This has been a topic that a number of readers of this blog have been requesting for since quite a while. Was finally able to pen this down over the weekend.
Painting of the home has been a major area of grouse and confusion for home owners. Grouse because vendors have started charging per sqft. rates and no longer work on a labour only basis. Due to this overall costing has sky rocketed. And Confusion because there is too much choice in paints and wall finishes available in the market – much more than what an average human mind can evaluate & fathom. The increasing cost of paint has made options of good quality wallpapers viable adding further to the confusion on whether to use paint or wallpaper.
Net-net customers are struggling to balance their budgets with the coats of Putty, Primer, Paint and Paper that it will take to give their homes that desired look.
To demystify this home painting problem lets first start with the basics i.e. what is the painting process. We will then get into best practices, rates, options and so on.

 The Painting Process:

The Painting process  can be summarized as a step of P’s …and now this is starting to sound like a Poem by Philip Kotler (Google him if you don’t know who he is :)). Let me explain – Painting has 2 main steps – Wall Preparation and the Paint Coat. The Wall preparation itself includes alternate coats of Primer and Patti/ PoP. The coat of Patti is to even out the damaged surface and to smoothen the wall while it’s the Primer that holds everything together. Without the Primer the whole surface will flake and fall apart.
The Painter would start with sanding the wall. Once its smoothened, the first coat of Primer is applied. Primer itself is of 2 kinds – Water based and Oil Based…more on that later. Once the Primer dries out, usually in about 12 to 14 hours , the damaged portions of the wall are repaired with the putty. In case the wall is uneven then a coat of PoP (Plaster of Paris) is applied followed by sanding. Once that dries its back to another coat of Primer, another 12 hours of drying time and another round of sanding. NOW the wall is ready to be painted. Usually two coats of Primer separated by one coat of Putty/ PoP is enough. Painters will tell you that the wall needs 2 coats of each but that is usually and overkill with no effect on the final output and can be avoided to save cost.
Remember we spoke about Water based and Oil Based Primers – these exist to add to the overall confusion. Most top coats (Paints) are fine with a Water Based Primer, however some top coats – such as enamel or Textures, do better on an Oil based primer. In addition, say if you are applying wall paint on a plywood, something that you should do only under expert supervision, then an Oil based primer is recommended. Net – net, when you choose the paint , check with the paint vendor on the right Primer to be used as that directly impacts the longevity of the paint.
It just started raining outside and fortunately that reminded me of something that I missed. If your wall or any portion of it is damp or algae/ fungus infested then it will need waterproofing or algae treatment before you venture into the Primer Putty & Painting bit. While Waterproofing is a bit complicated and requires an expert ‘s attention, algae/ fungus treatment just needs the chemical to be mixed with the Primer and applied to the wall. If you have any such issues on your walls then be sure to bring it to the attention of the Painter so that he treats the wall appropriately.
Now that the wall is treated and ready it’s time to Paint. Any paint that you buy will need to be diluted (usually with water) in the ratio given in the tech specs of the paint. Once the paint is diluted the process is simple and something that all of us learnt in Kindergarten. Dip the Brush (or roller) in paint and apply. Usually roller finishes are better and more even compared to a brush hence it is recommended to use rollers. The painter would evenly cover the wall with paint with a W shaped motion (thank God it’s not a P again). There are a number of videos available on You Tube on the W motion and you can refer the same. Each coat of paint needs min 8 hours of drying time, however in Bangalore weather its best to wait 12 to 14 hours before applying the second coat.
Usually 2 coats of paint are enough to mask the Primer completely and give the desired colour, however if you want it darker a third coat can be applied. Do however be careful because the Paint colour usually deepens with time, you are therefore better off with a shade too light rather than a shade too dark. If even after 2 – 3 days it seems too light for your taste only then consider a third coat.

Home Painting Rates & Options:

Home Painting rates in Bangalore vary. The cheapest way to get it done is to find someone who charges for labour and you provide the material, howwwever – there good reason why that wwww is longer than what good English demands – it is impossible to find someone who would do that….I mean pick up the contract without the material. Even we designers nowadays are forced to give out our paint contracts on a “with material” basis due to this issue.
Typical rates would start at ₹ 14 psft for Tractor Emulsion (or Equivalent) all the way to ₹ 30 PSFT for Royale or equivalent. If one is on a budget then Premium emulsion at around ₹ 20 PSFT is something that you will settle at.
Between ₹ 30 to 60 PSFT the option of good quality wall paper also opens up. Wallpapers are strong contenders for theme and highlight walls since specialty textures in paint cost approximately the same. Additionally, wall papers offer more variety, ease of use and time savings. The only drawback of wall papers is that they cannot be applied on a wall that has even a bit of dampness, hence exterior facing walls that face the direct brunt of rain are a no – no.
That completes it I guess. There are other best practices around masking the skirtings and door window frames before painting, how best to paint on the wall edges by alternating between a brush and a roller etc. You should be able to Google those and find out. Do also refer to the websites of Asian Paints, Nerolac and Berger where loads of details, best practices, technical specs, application processes for EACH of their range of paints etc. is available.
As always would welcome your comments, questions and feedback
Signing Off
PS: Here’s me now Pushing the Publish button….uggghhhhhh!!!