Plan Prep & Paint


By Dean Rowland

Just being in the mood to refresh the look of your home by repainting is a side dish of wishful thinking. Dream all you want when you look at pictures in this magazine and others for ideas that will transform the status quo of your exterior and interior surfaces.

Whether you do it yourself or hire a professional to make changes, large or small, takes planning, prepping, good product choices and a few dollars in your pocket.

“The preparation is the most important part of the job,” said Bill Bailey, owner of Bayshore Painting on Hilton Head and in Bluffton for the past 26 years.

One way to minimize discoloration over time is to power wash the exterior every year. Depending on the favorability of the environment in the Lowcountry, plan to repaint every five years or even longer if using a high-quality paint.

“A lot of the time the outside of the house needs to be painted, but maybe it only needs to be washed,” he said. “You also can get a lot of mildew in certain areas.” 

Bailey’s prepping priorities are: “No. 1, the house needs to be washed before painting; No. 2, you have to check for any caulking issues that need to be done; and No. 3, you have to check for wood rot too.”

These issues are correctable.

Keep your dreams reasonable for cost considerations and avoiding a drastic color change. If wed to keeping the same color scheme (neutral, coastal colors, etc.), then don’t deviate from that and make it slightly darker than the old one so blending in won’t be an issue. Apply only one coat.

Neutral colors appeal to almost everyone and are a perfect choice if thinking about putting the home on the sellers’ market. A fresh new exterior instantly creates curb appeal.

If the existing paint is in good condition and doesn’t have bare spots or unpainted areas, a coat of primer isn’t necessary.

If a primer is needed, use a combination paint and primer that eliminates the need for two applications. It dries quickly, is durable and easy to clean. When it comes to finishes, the less reflective the better. A flat finish will hide most flaws.

Inexpensive basic flat white paint starts at about $20 per gallon but can be found cheaper at smaller stores. Most exterior paints have price tags of $30 to $45 a gallon for satin, semigloss and gloss, while top dollar of $50 per gallon will buy a custom mix that’s environmentally friendly with zero VOC (volatile organic compounds).

Like most home improvement projects, the more you spend on quality products, the greater the dividends short and long term.

“It’s usually cost effective to use the best products,” he said.

Like painting the home’s exterior, turning your vision of a refreshed interior into a sensible working plan tops the to-do list.

Four walls and a ceiling present an opportunity to dabble in contrasting colors and shades, from bold to neutral and from cool to warm, and how they complement each other. In the mix of those decisions is what to do with the moldings and accent walls.

Prep the room by moving the furniture away from the walls and covering them with plastic sheets or canvas for splatter. Remove all wall hangings, nails and picture hangers, and set aside all tools, equipment and materials. Remove all switch plates and outlet covers, and place drop clothes over unmovable objects and the floor.

Inspect the walls for holes, scratches and peeling paint, and spackle the blemishes. Sanding eliminates surface imperfections. Then clean the surfaces.

Unless your walls are in pristine condition, use an oil-based primer. Saturate the roller with paint and roll up and down in a W pattern.

Whatever your budget is, keep these average costs in mind for interior painting, according to HomeGuide.

A 1,500-square-foot home averages $1,300 to $4,400, and a 2,500-square-foot home costs from $1,800 to $6,300. Prices increase when ceilings, baseboards and trims are added.

Home Advisor reports that painting a home’s exterior in the Lowcountry averages $3,952 and ranges from $2,276 to $5,851. Painting stucco costs more.

Labor accounts for most of the expense.