Paint the Walls

PAINT

A fresh paint job has the power to totally transform the look of your house in less time and for less cash than any other remodeling project. That thin skin of resin and pigment also protects your investment, shielding it from sun, wind, and rain—until the paint begins to crack and peel, that is. Then it's time to button up with a couple of new coats. Properly applied, new paint should last for a good 15 years, provided you use top-quality materials, apply them with care (and with an eye on the weather), and, most important, clean and sand every surface first.

Do-it-yourselfers are best off using a brush for maximum control. You may end up with a better quality job, to boot. Says Kathleen George, "With a brush, I know that I've inspected every square inch of a house." Mini rollers speed application on clapboards and trim but should be followed immediately with a brush.

Whichever application method you end up using, the pros are universal in their insistence that two top coats are always better than one. Says O'Neil, "It's one of the real secrets of a long-lasting paint job."