In Exterior House Painting, Interior House Painting, Paint FAQ's, Painters Advice, Painting FAQ's, Painting Tips

Painting involves a commitment of time, money and effort.  Whether you do it yourself  because you enjoy doing home improvements or you hire a painting company or contractor to avoid the headaches of climbing up and down ladders and other problems making the important decision to choose and buy good quality paint products to work with is key to professional end results.

The following are tips for buying top quality paint products, how to choose paints, how to estimate how much paint is needed or how often you should be painting, will help to ensure that your next paint job will look great and last a long time.buying paint and costs of painting

Buying Paint for House Painting

When buying paint for an interior or exterior house painting project, going with a reputable brand of paint is recommended as there are differences between the cheaper paints over the higher end quality paints.  You will also find that there is a larger selection of paint colours and finishes in the better quality paint lines.  Reading the warranty on the label of the paint can or asking a painter what brand they use and recommend is a good place to start and gives you an idea of the actual difference between the higher and lower end of products.

As well as having more extensive choices for a colour palette, you will find differences in each paint manufacturers level of sheen category.  Choosing the right paint will depend on the end results you are looking for.  From the price of paint per gallon starting at $5.00 up to $20.00 per gallon or more, going with the lower price paint is a sure certain way to get less than professional end results.

The cost of paint should not be the only reason to choose a certain brand.  From the way the paint flows onto the walls from the brush or roller, to it’s durability and the way it looks once you have finished painting are a few of the differences to help factor in to making that final decision.

It is fair to say that everyone sets out with a painting project in mind that will look as good as all the ones on the home renovation shows.

Paint Buying Tips from Ottawa Painters

Choosing the perfect paint colours when updating the look for your home can be daunting.  How to choose the right paint colour  to accentuate every room in your house is one of the first decisions when starting a home painting project.

Selecting the perfect shade, tone or hue are all perfect ways to see the power of paint colours in house painting.  Today’s technology allows for most paint colours to be matched from one brand to another.  Paint stores and suppliers have special formulas and can provide exact matches every time.

Paint Buying Guide – 3 Tips on How To

The following is a guide to buying paint and tips on how to choose the best paint for your next home painting project.


You can go online and google any paint brand and all of them offer a huge variety of paint colours but it can become overwhelming.  An alternative is that you can start with a paint colour consultation from a reputable and knowledge  when the painter meets with you for the estimate.

If you already have a paint colour scheme all picked out or are considering then making sure you also pick the perfect paint finish or sheen along with the right kind of paint for the project will move things along quicker and easier.

paint colour samples for house painting by painters in Ottawa PG Paint & Design
Pick Up Paint Samples

When you set out for your shopping adventure, head to any home improvement store or local specialized paint store and select a few paint colour samples of your favourite colours.

Some stores will have the bigger than the usual thumbnail size samples.  The bigger samples are easier to stick up onto the walls to get a better idea of what the colour will look like in your space.  The smaller colour chips make it more difficult to be placed on a wall to help make the decision.

Alternatively, if you have already picked out your colour palette, you can always buy a small quart and paint it onto the wall you are wanting to paint.  Leave it there a few days, and look at it in the different lighting situations.  Keep in mind that the cost of buying a quart of paint is not cheap, so you may want to limit yourself to your absolute favorites down to a minimum of about three.

TIP 2: Pick the Right Paint

Knowing what and how to decide on paint colours is one of the first steps to getting a professional look.   Knowing that the quality of the paint you buy will be the deciding factor in how often you will need to paint.

Pick the right paint to start and you will have spent your time and money wisely.  Economy brands of paint tend not to perform as well as those in the middle or top end of the paint line or brand.  In fact more often than not you may find that the usual two coats of paint to finish is not enough and the third and sometimes even a fourth coat may be required to ensure the best coverage when painting walls or ceilings.

damage to flat paint finish on interior painting of walls

If you simply want fast and cheap, then know that there may be the necessity to repaint sooner than you were thinking.  The lower grades of paint will tend to fade faster, and as previously mentioned may not give you the best coverage unless you paint three to four coats and this is even after using a primer paint.   Lower, cheaper brand paints have more water added to them making them less effective in being able to cover the previous paint or new drywall.  You will also notice that if you try to wash or scrub a stain off the walls, the actual paint and colour will end up on the rag you are using and leave the smear spots where you tried to wash the paint.

Instead use better quality paints, that will have the durability to withstand the extra elbow grease to remove any stains, without leaving a smear.  This is true of some paint finishes, while others like a flat/matte sheen will still show a bit of where you tried to clean.  You will enjoy the beauty of the fresh paint for years to come instead of having to repaint sooner that you thought.

TIP 3: Hire a Professional Painting Company

We all lead busy and full lives in todays world, our days are filled with work and commitments to family and friends.  Painting a house, a condo, an apartment or a room can become overwhelming with everything else there is to do.

Hiring a professional painting company would be a wise decision and a good investment.  Find a painting contractor with years of experience, great customer service and reviews that have been provided by satisfied clients who have had work done by the business.  Know the difference between fake and real reviews so that you can make informed decisions as to who will be working in your home and are not scammed.

Buying Interior Paint

Factors to consider when buying paint for an interior painting project are how much paint is needed, how to calculate the amount to buy, how much it will cost to buy the paint or how much it will cost to have a reputable, experienced painter do it.

To estimate how much paint you will need, take into account that a gallon of paint usually covers about 400 square feet, and by reading the paint can label it will confirm this by explaining the spread rate of the paint.

Calculate the square footage of the room or area to be painted.  Multiply the width by the height of each wall, add these numbers together.  You will then measure the area of other surfaces such as the windows, fireplaces, any doors etc, multiply the width by the height and add these figures together.  Subtract this total from the previous total of the square footage of the area to be painted and add 10% so that you leave extra paint for touch ups or repairs.  Left over paint is a good thing to have as it comes in handy if all of a sudden there’s a small smudge or chip in the fresh paint.

To calculate how many cans of paint to buy, you will need to divide the final number by the spread rate of the paint, the information is found on the paint can.  To paint and trim, baseboards or frames, you can estimate that one quarter 1/4 of the amount needed for the wall paint.

an interior of living room painted by painters in Ottawa PG PAINT & DESIGN

Another factor to be considered when buying interior paint is the lighting in your home is a factor to consider when choosing the tone of the paint colour.  Natural light and artificial lighting will make the paint appear a little different than you were thinking.  Before committing make sure you place samples of the paint on the walls first, leaving it on for 2 to 3 days and checking it at different times of the day.  Morning light, afternoon sun and evening indoor lighting, will be factors to be considered.

Look at the sample paint colours in the early morning when the sun is beaming into the windows, in the afternoon light and in the evening with the interior/indoor as light will affect the paint shade/tone’s appearance.

Add to that any artificial interior lighting in the room which will make some shades appear darker in the evening even though you have all the lights on.  While during the day time when a lot of exterior natural light shines through you may find the paint colour to look a lighter shade.  Natural day light as well as artificial interior lighting give different reflections to paint colours on the ceiling or walls.

Remember to take into consideration the ambience you want to create in that room.   There are no mistakes to choosing a tranquil, serene paint colour to give you the feeling of being at a spa, or luxury hotel.  Factor in the trim, the baseboards, and the ceiling as well as the colour of any furniture and accessories before committing.

It is always easier to stick up a few paint colour samples and eliminate ones that you do not like rather than painting a colour that goes with nothing and you cringe every time you walk into the room.  Neutral light tends to soften the paint colours whether interior or exterior.  Some paint colours can even make a small room look bigger.

Paint Finishes

Flat or Matte paint finishes will absorb more light than say a glossy paint finish and will look a little more brighter than you were expecting at the end.  Most homeowners tend to go with eggshell or semi-gloss as it is the in between paint finish that doesn’t give to much of a shine yet it’s very durable and easy to clean or scrub.

Interior paints in eggshell or satin finishes have come along way over the years with manufacturers improvements.  Semi-gloss paints are perfect for trim and baseboards as well.

The differences between paint finishes or sheens is the amount of shine reflecting from the surface.  Certain finishes are more durable and washable and some are better in high moisture areas such as bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms.  The best paints for these rooms are specially formulated to adhere better and protect against mold.

Buying Exterior Paint

Buying paint or stain for the exterior painting of your house you may want to do the same as above ideas for buying paint.  Using samples of paint colours to help you decide.  Although you may not want to be the talk of the neighborhood by painting different samples of paint colours on the exterior of your home, but you can select a couple of your favourite from a choice of the paper samples at the store.

You can also paint the exterior colour onto something like a foam board which will give you a bigger sample to hold up against the side of the house or at the front door.  After using a brush or roller to apply the paint to your DIY paint samples, place them on the front door, near a window or on the side of the house.  take a few steps back or stand at the end of the driveway to assess.


Cost Of Buying Paint

Empowering yourself with information is key to being able to save money and staying on budget.  Knowledge is power in anything in life and if you are embarking on a home improvement project lining up all ducks, crossing all t’s and dotting all i’s is important.  The following information may be helpful when you calculate the cost of buying paint for your next project.

The cheaper lower end brands of paints will range in price starting as low as $25.00 or so and go all the way up to $44.00 per gallon, just depends on where you buy and which paint brand.

Investing in a middle line paint product is a good investment. You get good coverage with 2 coats of paint finish, you will not get streaks or brush marks created by a paint brush or paint roller marks.  It is also a good idea to invest quality paint brushes and painting tools.  Middle line of paint brands are also more durable and easy to care for and wash.  The price range for the middle line of paints usually starts around $35.00 to $55.00 per gallon, again this depends on where you purchase the paint and the name brand.

Top of the Line Paint products of course are exactly that.   They will cost a little more, but will be worth it.  On average consumers are good to go with the middle line paint products, but we do recommend going with the higher top of the line paints if using them for the painting bathrooms and kitchens where there is higher traffic and moisture rich environments.  We recommend that you spend the extra and go for top of the line paint products to ensure the best coverage and durability.   The prices for top of the line paints range from $40.00 to $78.00 per gallon and will vary depending on which paint stores they are purchased at and the name brand.

Top of the line paints will  give you a complete 2 coat finish coverage, a smoother and professional painting end result.  As we find that investing in a higher quality paint especially for the exterior painting of your house is highly recommended.  You don’t want your freshly painted exterior to wash away in the next rain storm.  For the interior painting we recommend the best of any of the middle to top of the line products, but leave the final decision to the homeowner.  Generally using middle line for all our house painting services.  Paint manufacturers are always improving their products and making them safer for both the environment and for using in our homes.  Most if not all brands of paints are now made with little to no VOC (Volatile Organic Compound).

Reducing the toxic chemicals of paints of yester year eliminates the horrible smell that was left behind when painting a house back about 20 or so years ago when paints were more solvent based rather than water based as they are today.  Although the smells of the harsh chemicals they used when producing paint products has been eliminated with the new laws for all manufacturers to make little to no VOC products, today”s paint  is of very good quality, the manufacturers have worked hard at perfecting it.

It was once believed that paint without the added harsh smell, oils and solvents was less durable.  Read the article on Lead Based Paints to better understand how paint used to be made, compared to how manufacturers today have proven that theory as wrong, by producing products that are safe enough to use in our homes, around our family and pets.

benjamin moore natura paints is asthma and allergy friendly according to Canadian Asthma Society

Paint products today are safer, free from toxic chemicals and fumes.  The difference in paint products today are allergy and asthma friendly, making them safer to breath in and be around and you can safely sleep in the freshly painted room that same night


Paint Finishes

Interior Paints

For Interior Painting take the following into consideration when choosing the paint finish.

Flat Paints absorb the light, whether it’s natural day/sun light or your interior lighting.  Colours will tend to seem darker. Any textured walls such as a stippled ceiling will also look darker and absorb more light with a flat paint finish. Also take into consideration that although flat paint finishes hide the imperfections of a wall or ceiling well enough they are the least resistant to stains and dirt, if you try to wash or rub away a stain it may show the spot you were cleaning.  We recommend using a flat finish in a room that has low traffic.   For example bedrooms are usually the least traffic rooms in the house.

Glossy Paints are more reflective of lights making smooth surfaces look brighter and shinier.  If there are imperfections to the walls the glossier the paint finish the more the imperfections will show.

Eggshell or Satin Paints have a slight shine and tend to elevate the sight of the imperfections on the walls. Although eggshell and satin paint finishes are tough and durable to withstand the everyday higher traffic of a house they still tend to leave behind a visible lack of sheen when washed or rubbed.

We recommend using eggshell and or satin paint finishes in family room’s, children’s room, hallways, living rooms and dining rooms, entrances and foyers.  Keeping in mind that the walls should be well prepared surfaces, smoothed out as otherwise the slight shine from the paint finish will show the bumps and imperfections of the drywall on the walls. The best painters will give you the best advice on choosing the paint finish for the intended room.

Semigloss Paints still give a slight sheen, therefore semi-gloss paint finishes should be painted on smooth surfaces.  Well prepared surfaces with drywall repairs, ensure that sanding and cleaning off any debris is done before any paint is applied.  Semigloss paint finish will show slight imperfections on the walls especially if lights are directed right onto the walls.  The semi-gloss paint finish is durable and easy to clean.  It is recommended for use on woodwork such as trim, baseboards, frames and doors and cove or crown moulding or wainscotting, it is also good to use on kitchen and bathroom walls.

painting of exterior of house white paint on windows with red paint on front door painting by ottawa painters PG Paint & Design

Exterior Paints

For exterior painting consideration to choosing the right paint finish would be just like the interior paints.  The decision process on which to choose would be the same.  The difference is in the product itself as the exterior paint is formulated differently from interior as it needs to withstand hard environmental stresses such as rain, hail, snow, extreme heat, sun exposure and humidity.

Canadian winters are usually brutally cold and in Ottawa we go through extreme frigid temperatures of -40 degrees celsius and sometimes there’s a windchill making it feel even colder.  Because of these extreme cold temperatures and then the few months of extreme heat in the summer the exterior wood or siding on the house is prone to expanding and contracting.

Extreme temperatures are also tough on the paint, because just like the wood or siding, the paint goes through the same expanding and contracting to keep up with the elements.  Paint manufacturers offer awesome products for all exterior painting.

Flat is perfect for painting exterior walls because it is the dullest of the paint finishes.  The flat exterior paint finishes are perfect when trying to hide imperfections of the house exterior. Recommended for older homes and for houses that haven’t had a fresh coat of exterior paint in years.  Painting the exterior of your house is good maintenance  as it provides a good barrier to the wood against all of nature’s elements. A fter years of neglect and weather worn the exterior of the house needs to be protected from rain, sun, snow and our extreme cold Ottawa winters.

Eggshell or Satin  With a slight shine or gloss to the eggshell or satin exterior paint finishes also work perfectly on exterior walls.  They work well on newer and smoother surfaces such as newly built homes since the wood has not yet been exposed to many years of harsh weather conditions and is not weather worn.

Semi-gloss or Gloss  just like interior painting, using semi-gloss or gloss paint finish on exterior painting is recommended for any trim woodwork.  Use on the trim of your exterior door, front entry and exterior windows.  This paint finish highlights the woodwork and is easy to clean.

It is important however to note that painting in cold weather will result in poor adhesion of the paint will hinder the process of it drying properly.  The usual cut off for exterior painting is late October to mid November depending on the kind of weather we are having in Ottawa.

If  a plus 10 degree Celsius temperature outside is still present, it can still be a good time to paint on the exterior.  If it has been raining too much as it does in the spring or fall the the wood would be too soaked and has not had ample time to dry, we would not recommend exterior painting until at least 3 days of being without rain, in order to give the wood time to dry before painting.

A good quality paint product and a job done right will give you years of enjoyment and pleasure every time you drive into your driveway and walk into your home.

Set up a meeting and to get a painting estimate and to discuss your next project.

Call or Email your Ottawa Painter

This post was originally published on May 21, 2017 at 20:06 and edited on January 28, 2020 at 9:02 pm