Painting Prior to Selling

I am often asked what painting a home owners should do prior to selling. While each situation is unique, there are some general guidelines to follow and a number of things to consider.

As a basic rule, neutral colors show better than bold colors. A prospective buyer may not like burgundy or gold, or the colors may clash with their furniture. However, sometimes bold colors can help differentiate your home, and in a competitive market this can be beneficial.

A fresh coat of paint can certainly make the home show better. But there is a tradeoff between the cost and the benefits.

Often, painting only the walls is sufficient to improve the appearance. High traffic areas, such as hallways and stairways can exhibit a lot of wear and tear—you should pay particular attention to these areas.

One important consideration is whether the home will be occupied or empty. In an empty home, nail holes and scuff marks will be more noticeable. In such situations, painting the walls becomes more crucial.

Painting Exteriors in the Winter

In Houston, we can paint exteriors every month of the year. The real concerns when painting exteriors is temperature and moisture. Most of the exterior products that we use can be applied down to 35 degrees. Since we seldom get that cold, temperature is rarely an issue for the paint. (The painters are a different issue.)

However, at cooler temperatures the paint will not dry as quickly, and this slows further when the humidity is high. In this regard, temperature can be a concern.

Another issue is the dew point. We have experienced situations in which excessive moisture has accumulated on a painted surface overnight. Even though the surface of the paint was dry when we left the job, the moisture re-wetted the paint.

During the winter we are much more cognizant of the weather, since we have more than one concern. But with a few extra precautions and a conservative approach, we can paint exteriors year round.

Painting Bricks

Painting bricks can often be an effective way to improve the appearance of an older home. But special steps should be taken.

The bricks should be cleaned to remove dirt, algae, and mildew. A masonry primer should be applied to seal the bricks. If they are extremely pitted or uneven, a block filler may be needed to fill the indentations.

Bricks present some unique problems compared to wood. The porosity of the bricks and the alkalinity of the mortar can adversely affect the appearance and adhesion of paint. For example, highly porous bricks which are not properly sealed will absorb paint unevenly, resulting in a spotty appearance.

On older homes with significant damage to the bricks and mortar, painting can greatly improve the appearance. Caulk can be used to fill cracks, and once painted, are much less noticeable.

An elastomeric coating can be used to provide a water proof barrier that will also bridge any hairline cracks that develop later.