So you’ve bought a new house or it’s time for a change and the previous paint was, well dark. You told yourself “it’s only paint” as you looked at it or painted it last time. And while it’s true that it is only paint and paint can always be covered, going over dark walls is a much different story than trying to paint over light covered walls. Reds, purples, browns and dark grays are particularly tricky, though anything with much pigment can pose a significant challenge if you’re not prepared. We’ve put together some painting tips to help you conquer your dark wall challenges.
Tip #1: Primer is NOT Optional
It can be easy to scoff at basic prep work when you’re “just painting” but as with any project in your home, the end result is going to be directly related to how well you do the prep work ahead of time. And just like laying down new tile or installing a new bathroom sink, the amount of preparation time you put into repainting your dark walls will show. The right prep will also make the job so much easier, so that you can look forward to.
When painting over dark walls, primer is not optional. Even if you choose a paint that claims to have a primer built in (it does not, it’s just thicker paint), you will still need a high quality primer. This is not time to skimp on the cheap stuff. Choose a primer that’s designed specifically to block pigment bleeding. The greater the color difference between the paint that’s being covered and the paint you’re covering with, the more your primer will have to do. Plan to paint at least two coats of primer on very dark walls.
Tip #2: Choose Colors in the Same Family
If you like the color that your wall already is, but it’s just a shade or two too dark, that is a much easier problem to solve than going from (for example) midnight black to snowflake white. Taming the shade is a much easier proposition, since you’re staying in the same color family, and any small amount of pigment bleed may easily go unnoticed. However, you’ll still need to stay close to the same shade, or else you’ll need to go to tip #1 and prime like your life depends on it. You should still prime before you paint no matter what you do, but you may not need industrial strength primer to switch from a deep burgundy to a middling plum for example.
Tip #3: Paint More Than You Think You Should
One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when applying new wall paint, besides skipping the primer, is stopping before they’re actually done. With some colors, it can be a little tricky to tell if you’ve actually finished the job, but if you see any thin areas at all, you should really apply another coat. Chances are good that you didn’t just have one thin spot.
Two coats are often plenty of paint for a regular job, but don’t be shy about applying a third if it’s warranted, or going back later and adding another coat of paint after you’ve lived with it a while and noticed that the paint coverage isn’t really consistent. It’s easy to under-paint a wall, especially if you’re trying to get a job done over the weekend.
Or, Leave the Painting to a Pro…
If you are not sure that you’re up to painting over your dark walls, or you simply want to make sure the job is a one-and-done, you may need to call in a professional. Professional painters can help you choose colors that will look great in your home, as well as apply a finish that you’ll love for years to come. Give us a call when looking for a painter as we have plenty to recommend to you and want to be your real estate resource for life.