How to Remove Wallpaper

Remove Wallpaper

It’s been hanging in your living room for 25 years and no matter how hard you try to ignore it, you realize that you just can’t go on with that old ugly wallpaper. It’s time for it to go.

But how do you remove wallpaper? If you have no experience with home improvement, it’s best to call a professional to remove the wallpaper in your home. This type of project can be extremely time-consuming and aggravating if you don’t know what you’re doing. However, if you’re up for the challenge, below is some advice on getting the job done right without ruining your walls.

First and foremost, it’s key to understand that every wallpaper removal job is different and depends mostly on the preparation performed prior to hanging the current paper. If the previous contractor or homeowner did not properly prime the wall, or he/she hung the current wallpaper over an existing layer, the job can get exponentially more difficult.

There are 2 main methods for stripping wallpaper: with chemicals or with a steamer. Using a steamer was popular a few decades ago, and they were often powered by propane (very unsafe). Today’s steamers are electric, but using them can produce varying results.

Most homeowners and contractors nowadays prefer to use a wallpaper-stripping chemical opposed to a steamer. To start, you’ll want to cover the floors with a drop cloth and plastic. Before spraying any chemicals, see if you can use a putty knife to lift up a corner of the wallpaper and tear a sheet off. If your wallpaper is vinyl, you’ll most likely be able to pull off the vinyl layer leaving the paper and adhesive behind. It’s helpful to do this step first, because the water and chemical mixture wont penetrate the vinyl.

Next, fill a standard garden sprayer with the recommended amount of water and DIF wallpaper stripping solution by Zinsser. This product is highly effective and preferred most by professional painters. The key to using this product is to spray a small section thoroughly at least twice (with 10 minutes in between sprayings) and make sure that the paper is always wet. Be as liberal with the solution as possible. The more you soak the paper, the easier it will be to remove.

If this isn’t effective at first, you can use a scoring tool to perforate the paper and help the solution get behind the paper and loosen the adhesive. Most painters shy away from using this tool, because when you go to pull off the paper, you the paper is more likely to tear in small strips rather than large chunks.

It helps to run a putty knife against the wall to lift up any stubborn paper and adhesive. Once you remove all the paper, spray the wall with DIF again and scrape with a wide putty knife to remove the majority of remaining adhesive.

After you’ve removed all of the paper and adhesive, you’ll need to thoroughly wash the wall with a soap and water solution. If you don’t remove all the adhesive, the primer and paint won’t create a proper bond with the drywall.

When you’re done washing the wall, let it dry and prime it with a high quality bonding primer, such as Benjamin Moore’s Fresh Start. To save yourself a finish coat, you can tint this primer to match the top-coat. Now apply a finish coat in whatever sheen you choose and enjoy your new modern room!

How to Estimate the Cost of a Painting Job

Painting Estimate


Estimating the cost of painting is a complex task. There are many factors that need to be considered, including the size of the space, surface condition, type of paint required, etc.

Typically, a painting contractor can approximate the cost of your project based on similar projects he has done in the past. However, this method is not very consistent and may not be fair to you as a homeowner or the painting contractor. Fortunately, Homespree offers simple forms that enable you to get 3 instant bids from quality local contractors for your next painting project.

As you review these estimates, or evaluate the costs when you perform the work yourself, here are some considerations to keep in mind.


Assess the scope of the project carefully to determine exactly what’s involved. For example, if the surface involves painting from a ladder or scaffold system, the painting price will rise. If the painting surface could contain hazardous materials, the price will also be greater. Other situations that could also result in a higher painting price include:

  • Large obstructions
  • Wallpaper removal
  • Surface imperfections


Before applying any paint or primer to the surface, the surface will need to be prepared properly. The preparation required depends on the condition of the surfaces that need paint. Prep can also include clearing the space for work. An easy way to save some money when performing the work professionally is to remove the furniture in the room before your painter arrives. The overall price to paint must include all tasks performed to prepare for and clean up after painting.


If you choose not to hire a professional, the cost of materials not only includes the price of paint and primer, but also items necessary for application. These can include the following.

  • Paint scraper or power washer
  • Drop cloths
  • Industrial vacuum cleaner
  • Drywall compound
  • Caulk
  • Putty knife
  • Sandpaper
  • TSP
  • Bucket
  • Sponge
  • Painter’s tape
  • Paint tray
  • Paint roller
  • Paint brushes
  • Ladder
  • Scaffolding


Most people paint their rooms to give it a fresh new look. To do so, however, you’ll need to look beyond just painting the walls. Consider also the trim, ceiling, doors, and built-ins. Obviously the more surfaces that require paint, the higher the cost, but applying a consistent and fresh look to all surfaces can really make your space pop.

Whether you proceed with a do-it-yourself painting project or you decide to hire a professional, make sure you understand the associated costs to ensure your project stays within budget.

Painting Tips and Tricks from the Pros

Professional Painter

Everyone is capable of doing a decent job of painting a room. However, the skill of a professional painter can take your painting project to the next level. While pros certainly have more experience than the average homeowner, they also know several tricks and techniques that, when followed by a homeowner, can help out tremendously. Here are some of their secrets. 

Clear the room

To begin your painting project, clear everything from the room. While you might spend a half hour doing this, you’ll get all that time back and more by being able to maneuver around the room more easily.

Find and fix imperfections 

While your walls and ceiling might appear to be in great condition at first glance, shine a lamp or flashlight over all areas to find and fix imperfections. You can use a lightweight spackle for minor dents or a heavier duty spackle for deeper dents and cracks. 

If you can’t cut in, use tape

Most pros prefer to cut in ceilings and trim with a brush vs. taping off all areas. If you can cut in, the process will be much faster than applying tape, painting and removing tape. However, if you aren’t skilled at cutting in, you’ll get a much better result using tape. Be aware that taping has it’s own set of problems. Paint can bleed under tape and latex paint tends to ‘bridge’ or for a skin on top of the tape that can tear when you remove the tape leaving a jagged edge. To prevent these issues, press the tape firmly with a putty knife upon application and score the tape with a razor blade upon removal.

Choose a quality primer and paint

A good paint job starts with a good primer. Save yourself time by having your local paint store tint your primer close to the color of the topcoat. After you repair and sand the walls, you can apply a solid coat of primer and finish up with a solid coat of quality paint. Another added benefit of this technique is that primer is generally cheaper than paint so not only will the finished product be of better quality, but you’ll also save yourself some money in the process.

Save paint for touch ups 

Touch-ups are unavoidable. So be prepared to handle them by saving at least ¼ to ½ gallon of paint. For small spots requiring less than 1 square foot of touch up, you can use a brush and apply the paint by dabbing it on to mimic the texture of a roller. For larger areas, you’ll most likely need to re-roll the entire section of wall to avoid seeing the outline of the newly painted area. 

Use 3/8” roller cover 

The thicker the nap of a roller, the more paint it can hold, but the more texture it will add to the wall’s finish. A good choice for a roller’s nap is 3/8”. Most pros don’t reuse their roller covers and just toss them after each job. 

Work with a painting pole

Avoid fatigue and neck strain especially when painting ceilings by using a telescoping paint pole. This will help provide leverage to add pressure to your roller to ensure you get proper coverage on walls and ceilings. Poles can help shorten the required range of motion and can help you get through that large painting project. 

Use a quality brush

A quality brush can make all the difference when painting a room. Cheap brushes loose their bristles or fray, making it near impossible to cut in a crisp line. Most painters prefer to use an angled sash brush to cut in walls and trim. A quality paintbrush will cost between $15 and $30 but is well worth the investment. They’re typically available in widths from 1” to 4”. For most universal application, a 2 ½ “ brush is best.

Roll close 

To save time and energy, roll as close as you can to ceilings and trim before cutting in. This way, the amount of area you’ll need to cover with your brush is minimal. 

Don’t clean tools daily

If your painting project requires multiple days to complete, don’t waste time cleaning your brushes and rollers each day. Wrap them up in plastic wrap or bags and stick them in the fridge to prevent the paint from hardening. Just make sure they are returned to room temperature before you begin using them again. 

If you’re determined to tackle a painting project yourself, these tips can help you get the job done right. However, if you are still hesitant, it’s best to let a pro handle the job. Homespree makes it easy to request painting estimates. Find a quality painter and price out your job here now!

How Do You Find a Good Painter?

Good Painter

Everyone has the ability to paint, but not everyone has the skill required to paint well. If you don’t have the time, patience or confidence to paint your home, it’s a good idea to hire a professional painter to ensure your project goes smoothly. But how do you find a good painter? And how can you ensure that your home is in good hands?

Traditionally, finding a quality painter was a real hassle. You may have asked around for friends’ recommendations or searched the yellow pages. However, Homespree can help you confidently hire a painter and ensure that your project is completed to your satisfaction. 

While we perform rigorous background checks to ensure the painters on Homespree are the best in their region, below is a list of good and bad characteristics of painters to make you feel comfortable with your next hire.

Characteristics of a Good Painter

You should be able to spot a good painter before he applies a drop of paint to your walls. By observing a painter’s demeanor, attitude and actions, you will be able to determine which person will be able to provide you with an exceptional quality paint job. 


A good painter is not only skilled at his craft, but also places tremendous emphasis on customer service. If a painter is slow in returning your calls or messages or late for scheduled appointments, he may not understand the value of a good customer experience, which can affect your overall project experience.


Quality painters create happy customers who rave about their work and often hire them for again and again as needed. A good painter should have a list of at least 5 references that you may call upon to discuss their experience with the painter during their own project.


While licensing is not required in every state, your painter should comply with local licensing laws as necessary. Furthermore, it’s important that your painter carry general liability insurance and bonding, to ensure you are covered in case something costly goes wrong with your project.

Quality painters go above and beyond to ensure they have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and may also be members of professional painting associations.


The easiest way for you to gauge the skill of a painter is to take a look at their past work. Quality painters will be eager to show off their past projects because they are proud of the results. 

Characteristic of a Bad Painter

When you are reviewing painters for your project, there are several warnings signs you should be aware of to avoid some serious issues down the road. A painter who arrives in shoddy clothing, driving a vehicle that appears battered and worn simply doesn’t portray the image of a reputable business. A painter who doesn’t return phone calls in a timely manner, or one who doesn’t arrive to an appointment on time is probably not someone with whom you should work. Furthermore, if a painter does not have the equipment or supplies necessary to perform a quality paint job, he or she may not be professional. 

Find a Quality Painter with Homespree

Homespree truly takes the hassle out of hiring a painter. Our team verifies the background and credentials of all painters in our network to ensure you have an outstanding experience. We have high standards that each painter should meet because we know you have high standards for the work that’s done in your home. 

Homespree’s painters are properly licensed, bonded and insured. They must not have any outstanding complaints with the Better Business Bureau, and they must show a commitment to excellence. Homespree’s staff reviews references for each painter and verifies that they have no questionable reviews on any other online sites. 

Not only do we make certain that the painters in our network are the best of the best, but we also ensure that your experience hiring these painters is as simple and straightforward as possible. To use Homespree, simply fill out a form with your painting requirements and we’ll instantly provide you with 3 estimates from the painters in our network. You can review robust profiles for each painter and their estimates to decide who you would like to meet with in-person to begin the project.

How Often Should You Paint Your Home’s Exterior?

Exterior Painting

Aside from changing color trends, painting the exterior of your home is truly an issue of protecting your home from water damage. Water can cause wood to rot and metal to rust. Preventing these issues from occurring is well worth the investment in a new paint job. However, your exterior is composed of many different surfaces that have their own unique requirements.


Wood windows should be repainted every 5 years. If cost is a factor, and you’re not changing the color, you can often get away with just repainting the sills. Generally speaking, if bare wood is showing or the paint is cracking, it should be re-caulked and re-coated. You can start with an oil-based primer for superior adhesion and top coat with a semi-gloss latex paint.


Wood siding should be repainted every 8-10 years. Siding tends to show fading and wear well before deterioration becomes a maintenance issue. If your siding is in good shape and reasonably well-sealed, 2 coats of an acrylic paint or stain is more than sufficient. If there are cracks or blistering in the siding, sand down to bare wood, repair with wood filler, prime and then paint.


Decks done in a solid stain should last 5 years.  Transparent or semi-transparent stains typically last 1 – 3 years.  When re-coating, first pressure wash the existing surface, sand down any rough or flaking spots and re-coat with a new top layer of stain.


For stucco siding, stick to using a semi-elastomeric paint.  It’s not crucial but it’s found to be more durable over the long run.  A regular acrylic is sufficient, but typically won’t be as durable.  Once painted, stucco should last as long if not longer than its wood counterparts.

Mistakes to Avoid When Painting Your Home’s Interior

Interior Painting

You’ve finally decided on a color and removed all furniture from your living room. As eager as you might be to begin painting, rushing into the project can lead to mistakes that take significantly more effort to resolve down the road. To help prevent additional work, here is a list of the most common mistakes you’ll want to avoid when completing your next interior painting project.

Dirty Walls

You might not notice it at first glance, but chances are your walls are covered in dust, dirt and small debris from years of remaining untouched. Oftentimes, when large pieces of furniture are placed against a wall, dust collects behind it coating the surface of your wall. Furthermore, the constant moisture build-up in your bathroom can cause your walls to develop a thick film that prevents the adhesion of new paint. In all cases, you’ll want to follow the same procedure of washing the wall with a solution of TSP and water and letting dry completely before applying any primer or paint.


Obviously, you want your walls to be dry to the touch before you begin painting. But you also want to check for areas where the drywall might be damp from moisture behind the wall due to a leak or penetration from water outside the home. If you feel any soft spots on the walls or see paint blistering or water stains, be sure to investigate before beginning the painting phase of your project.

Improper Paint Usage

While latex  paints are used most commonly in general interior painting applications today, this wasn’t always the case. If you have an older home, chances are that the wall, ceiling and trim surfaces are coated in oil-based paint. The general rule of thumb is that if you’re transitioning from oil to latex or vice versa, it’s necessary to use a quality bonding primer, such as Benjamin Moore’s Fresh Start Primer to ensure proper adhesion. Slapping latex right on top of oil-based paint without any preparation may lead to blistering and peeling.

Too Much Paint

You may think that applying a thicker layer of paint to cover up mistakes underneath is an easy fix, but beware that this is not a permanent solution and can lead to inconsistencies in finish. The best rule of thumb is to apply one coat of primer tinted to the same color as your finish coat, and one coat of the paint of your choice. To avoid drips and sags, don’t overload your brush or roller, but put enough on so that it slides easily across the surfaces applying a minimal layer of paint.

Repainting a room in your house can really freshen up your entire space. But if you’re not careful or not sure how to approach the project, it may be best to hire a professional to do the job for you.

What Causes Paint to Peel?

Peeling Paint

So you just finished painting your room and it looks great! A few months later, however, the paint is starting to peel and come off certain areas of the walls and trim. You thought you did a great job painting, and you’re confused as to what went wrong.

To help you solve your peeling paint dilemma, read about the 3 main causes of peeling paint below.

1.   Improper Surface Preparation

Paint peels when it fails to adhere properly to the existing finish. If the wall has not been properly cleaned of dirt or other substances, the paint is not going to create a solid bond to the drywall. Make sure you lightly sand and wash the walls prior to beginning any painting project. Furthermore, apply a quality primer, such as Benjamin Moore’s Fresh Start, to prepare your walls and trim for the new coat of paint. 

2.   Moisture

Moisture is one of a painter’s worst enemies. If the surface upon which you apply paint isn’t completely dry, the paint cannot properly bond to the surface. This can create bubbles under the paint that will eventually lead to peeling.

Even trace amounts of moisture can affect the adhesion of paints and penetration of stains. Thus, make sure that any surfaces you are finishing are completely dry before you begin work.

3.   Low Quality or Improper Use of Paint

If you purchase a new paint that is not the same type as what has already been placed on the walls, you’re asking for trouble. Whether it’s oil, latex or water based, paints of different types don’t usually mix well. If you have to use a different type of paint on top of another one, ask your local home improvement expert for a good primer that will help with the situation.

Another common reason paint can peel is if the paint itself is simply poor quality. Cheap paint is cheap for a reason. It may be able to dry properly if it is the only layer on the wall, but it may lack the adhesive needed to stick on top of other layers of paint.

All of the problems listed above can be easily avoided if the painter simply takes a little extra time to assess the situation and prepare prior to starting the paint job. Another way to ensure these problems don’t occur is to simply hire someone else to do it for you. If you’re in doubt of your abilities, hiring an expert may be the best solution in the long run.


How to Prep for Interior Painting

Interior Paint Prep

Between 10% and 40% of the time spent on any quality painting project is devoted to preparation. If the surfaces upon which you apply paint are rough, have many holes and dings, or aren’t properly prepared, no matter how much effort you put into painting, the completed work just won’t look pleasing to the eye.

By following the steps below, you can ensure that your next painting project gets done right the first time and lasts for years to come.

1.    Clear the room

You’d be surprised how much time you can save by painting in an empty room vs. a room filled with furniture and other décor. Avoid paint splatters and constant obstacles by removing most items from the space you are painting.

Cover the floors, fixtures and any remaining items with drop cloths and plastic sheathing to avoid drips and splatters.

2.    Scrape and Sand Flaking Paint

If the finish on the walls, trim or other surfaces you wish to paint is peeling, it’s necessary to remove all loose material before getting started. You can use a paint scraper, a spackling knife, and/or sand paper to remove the flaking material.

3.    Repair Holes and Seams

From small nail pops to visible seams and large holes, you’ll need to repair the drywall before you slap on any paint. While wall patches offer quick speed for repairing holes, they add material on top of the existing wall surface and require significant feathering with spackle to hide.

A better approach is to cut back the drywall to the nearest studs, add a new piece, lay drywall tape on the seams, spackle and sand.

4.    Sand and Clean

The key to a smooth paint job is sanding. Make sure all the repairs you made are sanded flush with the existing drywall. It’s important to give all surfaces a light sanding, dusting and wipe down to ensure proper primer and paint adhesion.

5.    Prime

All areas that have been repaired must be primed with a general latex primer to avoid flashing (this happens when unprimed areas pull all the moisture out of the paint topcoat causing the finish to differ from the rest of the area).

A great tip and time saver is to have your local paint store tint your primer a similar color to your paint to cut down on the number of finish coats required.

6.    Paint

Now that you have adequately prepped your area for painting, it’s time to coat the surfaces with the finish paint you have chosen.

If you are painting a room that requires multiple gallons of paint, it’s a good idea to mix them all in a bigger bucket to ensure the color is consistent throughout.

You’re now ready to complete your painting project. Good luck!

How to Repair Ceiling Water Stains


A stained ceiling can be a real eye sore. What’s worse, is that it may be the result of an ongoing problem with plumbing in the floor above. And if you are attempting to sell your home, it’s often a red flag for inspectors that there may be some plumbing issues in the house.

Before you slap some paint on the ceiling to cover up the stain, follow these steps to ensure you properly address the issue.

Assess and Fix the Leak

If you don’t properly take care of source of the leak, fixing the spot on the ceiling will be in vain. Check the area above the ceiling to determine from where the water leak originates. Most stains occur on the ceiling in the first floor of homes and are caused by leaks in toilets and showers in upstairs bathrooms.

If you notice peeling caulk or pooling water, it may be a simple fix to replace with new sealant. However, if there are no visible signs of where the water is coming from, it might be best to call a plumber.

Prepare the Surface

After you have properly addressed the leak, you’ll need to prepare the surface before you paint.

If the drywall on the ceiling is damp or broken, you’ll need to patch it. After replacing the drywall, spackling and sanding, you’ll need to prime the repaired area before you can paint.

If the drywall is in good condition, you’ll need to coat the stain with a pigmented shellac to prevent it from bleeding through the topcoat. Next apply a quality paint and primer and your stain should disappear.


It’s likely that you will need to repaint the entire ceiling to avoid slight color and gloss differentials on the repaired area.

Which Colors Help Sell Homes?

Selling Your Home

All Homeowners hope to sell their homes quickly, but recently, it has been a buyer’s market. Give your self a leg up from the competition by staging your home properly. To ensure you rope in buyers, make sure that the paint in your home is fresh and the colors are appealing to a wide audience.

Exterior Paint Colors 

Curb appeal can help capture buyers as they pass by your home. Ensure that your house catches their attention in a positive way by choosing the right exterior paint color.

In choosing a color, it’s best to take a look around the neighborhood to see if there are any color trends present. While you want to stand out, think of going for a similar color as your neighbors, but just one shade lighter or darker. Owning a green house amongst a sea of beige homes doesn’t draw the attention you or prospective homeowners seek.

A few other things to keep in mind when choosing an exterior paint color are as follows:

  • Take into consideration other existing colors and features on your home exterior (e.g., stonework, bricks, roof, fixtures, etc.)
  • Complement your landscape
  • Choose a color that’s right for your home style (e.g., some Victorian homes can take on color to bring out their numerous woodwork details, while most Colonial homes stick with a simple white pallete.)

Interior Paint Colors

While you may enjoy bold colors, such as deep reds and blues, not every prospective homebuyer will have the same taste. It’s often best to attempt to please the masses by choosing a neutral, warm paint scheme or a crisp and cool color pallete for the majority of the home’s main living area.

If you’d like to add a bit more interest to make your space memorable to buyers, consider adding it in the following rooms. 


Most wall space in kitchens is taken up by cabinetry, leaving very little area for wall paint. However, since most of a family’s time is spent in the kitchen, it’s necessary to give a bright and joyful look. Consider light greens, yellows, or beiges.


A bedroom is a retreat from the stresses of everyday life. You’ll want to convey this mood in the room’s paint color. Think about using relaxing colors such as earth tones, or cool grey colors.


Bathrooms are typically smaller spaces, but that doesn’t mean you need to stick with white to make the space seem larger. Often you can use subtle tones of greens, blues, and yellows to add interest without making the space feel closed-in.

Overall, the colors in your home should give buyers a sense of calmness and comfort. It’s generally a good idea to go with lighter shades of color so that homeowners won’t need to apply a primer or several coats of new paint to hide what’s existing.