mix a spackling compound with matching leftover paint instead of water—this works well for small and inconspicuous jobs and eliminates the need to paint after the patching is done.
White toothpaste can be used instead of spackle to fill small holes. But you must make certain that it is completely dry before you paint over it.


This will save you time and grief in a room that is carpeted wall-to-wall. You'll need old newspapers and masking tape. Spread the newspaper on the rug/carpet about an inch from the wall around the room. Use lengthy strips of masking tape and tuck the tape down over the carpet pile, where the edge of the carpet and the molding meet. Attach the other edge of the tape to the newspaper and continue around the room. Now paint the molding. When it's completely dry remove the tape and the newspaper. 
TIP: As a bonus, you'll find that the tape has picked up the dust missed by your vacuum where your carpet meets the walls.


Use a roller to paint a picket fence—it completely covers the area and speeds up the job. Use a sponge for a wire fence because it gets the paint into all the joints and creases. In each case, be sure to wear rubber gloves.

Interior - Before Starting

    • Select the right paint for the job you are doing using your hardware dealer as a source for information. He or she can advise you of the advantages or disadvantages of various types of paint available and suitable for your job: whether a primer or sealer coat is necessary, if one or two coats will do, and the amount of paint you will need.


  • Before choosing your paint, study the colors in natural as well as artificial light. Store lighting may be tinted to enhance colors.

  • Select neutral-colored paints—they harmonize with almost any decor.

  • It may be necessary to prep your walls to remove the natural household film that can accumulate, mainly in kitchens and adjacent rooms. Using a household detergent and warm water, wipe down the walls and rinse well. Use caution when sponging plaster board walls; do not use too much water (wring your sponge out well).

  • Patch cracks with spackle, let it dry, and then sand it to keep the walls smooth.

  • Remove all curtains and drapes.

  • Remove hardware from doors, windows, cupboards, etc., or carefully cover all hardware with tape.

  • Move furniture to the center of the room and cover with drop cloths.

  • Protect the floor area you are working in—cover it with a drop cloth and move the cloth with you as the work progresses.

  • Rub some lotion on your hands before you start or wear painters/rubber gloves. These preparations will make your personal clean-up much easier after the job is done. 

  • Paint the ceiling first, the walls second, and the trim last.

Using a Brush

Experts agree that a high-quality brush produces the best results. Select one that has both long and short bristles tapered to a serviceable edge. The best brush bristles have natural split ends or may have commercially split tips that grab and hold the paint, and natural-bristle brushes can be used on any surface with any type of paint. Nylon bristles are superior to natural bristles only when applying latex or water-based paints. They cannot be used to apply shellac. 

You will need several brushes: a wide brush for large flat surfaces, a 2" trim brush, and a 1 1/2 " sash brush. Also, a small round brush is useful for hard-to-reach spots. Use your wide brush for the flat wall surfaces (Dip the brush into the paint but only cover 1/3 of the bristles' length. To rid the brush of excess paint, tap it lightly against the edge of the paint container—do not draw the brush over the rim of the can). Light long strokes provide the best finish. To cover all bristle marks you should brush up, down, across, then up and down once more. Remember to work from the ceiling down. 

To paint window trim, use a 1 1/2" tapered sash brush. Start with the crossbars, then the frames, and finally the sills.

Using a Roller

Rollers are made of synthetic fibers or wool. Short-pile rollers are for smooth surfaces while deep- or heavy-pile rollers are for rougher, uneven surfaces.

Before you start, make certain that walls are free of soil and that all cracks are patched and completely dry. You will need a 9" roller, a pan, and a 2" brush. Invest in an extension handle if you intend to paint ceilings.

Paint the ceiling first. Paint a border on the ceiling where it meets the walls, using the 2" brush, all around the room. Next, cover your roller evenly with paint (remove the excess by rolling it back and forth in the tray). Roll the paint on the ceiling in 2' x 3' sections. Roll slowly to avoid splatters; do not rush the job. For the best results, form an "x" in each section using two straight diagonal strokes with the roller. Spread the paint using long light strokes to blend each stroke into the wet area of the previous sections. Continue in this manner until the ceiling is complete.

For the walls, use your 2" brush again. Paint a border on the walls where they meet the ceiling, all around the room, and do the same above the baseboard trim and around windows and doors. Roll the paint on the walls in sections as you did the ceiling. Finish up with light vertical strokes but do not spread the paint too thin. Finally, paint the windows as directed below "Using a Brush."


Leftover Paint

Carefully wrap your leftovers so you can keep them fresh for later. Did you know that what's good for food is also good for paint? Many people don't, and far too much perfectly good leftover paint is wasted. Leftover paint isn't a waste product, and stays fresh for years when stored properly. That is why you should know about the National Paint & Coatings Association's Six-Point Program for Leftover Paint—it helps the environment and saves you money. Follow these six simple steps:

  • Buy only the amount of paint needed for the job. When you avoid buying too much at the beginning—called "source reduction"—there's less chance that leftovers land in the trash later.

  • If you do have leftover paint, store it well and it will last for years. Cover the opening with plastic wrap and make sure the lid fits securely so the paint doesn't leak. Then store the paint can upside down; this creates a tight seal and keeps the paint fresh to use again.

  • Use up all leftover paint. It's great for touch-up jobs and smaller projects. You can also blend and mix smaller quantities of similar colors of latex paint to use as a primer on larger jobs, or jobs where the final finish is not critical. 

  • After you use up the paint, recycle the empty paint can following the recycling procedures in your community. Plastic paint pails and containers may also be recycled in some areas, so check your community's guidelines.

  • If you just can't use your leftover paint, donate it or exchange it. Community groups such as schools, churches, and theater groups might be able to use your leftover paint, and the donation may qualify for a tax deduction. You can also organize or participate in a neighbor-to-neighbor or community-wide paint exchange/paint swap. Some communities hold these as part of household waste collection events. 

  • As a last resort, if you need to dispose of your leftover paint, make sure you do it properly. Let your leftover latex paint air-dry away from children and pets. One method is to pour the latex paint into a paper box or bag, and add absorbent material such as shredded newspaper or kitty litter to speed drying. Recycle the empty can and throw the dried paint away with your normal trash. (Note: If you live in California, Washington or Minnesota, your state may require special disposal considerations for latex-based paints, so be sure to check.) Air-drying liquid, solvent-based paint is generally not recommended but if the paint has already solidified in a closed can, you can dispose of it in the regular trash. Liquid solvent-based paint should not be discarded with normal trash; instead, save it for a special paint collection program or household hazardous waste program in your community.

*Information courtesy of the National Point & Coatings Association.



Before starting
Check downspouts and gutters for cracks or other defects that may cause water to overflow and ruin a new paint job, then check windows, door frames, and other structural joints for the condition of the caulking and flashing. Next, nail loose boards or shingles in place, and fill cracks/nail holes with wood putty.

Surface Problems
Check the exterior surfaces of the house carefully before you buy paint or do anything else. If any of the following problems exist they will reoccur if not corrected first.

  • Peeling usually occurs on protected surfaces such as overhangs and porch ceilings. Chemical salts that were not washed off the old surface before it was repainted are usually the cause of peeling, or it may be the result of painting over a glossy surface.

    Solution:Old paint must be scraped off and the surface sanded thoroughly. Wash surface with a phosphate-based detergent. Rinse thoroughly. Let dry. A primer may be necessary - this depends on the type of paint you select - check the label.

  • Mildewis a fungus growth caused by high humidity and temperature. If it is not removed prior to painting, it will grow through the new paint.

    Solution:Mix a solution of one part bleach and four parts water. Scrub the surface thoroughly to remove all mildew. Be sure to wear rubber gloves to protect your hands. Hose surface down. Then let it dry.

  • Blistering is usually a twofold problem caused by moisture trapped in the siding which pushes the paint away from the surface. It may be a sign that there is a leak in the roof, eaves or the plumbing. Lack of ventilation in the kitchen and/or bathrooms could also be a cause.

    Solution: Find the source of the moisture and correct that problem first. Then scrape the blistered area down to stable paint or wood. Sand the surface. A primer may be necessary before you paint - this depends on the paint you select - check the label. 

  • Flaking usually occurs after peeling or blistering, with the paint breaking completely away from the siding.

    Solution: Follow the steps given for Blistering.

  • Alligator Cracking in plywood or masonry siding may be caused by cracks in the siding. If not, it indicates that the top coat of paint has shrunk and pulled away from the undercoat. This condition usually occurs only on very old painted surfaces.

    Solution: Scrape or sand the surface until you reach stable paint or wood. Hose down well. A primer may be necessary before you paint - this depends on the paint you select - check the label.

  • Wood Staining is due to rust from (a) nail heads or (b) sap bleeding from a knot hole.

    Solution: (a) Remove rust from nail heads by sanding. Countersink nail heads and prime with a metal primer. Cover with wood putty - sand. (b) Prime knot holes and sap streaks with shellac. In either case cover with two coats of paint.


Paint Failures


Paint Failures
Painting on hot and/or moist surfaces creates and causes most paint failures. The best rule when painting outdoors is to follow the sun:  paint the shady side of the house first, then paint the remaining sides as the sun moves away them. Don't paint in the sun. Before you move to the next side, check for "skips" (areas you may have missed) and go over them.

Moisture from dew will affect an oil-based paint, so wait 24 hours after a rainfall and until morning dew has evaporated before you start. Moisture will not affect latex paint, so you can get started early; but touch up all exposed nail heads and metal with a primer to prevent future rusting and rust stains.

Paint should be thoroughly mixed. Even if your dealer has mechanically mixed it, check it again by pouring half into another can. Mix both halves with a wooden stirrer until all pigment is blended, then check again by pouring back and forth. Protect your grass, shrubs, and plants by covering them with a drop cloth.

Start at the top of the house using a 3 1/2" to 4" brush with 4" bristles. Immerse the brush bristles in the paint to cover 1/3 of the bristle length (to prevent dripping, tap the brush before removing from the can). If you have to stop before the job is completed, paint across to the corner of one board. This will ensure more even results.



Porch Floor:  Concrete surfaces absorb a lot of paint. Make the job easier by using a roller with an extension handle. First, use a 4" brush and paint a border around the floor where it meets the walls. Then use your roller spreading the paint to meet the border. Do a small section at a time (about 2' x 3') and don't try to stretch the paint too far.

Porch Steps:  Make this a two day job. Paint alternate steps - both treads and risers, so that you can walk on the dry ones. When they are dry - complete the job. Paint railings last.

Trim:  Paint window crossbars first with a 1 1/2" tapered sash brush - then paint the flat surfaces. A neat professional job is achieved if the edges of the trim (where it meets the siding) are painted with the house paint.

TIP:  If you buy expensive, high-quality paint, you expect it to stick around for a while. A primer will help paint adhere to the surface and provide a uniform appearance.

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