Painting is one of the most important renovation tasks because a good paint job protects the walls and foundations from environmental elements that cause wear and tear and corrosion.

Have a look at our Buyer's Guide to help you make a more informed choice.

Introduction

Painting is an effective way to make a house look better and new. There are various colors and shades that can make a ‘homey' or lively ambiance. Simple painting can help you save money by improving the surfaces of your home, which will remain looking good without needing much work.

Buying Considerations

  1. Paint Supplier - In general, painting vendors will either be mandating the usage of paint from specific paint suppliers (e.g. NIPPON) or request the homeowner to supply their own paint. During selection, make sure to check on this and if you have a preference for more control, select those vendors that provide only painting labour.
  2. Paint Types - regardless of paint type supplier and their various product names, usually they’ll fall into categories offering similar capabilities (or a combination of them). Looking at just the capabilities will help you easily compare the different supplier’s paints. Here are some of the  common ones:  
    1. Low VOC/No-VOC/Odourless/Child Safe - VOC compounds in the paint are what causes the strong smell/odour of paint. Studies have shown that VOCs are harmful to the body. Hence lower the VOC, the safer it is. With no-VOC or Odourless paints, more coats are necessary in order to achieve the same results as regular low-VOC paint.
    2. Anti-Mould - this paint type is specially designed to prevent mould from growing on interior walls. They contain certain chemicals (e.g. benzisothiazolone) that kill mould growth.
    3. Stain Resistant - This paint type provides good stain resistance which allows homeowners to clean common household stains off the wall easily.
    4. Anti-Bacterial - this paint type contains certain chemicals that act as antibacterial agents specially designed to kill bacteria when exposed on walls.
    5. Heat reflective -  such paint contains high solar reflective coating and it provides excellent heat reflective effects by efficiently reflecting rays of light in the near infrared region called heat rays. 
  3. Paint packages - Most vendors do provide packages with different pricing using different grades of paint. While this takes away alot of work required to estimate the cost, make sure to ask about:
    1. paint types used - this is what the different package prices are based on. Owners should understand what the types are and if they meet the requirements (refer to earlier point on what are the various paint types)
    2. color ranges available - there is usually a limit on how many colors that can be selected in a package, make sure you’re comfortable with what is offered
    3. what is not included in the package - Some services like plastering and usage of primer/sealer are not included and requires top-up.
  4. Touch-up - Some painting colors need a touch-up to perfect their look and increase the durability. It is important to get this clarified with the vendor how they handle touch-ups and what are the conditions that this is applicable.
  5. Protection and shifting of existing furniture - if you’re repainting an existing home, then it is important to understand if the painting vendor will provide such services and if they charge more for it. Owners cannot assume that they’ll do it for free.
  6. Layers of paint - Make sure to check with the vendor how many layers will be applied. 2 coats of paint should be the standard. The risk of applying 1 layer is that color might not be consistent. 
  7. Warranty - Any good painter should be confident of his work and be happy to provide a guarantee against chipping, peeling, blistering or excessive fading or chalking that might happen a couple years after the job is done at no or little cost
  8. Surface preparation and other services - From sanding to smoothen surface, filling up gaps and pores to plastering if required for uneven surfaces. Do check with the vendors if these are included in the services, and if not, what would be the additional cost.

FAQ

Technical Terms

  1. Volatile organic compounds (“VOCs”) - are chemicals that, along with oxides of nitrogen and sunlight, create ground level ozone, a major component of smog. Certain VOCs are also harmful when inhaled and may pose indoor air quality concerns. In fact, studies have shown that indoor VOCs can be up to 5 times more harmful to health than outdoor VOCs! Adverse health effects may include eye, nose, and throat irritation, allergic reactions, headaches, dizziness, and nausea.
  2. Sealer - A sealer is a special type of primer designed to be used with, or in place of, a primer. A sealer prevents the topcoat from soaking into the substrate, and to a degree, can create a water-resistant layer between the substrate and topcoat.
  3. Primer - A primer is the first coat of paint applied to the substrate. A primer has many purposes, including: Blocking out stains, Stops rust occurring on a metal surface, Smooths out imperfections on a rough surface.
  4. Undercoat - An undercoat is used after a primer. It is used to fill any minor imperfections to create a smooth, even-coloured surface ready for the application of the topcoat. An undercoat also assists to lighten a surface when changing from a dark to a pale colour. Typically, today you can buy a three-in-one prepcoat product that saves time, money and confusion.