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Katherine and Jennifer are a mother-daughter design team from Ottawa, Ontario. A business built 6 years ago from their own environmental and physical illness, these ladies have worked hard over the years to create healthier homes for their clients. The mission: sourcing sustainable, good quality products and reducing their carbon footprint. With this came a craving of other designers wanting to learn more about having an eco-conscious brand…”The Karma Designers”! 


Busting out that paint | 5 things to consider before painting

With the New Year in bloom, we think of everything the past year has brought us, and what we look forward to doing in the new year. As my husband rolls a coat of paint on the wall, accomplishing a ‘check’ on the honey-do list (funny how things get completed when you’re selling your house!), I observe the many types of paints we’ve acquired over the years. It has brought me to think about the many kinds of paint available to us, and what makes them so different.

Not too long ago Katherine and I were invited to attend a Benjamin Moore Presentation, we were able to learn a bit more about the paint we use and love and a few other fun facts just about paint in general. It was informative and glad we braved our Canadian snow storm in heels to go to it.

With that in mind, whether you’re going on vacation and you want to start the new year off on a good note, or dreaming of a spring project, let’s get you started on the right path. Nested Green prefers the use of Benjamin Moore product because they are tried and true, we’ve never had an issue with the quality or compromising results but we have experience with many various lines of product and keep coming back.

  1. The different types of paint sheen’s and where they should go

These are the common types of paint seen in these spaces, but ultimately, it’s up to you!

Bedrooms and living spaces: Eggshell, it is not a flat finish but offers a slight sheen to it. If you have children or a busy house, Pearl/Satin finish would allow for easier cleaning, though this becomes a personal preference.

Dining room, Family room and powder rooms: Pearl/Satin.

Trim, Kitchens and Baths: Semi-gloss. Allows for easier cleaning and it challenges grease, splatters and humidity.

Remember though, the higher the sheen, the higher the shine. Once you get the semi-gloss it gets quite shiny, and can drastically change the effect you may be trying to create in your home. It also becomes more likely to see flaws in application.

Ceilings: Flat

If you’re in an apartment semi-gloss is often what landlords use because they want an easy clean up and something they don’t have to repair frequently with a simple brush against the wall. If you’re looking to paint your wall in your apartment, consider your lifestyle and how long you’re going to be there for. This is a good segue for my next note…

  1. Don’t compromise price for quality

If it’s one thing I’ve learned is that paint is certainly a “get what you pay for” type purchase. There are a couple of brands that I’ll come back to if I need a ‘cheap paint’ but they are much harder to work with and it takes a talented hand to know how to make it look good. If you’re a beginner painter and can’t afford a higher end paint, hang tight, I’ve got something for you at the end. More often than not, an inexpensive paint may require more coats which means more paint. When using a higher sheen paint, the likelihood of being able to visibly see brushstrokes becomes more likely, so have a good hand with your technique.

To my apartment dwellers… You likely don’t want to spend a whole lot because you may only be there for a few years. If you think you’ll be there longer then I’d go for the good stuff because it’ll be worth it at that point. The issue with many apartments is that often enough there is massive build up on the wall with paint; it often has a lot of bumps, drips and noticeably questionable repairs. You need a paint that can battle that and still make the space look good with limited work unless you’re handy (great!) in which case repairing any flaws is fairly simple.

  1. What’s the deal with paint and primer in one?

This is the bane of my existence, and after purchasing an entire apartment’s worth (6 different colours I should add!) many years ago, my husband and I vowed never to work with it again. I know some people who love it, and if you can work with it, great, but can be certainly a good waste of money depending on your project.

Here’s the thing: ANY PAINT CAN BE USED AS A PRIMER (Uhhh, don’t take that too literally!). Primer is just to neutralize what’s behind it, to keep the good paint from soaking in like a sponge. If you have new drywall, you’d likely need 2 coats of primer to give it a good foundation so you have the nice paint on top. If there is paint now and it’s a fairly light colour and the new colour can cover it without much issue, then just paint on top of that. If it’s red and you want to put a pale blue on top, you would need to prime it, and then put your paint on top because you’d need several coats otherwise.

So, these companies that offer a paint and primer in one don’t really offer anything that special. Heck, even my favourite Benjamin Moore lines offers that with their Aura line (which, haha, we ended up not liking that line).

Why waste your money on priming your wall with your good paint?

In my video I demonstrate that you can buy a contractor grade primer for a fraction of the cost, and go further with your good paint. Using a primer and than a paint is not an extra step in labour as often you’ll require 2 coats with the 2-in-1 anyway. The paint was as thick as glue (that’s the primer additive), so it seemed like we’d only need to do one coat of paint… right? Nope. The appeal many find with the 2-in-1 is that you’d only need one coat of paint, because the primer is in it as well, it’s like putting on two coats. We ended up having to do an extra coat anyway. The thickness of the paint meant we used more of it (read: we had to buy more) on the wall which created a “goopy” effect which we felt was unappealing as well. With the paint and primer in one, we ended up spending more on our “good paint” when we could have saved with a primer. In fact, with the condition our walls were in in the first place we could have gotten away without priming it. Lessons learned!

I wanted to make a note here, as I know there is a market for it… what should it be used for? In the many articles I’ve read about the “benefits”, I still wasn’t sold. The most consistent message was that if your new paint is with the same sheen and very similar colour, then the 2-in-1 is great; otherwise if you’re changing sheen’s and colour’s, do the primer and paint separately. Do some research if you’re interested in it to find the right line for you.

  1. Brush vs Roll (A little bit on technique!)

The key to a good paint finish is good brushes and rollers. Technique and good tools is key. When you pay a professional, you’re not paying for the paint, you’re paying for the professional finish. It always bewilders me when people downgrade in quality of paint because they think that’ll help reduce overall costs. Having a high quality cutting brush makes the world a difference with results. When you’re cutting around door and window frames etc., the last thing you want is visible brush strokes which can be avoided when you have good quality brush. It is wise to cut first, then roll to cover up as much brush strokes with the roller but without the fear of hitting walls or ceilings.

You want a clean finish, having the right tools hand in hand with technique help significantly. Cutting in paint takes practice, if you need tape to help, use that, but don’t let it sit around too long after as it can be difficult to take off after (or pull paint off with it). If you need tape, be weary as even some well reputable paint tape tends to ‘bleed’, compromising your results.

  1. So, where’s the savings?

We all want to save where we can, that’s very fair. Here are some ways to save:

  1. Hire a contractor/professional painter. It might end up being more expensive, but is the time worth it? They can paint an entire house in two days, but may take you months of tinkering. What’s your time worth? They also have all the tools and technique, guaranteeing you a professional result.Fun fact! Working with professional painters in the past, many of them have a preference in certain paint lines purely because they’ve honed their skills around it, and because it gives the nicest finish they can offer. Asking your hired painter to use a more economical paint may actually increase the price of their labour quote because of the extra work they have to do to make it look like a higher end finish.
  1. Alternatively, get a friend to help you. Order a pizza and tackle it together with dedicated time. Bonus points if they have some technique and have some tools to help!
  1. Limit your colours. Stick with a couple of neutrals. Remember, you need a trim paint, potentially a primer and your main colour. Adding colours means more gallons of paint.
  1. Buy contractor grade primer so you can buy the paint you want.
  2. There are some more economically priced paints that are still good quality. Do your research about what brands are available and their technique (and some have their own tricks to give the best finish) even within certain lines of product. Never worked with paint before? No problem! YouTube is a great thing, watch lots of reviews, contractors are often posting videos of how they use the product and gauge that way what you’d like to use.

Last notes: Every project is a little different. I made these points here to keep it in the back of your mind while you determine your project needs and wants. : )

If you haven’t seen the video already, check it out here!