Take the Guesswork Out of Your Next Paint Project

Whether gearing up to put the first coat of paint on a newly-constructed condominium, or planning a refresh of a commercial property, there are a few steps to take to turn a complex painting project into an efficient model of success. Before you attempt to answer all the tough questions regarding paint colors, contractors, timeline and more, review the following nuggets of insider expertise for best results.

Look Under the Hood

Here in Hawai‘i, we see many structural threats, like spalling (concrete breakdown), rust, mold and mildew creeping in. These issues absolutely need to be addressed before new paint goes on. To prevent any surprises, schedule a painting assessment on the property twice a year. The contractor and paint expert will do a comprehensive walkthrough, evaluating much more than just visual signs of wear-and-tear.

Take care to ensure there is no insect infiltration on the property. Insects have a knack for squeezing into the tiniest of spaces, even making their way between layers of paint, regardless of how many coats are applied. From the start, it's essential to ensure the integrity of the surface beneath the paint, as attempting to cover up underlying issues can lead to costly and ineffective projects.


Background Check Your Bids

While there’s nothing like a job well done in the end, make sure to research before selecting a bid. If a painter comes recommended, that’s great! But please take the time to do a thorough background check. Choose a vendor that is licensed and bonded, has plenty of experience, excellent references, a strong credit history and goes the extra mile to understand the property and its painting needs.


Follow the Formula

Many of my customers ask if it’s OK to do a primer and one thick coat, or skip the primer entirely. My answer is always the same: Resist the temptation to skip a step! Sagging paint on a wall is not pretty. For a long paint life, follow the go-to formula: primer and two coats of paint. This strategy has been tested by painters over decades, and it works.

To understand the role primer plays, picture yourself hanging from a set of monkey bars. Now picture yourself wearing leather gloves. The primer acts as the gloves, providing the best adhesion.



The neutral exterior shade of Valspar paint for this apartment building provides broad curb appeal and holds up well in Hawaiʻi's tropical climate. Photo courtesy of Valspar.


Cautiously Approach Color

The color of your paint project is the one detail that can stand out a mile away! For new paints, select a shade that fits your property style. Going for a contemporary or vintage feel? Maybe you prefer something more bold or classic? On a repaint, you can either go a shade brighter to restore the original color (all paint colors fade) or ask your paint expert if it’s possible to match the existing, paler shade.

Before selecting an exterior color, think about the effects of time and impact of sun exposure. With that in mind, I caution against red and red-toned beiges since they often fade to pink over the years. I recently assisted a customer in picking out a nice, neutral gray for a repaint of a bold magenta that didn’t work.

Staff at a paint store can do brushouts of paint colors on a brushout chart, to help clients compare and contrast on the larger projects. Grab the top paint color choices and paint a portion of wall to be sure it hits the right notes.


Pair Painters With Projects

No two projects are identical. When selecting paint contractors, make sure they have extensive experience with projects of similar size and scope. If managing a small, two-story residential building, don't hire a company that specializes in massive subdivision projects or high-rises, and don't hire a contractor who specializes in low-rise buildings who might not have experience for painting large-scale projects. For luxury home repaints, a small paint crew is likely to be more meticulous with ornate trim, fine art, and other high-end considerations than a commercial painter.

Finally, read the bid specs carefully to see what the total cost includes. There are multiple factors, including additional fees that can impact your final cost beyond the initial estimate. Compare apples to apples before choosing a winner, and get a second opinion by running your final pick by an impartial paint expert to ensure you’ve got the right person for the job.


As featured in Building Management Hawaii




Diana Ancog

Diana Ancog is the Paint Department Manager at the HPM Building Supply in Kona with more than 23 years of building supplies experience, specializing in paint and stain application. 

(808) 334-4283



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