A NEW COLOR can give a room a whole new look without breaking the bank. Experts recommend using high-quality paint to make your improvement last longer. Jupiterimages

A NEW COLOR can give a room a whole new look without breaking the bank. Experts recommend using high-quality paint to make your improvement last longer. Jupiterimages

Real Estate

Remodel a room for the cost of a fill up

By From page C6 | October 28, 2011

As prices at the pump remain high, it’s making other things look downright cheap. One of them is interior painting. Always inexpensive, the cost of painting a room is now about the same as the cost of a fill-up.

According to Debbie Zimmer, spokesperson for the Paint Quality Institute, “Even the highest quality interior paint can be purchased for about $50 a gallon, which is often enough to paint a good-sized room, or even apply two coats to a small one. Throw in a brush, roller and paint pan, and the cost is still well under $100 — or roughly the cost of gassing up a minivan.”

The affordability of interior painting has not escaped the attention of consumers, especially in relation to other home projects. In a recent PQI survey, 92 percent of the respondents said they were more likely to paint rather than do other types of remodeling, given the current economic environment.

“Clearly, low cost is part of the appeal of interior painting, particularly at this point in time, but consumers also know that a fresh coat of paint can greatly beautify a room,” said Zimmer. “That’s the real secret to the popularity of painting — the ability to completely transform a space with minimal cost and effort.”

If you’re one of the many who are planning to paint this season, what should you know before you pick up brush and roller? Zimmer offers some advice.

“Good paint performance depends on good paint adhesion, and paint adheres best to surfaces that are clean and sound,” she said.

So, before painting, remove dust and dirt from walls and other surfaces with a detergent-water solution. Rinse them clean and allow them to dry. Fill cracks and holes with spackling compound and sand them smooth after the compound dries. Prime stains with a stain-blocking primer to prevent the discoloration from bleeding through the new paint.

“It’s also wise to use only high quality brushes and rollers,” said Zimmer. “They apply the paint more evenly and make application almost effortless.”

When applying any latex paint, make sure the brushes and rollers have bristles and covers made of a synthetic material like polyester; they’ll hold up better when exposed to water-based paint.

Most importantly, Zimmer recommended that consumers use top quality 100 percent acrylic latex paints in order to make the work easier and to get the best long-term performance.

“In terms of application, top quality paints spatter less, go on more easily, and tend not to show brush and roller marks,” she said. “They also tend to cover the old color in fewer coats, which can save a lot of time, effort and money.”

But the big payoff is the durability of these paints. According to Zimmer, they resist fading, yellowing and staining, and even if they do get stained the discoloration can often be washed off, especially if a higher-gloss paint is used.

So, if the cost of gas has you perturbed, purchase some paint instead. You’ll get a lot of mileage out of just a single gallon — very likely, enough to completely transform the appearance of a room in your home.

For more information on interior painting go to or visit

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