ImageWorks Painting Blog

Attempting A Major House Paint Color Change? Try Six Shades Of Grey

Posted by Jeremy Holderness on Fri, Jul 04, 2014 @ 10:30 AM

Dark House Paint ColorNo, I'm not talking about the CliffsNotes version of the '50 Shades of Grey' novel.  I'm talking about using a tinted primer under hard-to-cover paint colors so you can avoid having to apply an excessive number of coats.

Maybe you've decided to transform an accent wall or the siding on your house from a dark to a more neutral tone, only to find out the hard way the it's easier said than done.  Or maybe you're going to take a chance with one of today's popular accent colors with a bold, deep, vivid, or transparent hue.  And while these may look like attractive choices on the display wall in the paint department, what they might not tell you is how difficult these colors can be to use in your home.

Well, luckily for you, you're not the first person to run into this problem.  And fortunately the painting industry has responded to this issue by developing high-hiding priming products and formulating a shaded priming system to help save you time and money when making a major interior or exterior house paint color change.  

So, how do you take advantage of these advances in technology?  This week's post will help you to better understand them and put them to use on your own project.


Light Over Dark

When changing from a dark color to a lighter tone, one thing that will help tremendously is using a high-hiding/stain-blocking type of primer as a barrier coat before applying your topcoat.  These primers are formulated to hold back dark colors and trap stains so they can't flash or bleed through the topcoat -- limiting the number of coats of paint needed to get uniform coverage.

As with many other applications, I am very partial to Zinsser's Bullseye 1-2-3 multi-purpose primer for this situation.  It's even tintable so it can be shaded to a lighter version of your topcoat if you so choose.


Dark Over Light

Light over dark is pretty straightforward, but a dark color over a light one gets a little bit tricky.  In the past you only had a couple of options:  1.)  Use a high-hiding paint and apply as many coats as necessary to get it to cover; or 2.)  Tint your primer to a lighter shade of the topcoat color and apply a barrier coat before applying the topcoat.

While the idea of tinting the primer to a lighter shade of your topcoat is somewhat effective at limiting the number of topcoats in some situations, it was no where near an ideal solution to the problem, and with some colors it actually did little to help. 

Enter the Sherwin-Williams Color Prime® System.  According to SW's website:

"The Sherwin-Williams exclusive Color Prime System is a continuum of gray shades that starts at light gray (P1) and gradually deepens to P6, or the darkest gray. This technology is based on how color pigment scatters and absorbs light. If a gray shade primer is recommended, the P code appears on the back of the color chip.

A primer tinted to the recommended shade of gray creates the ideal balance of light absorption and scattering to achieve the correct color in fewer coats. By working inside the color space of the topcoat color, the right basecoat shade allows the topcoat to more fully and more quickly develop its true color.

Bottom line: You'll achieve true color faster and easier. And, you'll reduce the chances of the color on the wall not matching the color of the chip."

So by using the corresponding 'P' number that's designated on the SW paint chip (when necessary) you can save yourself the money and frustration of unnecessary coats of paint.  And I can tell you from experience that this system does indeed work.

Many of the primers that Sherwin-Williams sells can be used with the color prime system, giving you the flexibility to make use of this technology on a wide range of interior and exterior projects.


Use A High-Hiding/Covering Paint

Regardless of whether you're going light over dark or dark over light, the use of a quality high-hiding/covering paint is worth the extra money as this will add extra insurance that your color will cover in as little coats as possible.

Even if you follow these steps it doesn't guarantee that you'll be able to get away with the standard two topcoats.  But I can promise you that the results will be far better than the alternative of attempting a major color change without it.

Because there's no guarantee that dark colors will cover in two coats you can expect that even the best painting contractors will include some type of language in their job contract explaining just that, so that they're not over-promising something that can't always be delivered.  And because that's the case, you should expect that there is a good possibility you might have to pay more for darker colors if you're hiring a painting contractor to perform the work.



If you're located in the Greater Pittsburgh or Western Pennsylvania areas and would like some assistance with your major house paint color change project please give us a call at 724-898-2446, visit our 'Contact Us' page, or click on the button below to have us contact you.


ImageWorks Painting Free Consultation & Quote Button








Tags: House Paint Color, House Paint Color Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh House Paint Color