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.

Wall Paint Peeled Off

I recently received a call from someone who had just moved into a new home and painted one of the bedrooms. When they removed the masking tape, the paint peeled off of the wall. She wondered what had caused this and what could be done.

The most likely cause is dust from the drywall finishing. The process of finishing drywall creates a tremendous amount of fine dust. If surfaces are not properly cleaned prior to painting, this dust can prevent good adhesion.

Under normal conditions the degraded adhesion will not be noticed. However, when some form of stress— such as your situation with the tape—is present, the paint may come off very easily.

It is seldom necessary to remove all of the paint. Most likely, the adhesion problem is isolated. An easy efficient solution is to apply a penetrating bonding product to “glue” the existing paint to the drywall. These products will stabilize the surface and prevent future problems.

It will probably be necessary to do some repairs in the areas where the paint lifted. Use a thin coat of joint compound to level the surface, and then apply a matching texture.


Drywall Repairs

After a drywall repair, it is often difficult to make the repaired area look like the adjoining surfaces. The most common problem is matching the texture.

Virtually every drywall surface has some level of texture, even if it is only a “stipple” from the paint roller. Often, when a repair is made, the repaired area will be flatter than adjoining surfaces. Because texture causes light to reflect differently, the repair may be very visible, particularly from an angle. If this is the case, adding a little texture to the surface will improve the appearance.

Another problem can be the sheen of the paint. Paints with much sheen generally do not touch up well. The method used for applying paint will have a significant impact on the final sheen of a paint. If the wall was painted with a roller (most likely), and the touch up was done with a brush, the sheens could be different. Again, this will be most evident when viewed from an angle. If this is the case, repainting the entire wall will likely eliminate the problem.