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Fixing Houses: Mixing Your Own Paint for Savings and Harmony


To make the maximum profit on your investment properties, you'll need to save money wherever you can. One way to save significant amounts of money is to mix your own paint.

I recommend that you use only water-based paints. Technology improvements in latex and acrylic paints have made painting easier than it was with the old fashioned oil-based paints, and the new acrylics provide a great-looking finish. Purchasing "oops paint," marked down at home improvement and paint stores, can save hundreds of dollars on your painting projects.

By mixing your own paints, you can also guarantee a harmonious result for the entire house, blending the colors from the exterior to the interior and from room to room. For instance, during one of our projects, we purchased ten assorted gallons of paint from the Restore thrift shop. The paint hade been donated by Lowe's after having been returned by the original buyers, and included a lot of blues, greens, and grays. We used a fifteen-gallon plastic kitchen trash can to mix all the paint together, and then poured it back into the original cans. The color ended up a complex sage-green, which perfectly complemented the existing teal-green tile floor.

We used the original trash-can paint outside first, and then added white interior paint as we continued our color scheme inside, first painting the living room and a bathroom. Then I added a little green to the remainder and painted a bedroom. For each room, we added a little more white semi-gloss paint. As we went along, we saved a glass jar full of each paint blend for touch ups.

Paint experts suggest mixing only the same type of paints: exterior latex with exterior latex; interior acrylic with interior acrylic; interior latex with interior latex, and so on. But we routinely mix exterior and interior paints, and have never experienced any difficulty. The amount of sheen makes little difference in mixing paints, either, unless you're looking for a particular finish.

For one project, I started with five gallons of thrift store baby-blue paint, and then added a quart of black, in order to "gray down" the baby-blue. As we progressed through the bedrooms, I added a little more white semi-gloss latex paint to the mix. When I was done, the entire upstairs of the home blended harmoniously, yet each space had its own color and personality.

For another doghouse transformation, I added amber pigment, which you can pick up at most paint suppliers (but use it sparingly, because a little goes a long way), to five gallons of boring beige paint. We started in the main bedroom with the darker color and added white as we went along. The lightest shade ended up in a living room with a 23-foot-high ceiling.

Remember: oops paint is no different from regular paint. It was just a mistake, for whatever reason, and in case you're wondering how long oops paint can last, we recently drove by our very first doghouse-to-dollhouse home in Apple Valley, California, and the paint still looks great, even though that home was originally painted in 1979.

(c) Copyright 2004, Jeanette J. Fisher. All rights reserved.

Professor Jeanette Fisher, author of Doghouse to Dollhouse for Dollars, Joy to the Home, and other books teaches Real Estate Investing and Design Psychology. For more articles, tips, reports, newsletters, and sales flyer template, see http://www.doghousetodollhousefordollars.com/pages/5/index.htm


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