October 31, 2017

Top Painting Myths Debunked

Painting myths pervade the world of DIY and home improvement, as homeowners and renters work to personalize their spaces. Over the years, we have seen several painting myths emerge. So, we’ve put together a list of the most common painting myths to debunk these misconceptions.

Myth #1 - Paint and Primer are one.

When buying a combined paint and primer product, you are actually buying a self-priming paint. Some paints can be self-priming when applied over the proper substrate. However, some substrates require a separate primer before painting. Below are some situations where you may want to prepare the surface before painting.


  • Stains
  • Knots
  • Ink Marks
  • Surface Issues

Primers help prepare the surface to bond well with paint. Otherwise, the paint may bubble, peel or not cover well. Valuing a separate primer begins with an understanding of its role in the process.

Primer is an undercoat to put on your surface before painting. It ensures a stronger adhesion of paint to the surface. Also, primer increases durability over time. Paint is constructed for a smooth finish. So, it is thinner than primer. By contrast, primer should bind to the surface, filling in bumps and preparing the surface for paint. Each surface has unique properties that benefit from different primers and paints.

Sometimes, it helps to tint primer to provide a good base for the paint. Deep, bright or dark colors may benefit from a tinted primer. Consider this when shopping for paint products.

In some cases, you may not even need a primer.  A paint specialist can make a recommendation for the appropriate product based on your situation.

Myth #2- Dark colors make a room look smaller.

A room will feel large or small based on how the room is styled. Lighting, furniture, and floors all influence the perception of the space. As Michelle Ullman at The Spruce explains, “Though it might seem counterintuitive, dark walls, when done right, can actually make a small room appear larger. That’s because dark colors visually recede, fooling the eyes into seeing the walls as further away than they really are.” So, if you love a dark color for your walls, go ahead.

HGTV offers several tips for painting with strong colors.

  1. Deep red walls do more than just add color — they create a mood that brings down the brightness of the surroundings, providing a feeling of being encompassed by the room. They also set neutral furniture off.
  2. Not all strong colors are stimulating. Forest-green walls can blend beautifully with mahogany furniture, and the contrasting colors are comfortable because they're found in nature.
  3. Dark colors recede. When a room is painted a dark to medium color, the color will actually make the room look larger rather than bringing the walls in, which is a common concern.
  4. You don't need to commit to painting the walls intense shades to have a room all about color. Painting the various colors found in furniture behind a wall of bookshelves can create a theatrical backdrop for favorite pieces, for example.
  5. When in doubt about a color, don't limit yourself to small color chips. Paint big sheets of cardboard and prop them up in the room in question. This gives you a better idea of what it's going to look like.

If you are considering a deep, bold, or dark color for your walls, it can work. The styling of the room matters just as much as the size.

Myth #3- You can apply any paint with any brush or roller.

A high quality tool will help you apply paint better, especially when it has the right characteristics. First, you will get more out of your paint because it will cover better. Second, you will have less streaks and debris in your application. By choosing the right tool for the right project, you’ll get a better end result.

Paint Brushes

There are several aspects to consider when choosing a brush.

Bristle Type can be either natural or synthetic. Natural bristles are made from animal hair. Synthetic bristles are created from nylon or polyester. The type of paint dictates the type of bristle.

Brush Width usually varies from 1 inch to 5 inches. A larger brush applies more paint but, a smaller brush provides more control. Usually, you want a brush that is 1 inch narrower than the surface. If the brush is wider, paint will drip off the sides.

Bristle Shape can be square cut or sash (angled). For corners, edges and angles, a sash brush allows you to carefully follow the edge of a doorframe or window.

Bristle Tips can be flagged or tipped. Flagged bristles have split ends to hold more paint. Tipped brushes have ends that come to a point for greater precision.

Paint Rollers

Similarly, rollers vary by project. There are several features to consider when choosing a roller.

The Roller Cage holds the roller and determining the roller size. For example, 9 inch rollers are popular for general painting. However, you may need a large 14 or 18 inch roller for large walls and ceilings or a small foam roller for wainscoting.

Fabric Type must match the type of paint. Synthetic covers, such as nylon or polyester, work with latex paints. Conversely, natural covers, like mohair or sheepskin, should be paired with oil-based paints.

Pile Depth impacts how the paint clings to the roller. Depending on the surface, you will want a fiber nap of a particular length. Smooth pile depth works best with metal, plaster and drywall. Conversely, rough surfaces like concrete, stucco, or textured ceilings need a rough pile depth.

Painting Myths Debunked

For any home paint project, it’s best to start by talking to a paint specialist to determine the best products. They can help you navigate top painting myths. Let them help you pick out paint, primer and tools to ensure a smooth, durable finish. Also, they can help you select colors and finishes that will work well in your space.

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