Painting Tips

Have you ever wandered the paint aisles overwhelmed by all the choices?  Is that $50 gallon of paint really better than the $20 gallon?  What sheen should I choose?  Here are a few tips to make your decision a little easier next time you get the urge to decorate:

VOC vs Zero VOC is a natural place to start.  Did you know that many paints contain Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOC’s, which help with coverage, but also off gas in your home for up to 7 years?  Whenever I am painting a child’s room, especially a baby nursery, I always choose a zero VOC paint.  What many people don’t realize, however, is that while you may choose an environmentally friendly paint, if the place you purchase it from doesn’t use zero VOC colorants to tint your paint, it may be fruitless.   Valspar Optimus and Aspire paints are zero VOC, are tinted with zero VOC colorants and can be mixed in any color you choose.  Optimus, my favorite, has amazing coverage, and goes on like butter.

The paint sheen can make a big difference in a room both from a visual perspective and a practical one.  The higher the gloss, the more durable/scrub able it is. However, a semi-gloss paint is much less forgiving when showing flaws on a surface than an eggshell or flat paint would be.  Sheen can best be determined by asking yourself a couple of simple questions.   Are you painting a ceiling?  Use Flat.  Painting a bathroom or kitchen?  Semi-Gloss or Satin is likely your best choice.  A spare bedroom or Master Bedroom?  Eggshell is a good choice as these walls don’t get a lot of abuse and have a calming effect.   Kids room?  I would choose a satin or semi-gloss as those sticky finger marks will clean up well with this choice.

Paint and primer in one?  Most quality paints, regardless of whether they market themselves this way or not, possess the qualities to be considered a paint and primer in one.   When you see the word contractor, do note this typically means less expensive, and not as great covering, therefore a primer will likely be needed.  Coverage, along with the capacity to level itself and glide on smooth are the leading factors that affect paint prices.  That being said, a leading consumer report ranked Ace’s C+K Paint a Recommended rating, outperforming many other higher priced brands.

Chalk Paint, not to be confused with Chalk Board Paint, is a popular trend in home décor, featuring a forgiving flat sheen that requires little or no preparation of the surface.  I have been loving Amy Howard’s One Step paint.  It is ridiculously easy and seems to stick to anything!  Check out for inspiration on how to make a dated furniture piece look new again.


Sara Selchert Carpenter

Steve’s Ace Home & Garden

VP of Operations

Master Landscape Designer

563.690.1500 office