Painting tips from the pros

  • By Danielle Braff Chicago Tribune
  • Tuesday, May 13, 2014 12:46pm
  • Life

We talked to paint experts for tips on how to do a better job of figuring it all out so you can have the best paint job possible.

Choose the right sheen. If you’re painting a high-traffic area such as a hallway, it’s best to stick with a flat sheen, said Kristen Chuber, with PaintZen, a New York company.

“It’s easy to keep whatever is left in the gallon on hand, and you can touch it up and blend it right in,” Chuber said.

Eggshell sheen is a little shinier and is easier to wipe down, but finger prints might show up a little more, she said.

Chuber suggested that trim get a semigloss, while kitchens and bathrooms get satin or pearl because they have more shine and are more moisture resistant than the other sheens.

Volatile organic compounds. Also known as VOCs, organic chemicals emitted from the paint and may cause health problems that range from dizziness to cancer, and are more dangerous for children, pregnant women and the elderly, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, which monitors VOC levels in paint.

If you use paint with low VOCs, you can sleep in a room the same night that it was painted, Chuber said.

Benjamin Moore has a line of zero-VOC paint that is odor-free, though it is about $20 more expensive per gallon than comparable low-VOC paints, such as the Natura (About $65 per gallon, benjaminmoore.com).

Don’t neglect the tint. Even if the paint is low VOC or zero VOC, the tint mixed into the paint may have VOC, said Darryl Whalen, of Healthy Painting LLC, a green painting, based in Seattle.

Get decent painting gear. The paint job will look better and you’ll save money in the long run if you spend a little more to buy decent gear, said Todd Rittmann, owner and operator of The Paint Doc, based in Chicago.

A bigger paint tray means less time filling it. A sturdier roller frame requires less energy.

Fine brushes hold more paint and there will be less dipping and less fixing of the lines, Rittmann said.

He suggested using Corona brand Cortez or Excalibur angled brushes.

He also recommended buying a sturdy painter pole so that you will spend less time crouching down and standing up — even if you’re just painting a hallway, you can use a 1-foot pole to help.

“If I’m doing squats all day, I’m going to be cashed at the end of the day.”

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