Problem with pink tiles, harvest gold laminate? There’s a paint for that
The longer the tight economy drags on, the more living spaces appear to be in a time warp. Styles that many once joked soon would become fashionable again are becoming a little hard to live with.
Fortunately, many homeowners are taking advantage of improved paints and creative techniques to put design upgrades within their reach.
It seems that when it comes to common design complaints, there’s a paint for that.
Looks that not only are livable, but lovable can be achieved by starting with pieces many already have. The same old-style kitchen cabinets, faded laminate countertops, pink bath tiles, knotty-pine paneling and other decor that seemed unlikely candidates for a design boost are looking great.
When it comes to fresh looks, cabinets are hot, says Wayne Braga, paint department manager at Lowe’s in North Charleston. Rust-Oleum has a cabinet-refinishing kit with a primer base and a sealer and finish coat in one. It’s important to clean cabinets with a degreaser before refinishing. Doing the job costs the typical homeowner from $59 to $149 depending on the number of cabinets.
For changing countertops, there are a few kits made that require no sanding and no prepping, including one by Rust-Oleum, says Braga. You paint on a primer, then the finish, then a clear coat.
The result is as hard as or harder than a laminate counter.
There are also refinishing kits for bathtubs, including one by Homax, Braga says. It comes in both a spray and a brush-on epoxy that can be applied to cast iron or fiberglass tubs.
The concept of painting tiles has started catching on the past four or five years because of the recession, says Dick Hardy, president of the XIM company, which makes Tile Doc, an epoxy that bonds to porcelain and ceramic tiles. The challenge is to get it to stick to the tiles and last in an environment where there is hot, soapy water, he says.
Do-it-yourselfers are using the product at home, and painting services are using it as well, Hardy says.
“How long it will last is going to vary by use,” Hardy says. It will hold up better in a bath used by adults than children and 20 times longer than regular interior or exterior paint in either setting.
A nonabrasive cleaner should be used to clean the epoxy, which can be tinted in pastel but not dark colors because it has a high amount of white pigments. The standard kit, about $45 at Sherwin-Williams, is enough to cover 100 square feet.
Painting knotty pine or other kinds of paneling is an effective way to change the look of a room, says designer Trudy Mercy Brown. The process is quick and inexpensive, but those choosing it will need a stain blocker to keep the knots from bleeding through.
One paint she recommends is Annie Sloan’s chalk paint, imported from England and sold locally at Charleston Revisions in Mount Pleasant for $38.95 for a one-liter pot.
Laurie Cooper, owner of Charleston Revisions, says the paint is great for painting a lot of different surfaces including knotty pine. Cooper recommends patching the knots with shellac to seal and keep them from bleeding through.
The chalk paint will paint over shellac, Cooper says. Using a latex-based paint first would require priming. It also can be used to paint marble, granite and ceramic.
“The paint sticks to just about anything,” she says. “I have painted vinyl chairs and waxed them. She makes a wax and it just sticks.
There are durable paints that give good coverage on lamps, light fixtures, furniture and fabric, Brown says. She notes that do-it-yourselfers can find tutorials for just about anything online at sites such as hgtv.com and diy.com.