How often should you paint the interior of a house? The answer to this question depends on many factors, and many times, these factors are décor based. If the colours look dated, or if you are a new resident and the colours are not your favourite, the home will get painted sooner or later. However this blog is not meant to be about decorating and I will try to stay away from that. Also this time we will talk about the walls. Quite often, the doors, trim and ceilings are painted separately and we will cover that with the next blog.
Assuming normal wear and tear, today’s wall paints applied well with proper prep-work can last 5 or even 10 years. But let’s look at that in more detail.
Hallways get painted more often because of wear & tear and wall repairs, as shown here.
Hallways and corridors
The walls here see a lot of wear and tear. These areas get used “and abused” thousands of times. They will have scuff marks, finger marks and possibly dents and cracks below the surface. If the paint that was used was a high quality washable paint, these walls can be washed occasionally. In this case a more expensive paint will save money on a paint job. If the dents and cracks are at the corners of the walls, they can be patched and then touched up with the same paint. Most of the time these small repairs and touch ups are not that visible. If they are in the middle of a wall or they are visible, it may be necessary to repaint the affected sections of the walls. In our experience, hallways get painted more often than most other areas of a home. Some customers will even paint them every 2-3 years.
The paint job of an adult bedroom will usually last a long time. Bedrooms as a rule do not see as much activity and do not require frequent painting. The obvious exception is children’s bedrooms. These double as play rooms most of the time and they suffer quite a bit of abuse. It is a good idea here to use a top quality paint with a higher sheen. Eggshell or even a pearl/satin sheen is recommended. These paints quite often can be scrubbed clean and make the paint last longer. Another good idea is to paint a section of a wall with chalkboard paint. This will encourage children to express their creativity on a predefined wall surface and hopefully leave the other walls alone. The reality is, where kids spend a lot of time, wall paint will not last very long. Kids rooms get painted more often than other bedrooms, maybe every 2-3 years.
Living room and Dining room
Paint in these rooms tends to last longer, despite them being used quite often. A lot of the activity in these rooms tends to be more formal. It is expected that better paint and more prep work is used in these areas as they are used to showcase the décor of a home. Furniture, draperies, floor lamps and plants can serve as a buffer, even if just visually, that keeps people away from touching the walls. Deciding to repaint these rooms often is accompanied with a complete or significant change of décor and style. For all these reasons, painting every five to seven years is very common.
Kitchen, bathrooms, laundry room
These are very busy rooms. The most durable of paints have to go here. In a kitchen where there is a lot of cooking and food preparation you should have a paint that can be washed frequently. Despite any decorating advice that suggests a lower sheen paint, the kitchen should always have a pearl or satin finish. We have painted a lot of kitchens over the years, even some of the avocado glossy ones. Kitchens always require a lot of prep work before painting and quite often washing and priming. The main culprit in bathrooms and somewhat in laundry rooms is humidity and moisture. In the old days the thinking was that alkyd semigloss would be the best paint.
Unfortunately that type of paint created a lot of mildew that was very difficult to control. Today’s recommended paints for humid areas are all water based and are actually longer lasting. In fact, the gloss of the paint is not as big a factor in choosing paint as it used to be. One of the better paints we had great experience with is Dulux Kitchen&Bathroom. The paint job in these rooms does not last as long and needs to be done every 3-4 years. Good ventilation will let some of the humidity escape and extend the time between painting.
There are structural reasons that would necessitate painting of course. For example, as a new house settles, joints will crack or drywall screws “pop”. This is not a paint issue but should be taken care of before the next paint job.