Welcome to the joys of home ownership! Unfortunately, along with the joys of ruling your own domain comes the expense of maintenance, including repainting all those walls that have not been touched in years.
One way to defer the substantial cost of completely repainting your home is to touch up areas that have been marred, soiled or damaged. See how the experts fix up their paint jobs and drastically reduce repainting costs.
The first step in any painting project is to clean the surface to be recoated. This is best done by using a clean, soft cloth and a mild solution of cleaner and water, and then rising thoroughly. For dark marks and smudges, you can try one of the “eraser” type products available at most paint or home improvement stores. Once the area is clean and dry, you will want to mask off or cover any adjacent areas to prevent getting paint where it doesn’t belong.
If you have areas that have sustained damage, such as gouges, large scratches or even holes, you will need to repair these before proceeding. Depending on your level of expertise (and tolerance for pain), you can attempt these repairs yourself or hire a professional painter. Depending on the texture of your walls, smooth, orange peel, splatter texture and so forth, there are different techniques involved. The simplest is smooth walls. With these walls, you can use a putty knife and a can of spackle to fill minor dings or scratches, sand smooth and then paint. More extensive damage will require patching that most homeowners can do. These patches can be done by a professional as well. Also, slightly more complicated, are surfaces that are textured. There are aerosol cans available that can produce fairly satisfactory results, without a great deal of experience. Just be sure to mask off adequately to protect surrounding areas.
One other critical step is to match the painted surface you want to touch up. The best-case scenario is if you have some of the original paint left over. Depending on how long it has been since the original paint job and conditions such as sunlight or soiling, you may need to completely repaint some areas, as they simply are not going to blend in. If you do not have the original paint, the next best solution is to have the brand name, product and “batch number” of the paint that was used. If neither of these options are available, you can attempt to obtain a sample from your home, such as a piece of trim or a cut out of a 3”x3” section of wall board (this will require patching of course) to provide to the paint store to match. If none of these choices are realistic, you will have to try to match, as best you can, colors available from the paint supplier. Each has a different palette to choose from, and usually offer sample color cards. The drawback to this approach is that you are probably not going to get an exact match. You are then left with having to repaint entire walls or rooms, depending on how close the colors match.
Assuming you are dealing with water-based paint, the best tool for touch up is a good quality nylon or polyester brush. I would suggest a 3” brush. If you are using an alkyd or oil-based paint, a good china bristle brush will do best. (Be sure to clean china bristle with mineral spirits and not water.)
Again, provide adequate masking for protection. Using a modest amount of paint on your brush, spread the paint over the area to be touched up, with even consistent strokes. Darker marks may take several applications to cover. Especially stubborn marks or stains may require the use of a stain sealer first. When satisfied with the coverage, finish with light, side-to-side strokes to “lay off” or even out the coating and blend it into the surrounding areas. You will need to wait until it is completely dry to determine if you are happy with the coverage and the match. One thing to keep in mind is that surfaces that are exposed to external light sources, such as windows, will show imperfections more. The same is true with paints with a higher gloss.
Anyone can complete this project. The good news is that for a few hours and a few dollars, you can defer the substantial cost of a complete repaint for a number of years. Who knows, you may even have fun!