Your Place: When selling a house, paint should be spiffy

The one thing I enjoy most about visiting the Paint Quality Institute in Spring House, Pa., is adding to my knowledge of paint and painting.

This advice is actually designed for people who are listing their houses for sale:

A recently applied, high-quality acrylic latex paint can last 10 years or more and "translates into many years of freedom from maintenance for prospective buyers."

Remember, buyers today have a lot of houses from which to choose and the less work they have to do, the better chance you have to sell your house quickly and for the right price.


• When selecting an exterior coat, be conservative. White and neutral colors are often the safest choices, since they will appeal to the greatest number of prospective buyers.

• When painting for a potential sale, "it is often not the time to have the most striking paint scheme in the neighborhood."

• Include quality surface preparation in the work. Properly preparing the surface for painting will produce the best appearance and add to the life expectancy of the paint job.

• Finally, finish painting before putting the home on the market. A completed and attractive paint job will assist with that critical first impression as potential buyers consider and view your home.

More advice at

Speaking of paint, we continue our discussion of painting the basement or garage floor with a question from Reading, Pa., reader Sandy Duffy:

"Would concrete stain be a better choice than paint? I used a concrete stain on my outside patio which is exposed to the elements and has held up quite well for 10 years now."

From what I am told, that would be an excellent choice, but I would recommend strongly that you do your research on surface preparation and determine how wet that floor can get, because any moisture might compromise performance over the long run.

For advice on the kind of paint, I would recommend talking to the folks at your neighborhood paint retailer. They should know your area and all of its requirements, and should be able to guide your decision.

The garage floor stain should offer protection from oil and paint and other spills, however.

Now you're cooking with gas.

Some advice for outdoor grilling season, from the testing and certification group CSA International:

• Make a clean start. Before firing up the barbecue for the first time, carefully inspect burners and burner tubes for blockages due to dirt, grease, insects, or rust buildup. Clean or replace any blocked parts or have a certified technician make repairs.

• Blowing bubbles. Check for cracked, brittle or leaking hoses. To check for leaks, apply a 50/50 solution of soap and water to hoses and fittings and turn on the main gas or propane valve while leaving burners off. Any leaks will show up as bubbles. Replace any damaged hoses or fittings.

• Old gas? Take a pass. Propane cylinders must be inspected and requalified a minimum of every 12 years in the United States. A date stamp on the cylinder indicates when it was last qualified. Do not use a rusty or damaged cylinder. If in doubt, have your tank replaced.

• Breathing fire. Keep grills and barbecues away from combustible materials such as fences, trees, buildings, awnings, and carports. Never use a barbecue in a garage.


One tip from Consumer Reports:

• Don't cut corners on key materials. Cheaping out on things that get the most use is a common mistake people make when remodeling.

• Decide carefully when choosing items such as faucets, particularly their finish and tiles. Save on items like light fixtures.

• Consumer Reports recommends opting for a basic finish on faucets and fixtures that can save you hundreds of dollars without compromising quality.

Questions? Email Alan J. Heavens at or write him at The Inquirer, Box 8263, Philadelphia PA 19101. Volume prohibits individual replies.


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