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Painting After New Construction: How Long to Wait?

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Toby in South Dakota on the line. What’s going on with your new house?

    TOBY: Yeah, we just moved into a new house there and I was wondering – we have that plain, white paint on the walls …


    TOBY: … but my wife’s wanting to paint colors and do whatever for like kids’ room and stuff.

    TOM: OK.

    TOBY: But we were told that we should wait a year.

    TOM: Nah.

    TOBY: Is that true?

    LESLIE: (chuckling) No. (chuckling) It depends. If you feel that strongly about painting the room a different color, go for it. The only reason why someone might suggest waiting a year is so that you can live in the space, decide how you want to use it and then determine what color works best with how you’ve grown into that space. I like to paint a house before I’ve even moved in.

    TOM: Well actually, there’s another reason that you may have gotten that advice, Toby, and that is because the lumber is still fairly green. You’re going to have a lot of expansion and contraction and what you might get is some cracking and some nail pops that happen during the first year more so than in subsequent years. But as long as you’re prepared for that and not afraid to make the occasional patch and touch up and, of course, very important that you save some of that paint, then I don’t see any reason to live with those dull, white walls for all that time.

    TOBY: Yeah, we’ve noticed that they mark up really easily. I mean you can just rub up against them and my wife’s getting a little (chuckling) tired of trying to clean the marks.

    TOM: Oh, yeah.

    LESLIE: I can’t live with a white room.

    TOM: And new construction paint is usually absolutely the worst, cheapest junk out there.

    LESLIE: And it’s the whitest, it’s the brightest white you’ve ever seen. It’s almost blue.

    TOM: Yeah, go ahead and invest in some really good paint. You know, Behr’s got some fabulous paint out there; a lot of cool colors and a lot of high-tech paints; they have this sateen finish which is great for bathrooms and kitchens. It has this nanotechnology that makes it easy to clean. So there’s a lot of good paint out there. Definitely a good time to do it now; you know, before you get so much stuff in that house that it becomes more problematic for you to paint it.

    LESLIE: They even have scrubbable matte finishes. So if you’re looking for a non-sheen in your finish, you can get a scrubbable matte which will be great to clean and even you’ll be able to get crayon off the wall with one of those dry erasers that you can get from the supermarket.

    TOM: Alright, Toby, good luck with that new house. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

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