You either love it or loathe it but there’s no question that painting your house, whether it’s inside or outside, takes considerable time and effort. So it’s important that once the preparation work is done, you choose the best paint for the task. With so many on the market, it can be challenging sorting through so we’ve prepared the ultimate painting product cheat sheet. It’s guaranteed to be more fun than watching paint dry.
Best for: Exterior walls
Available in 10 paint types, including Low-Sheen, Semi Gloss and Render Refresh, the Weathershield range has been specifically designed for Australian conditions with built-in UV, mould dirt and stain resistance. As the market lead, the Dulux range of colours stretches into the thousands,but the company provides specific advice for popular exterior colour schemes.
Best for: Interior walls
Created with Nanoguard Advanced Technology, the Taubmans Endure range is ideal for high traffic areas such as hallways and living areas thanks to its ability to withstand wear and tear. According to the manufacturer, it also protects against mould and mildew and is approved by the National Asthma Council Australia’s Sensitive Choice program.
BRITISH PAINTS 4 SEASONS
Best for: Exterior surfaces
As the name would suggest, the point of difference with this paint product is its ability to weather seasonal changes. Owned by the Dulux group, British Paints 4 Seasons is self priming on most surfaces, for a faster, more satisfying result. It comes with a 25-year guarantee against peeling, flaking and blistering as well as providing resistance to mould, fungus and algae.
Best for: Interior walls
Haymes Paints was established in Ballarat in 1935 and the family-run business still offers an Australian owned and made product. Haymes Expressions® Low Sheen has been designed for easy washing – and stain removal – and is ideal for wet areas, thanks to its seven-year mould and mildew protection guarantee. Haymes Paints also releases a yearly colour forecast to provide design professionals and homeowners with inspirational colour palettes.
Best for: Exterior surfaces
A mainstay of the exterior paint market, Wattyl Solagard is known for its durability and colour fastness over an extended period of time. Suitable for painting over most exterior surfaces, including concrete, masonry, timber and galvanised iron, it is UV and dirt resistant. It is available in a wide range of colours to suit most house styles, including Coastal, Heritage and Modern.
PORTER’S ORIGINAL PAINTS
Best for: Specialty finishes
Now part of the Dulux Group, Porter’s Paints has built its reputation on its wide range of specialty finishes for exterior or interior use such as limewash, chalk paint, French wash and liquid iron. While some products require specific application processes, there are easy-to-follow video tutorials and step-by-step instructions to support customers interested in a unique finish. Aside from an enviable array of carefully crafted colours, Porter’s Paints are water based and low in VOCs.
HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT CONSIDERATIONS
More homeowners are becoming aware of the potential hazards associated with house paint, particularly when it comes to air quality. The main concern is Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs, which are released into the indoor environment and have been linked with eye irritations, breathing difficulties, as well as damage to kidneys, the liver and the central nervous system. From a product perspective, VOCs slow down the drying process, creating a wet edge on application so the user has more time to work with it. More paint manufacturers are now offering low or zero VOC paints, but be aware that even those paints may still contain elements like ammonia and formaldehyde. Ventilate the space as much as possible, opening windows and doors as well as using fans and wear masks and gloves to minimise exposure to fumes while working.
TOP PAINTS FOR THE JOB, AND THE PAINTER
Painting a home involves so many decisions, and choosing the right paint for the right job is tricky. Here we look at the top paint brands for the jobs at hand.
Exterior paints need strength to withstand the elements, they do this by adding additional and expensive, top quality resins so fading is less of an issue, and new technology that offers UV protection. Who wants to repaint a house, right? After years of advancement, you can now achieve great results with acrylic exterior paint, which has the primer built in. Taubmans All Weather and Taubmans Sun Proof are great options here.
Exterior features such as fences and front doors are a chance to add extra zing to the design, and very often the best way to produce that effect is with a gloss or enamel paint. While there have been improvements in acrylic gloss products, purists and pros are still reaching for the oil based product – the finish is simply brighter and more reflective, and more to the point will last longer on high traffic spots such as doors. The lesser known Norglass brand offers a magnificent result, and comes in small cans, which is a bonus for feature trim jobs.
Interior walls cop the most passing traffic scuff and grime, especially if you are blessed with kids or pets. The ideal paint here is a washable, acrylic based paint that goes on smoothly, and wipes clean easily. A combination of huge colour range, and great coverage (meaning less coats to put on) is the Dulux Wash and Wear brand. You can actually feel the extra weight on the brush or roller, which is a good thing, but tougher on older hands, or newbies to the roller game.
Getting on top of ceilings is perhaps the most difficult of paint jobs; back breaking and neck stretching, it is a job with little pay off – but is critical to achieve a perfectly finished room. A dead matte finish is ideal, usually in white (but don’t let that stop you), and always acrylic. While you can use a cheaper matte paint, a purpose designed one will go on easier and offer better coverage – it’s designed to be a one stop wonder. British Paints Paint and Prime is reputed to have be a good ceiling paint that goes on thickly, and works particularly well with a long knap roller, reducing spray.
Houses have damp zones, and yes they need extra care because paint that doesn’t deflect the wet will get mould, mildew and then peel. The elasticity of acrylic paint is great here, and Berger Paints have a product, Kitchen and Bathroom Everlast which offers a five-year guarantee against mould and mildew. Best tip here is to, for once, not use a matte ceiling paint, but the soft or low sheen bathroom paint.
A secret of professional painters is the top paint brand Haymes. Haymes is perhaps a lesser known brand to the home decorator but it has been rated by Canstar as the top paint in Australia for the last six years. Haymes has been produced by the one family in Australia for generations, and commands respect from those who spend their lives up a ladder. They don’t need expensive ad campaigns, because those in the know don’t need reminding of this solid and impressive brand. Always consider checking out their products when starting a project.
Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’
Appliance technicians blame a push toward computerisation and an increase in the quantity of components inside a machine
Our refrigerators, washing machines and ovens can do more than ever, from producing symmetrical ice cubes to remotely preheating on your commute home. The downside to all these snazzy features is that the appliances are more prone to breaking.
Appliance technicians and others in the industry say there has been an increase in items in need of repair. Yelp users, for example, requested 58% more quotes from thousands of appliance repair businesses last month than they did in January 2022.
Those in the industry blame a push toward computerisation, an increase in the quantity of individual components and flimsier materials for undercutting reliability. They say even higher-end items aren’t as durable.
American households spent 43% more on home appliances in 2023 than they did in 2013, rising from an inflation-adjusted average of $390 to $558, according to Euromonitor International. Prices for the category declined 12% from the beginning of 2013 through the end of 2023, according to the Labor Department.
One reason for the discrepancy between spending and prices is a higher rate of replacement, say consumers, repair technicians and others. That’s left some people wishing they had held on to their clunky ’90s-era appliances and others bargaining with repair workers over intractable ice makers and dryers that run cold.
“We’re making things more complicated, they’re harder to fix and more expensive to fix,” says Aaron Gianni, the founder of do-it-yourself home-repair app Plunjr.
Sharon J. Swan spent nearly $7,000 on a Bosch gas range and smart refrigerator. She thought the appliances would last at least through whenever she decided to sell her Alexandria, Va., home and impress would-be buyers.
That was before the oven caught fire the first time she tried the broiler, leading to a 911 call and hasty return. The ice-maker in the refrigerator, meanwhile, is now broken for the third time in under two years. Bosch covered the first two fridge fixes, but she says she’s on her own for the latest repair, totalling $250, plus parts.
“I feel like I wasted my money,” says the 65-year-old consultant for trade associations.
A Bosch spokeswoman said in an emailed statement that the company has been responsive to Swan’s concerns and will continue to work with her to resolve ongoing issues. “Bosch appliances are designed and manufactured to meet the highest quality standards, and they are built to last,” she said.
Kevin and Kellene Dinino wish they had held on to their white dishwasher from the ’90s that was still working great.
The sleeker $800 GE stainless steel interior dishwasher they purchased sprang a hidden leak within three years, causing more than $35,000 worth of damage to their San Diego kitchen.
Home insurance covered the claim, which included replacing the hardwood down to the subfloor and all their bottom cabinetry, but kicked the Dininos off their policy. The family also went without access to their kitchen for months.
“This was a $60 pump that was broken. What the hell happened?” says Kevin, 45, who runs a financial public-relations firm.
A GE Appliances spokeswoman said the company takes appliance issues seriously and works quickly to resolve them with consumers.
Peel back the plastic on a modern refrigerator or washing machine and you’ll see a smattering of sensors and switches that its 10-year-old counterpart lacks. These extra components help ensure the appliance is using only the energy and water it needs for the job at hand, technicians say. With more parts, however, more tends to go wrong more quickly, they say.
Mansoor Soomro, a professor at Teesside University, a technical college in Middlesbrough, England, says home appliances are breaking down more often. He says that manufacturers used to rely mostly on straightforward mechanical parts (think an on/off switch that triggers a single lever). In the past decade or so, they’ve transitioned to relying more on sophisticated electrical and computerised parts (say, a touch screen that displays a dozen different sensor-controlled wash options).
When a complicated machine fails, technicians say they have a much harder time figuring out what went wrong. Even if the technician does diagnose the problem, consumers are often left with repairs that exceed half the cost of replacement, rendering the machine totalled.
“In the majority of cases, I would say buying a new one makes more economic sense than repairing it,” says Soomro, who spent seven years working at Siemens , including in the home-appliances division.
These machines are also now more likely to be made with plastic and aluminium rather than steel, Soomro says. High-efficiency motors and compressors, too, are likely to be lighter-duty, since they’re tasked with drawing less energy .
A spokeswoman for the Association for Home Appliance Manufacturers says the industry has “enhanced the safety, energy efficiency, capacity and performance of appliances while adding features and maintaining affordability and durability for purchasers.” She says data last updated in 2019 shows that the average life of an appliance has “not substantially shifted over the past two decades.”
When simpler is better
Kathryn Ryan and Kevin Sullivan needed a new sensor to fix their recently purchased $1,566 GE Unitized Spacemaker washer-dryer. GE wasn’t able to fix the sensor for months, so the couple paid a local technician $300 to get the machine working.
The repairman also offered them a suggestion: Avoid the sensor option and stick to timed dries.
“You should be able to use whatever function you please on a brand new appliance, ideally,” says Sullivan, a 32-year-old musician in Burbank, Calif.
More features might seem glamorous, Frontdoor virtual appliance tech Jim Zaccone says, but fewer is usually better.
“Consumers are wising up to the failures that are happening and going, ‘Do I really need my oven to preheat while I’m at the grocery store?’” jokes Zaccone, who has been in the appliance-repair business for 21 years.
He just replaced his own dishwasher and says he bought one with “the least bells and whistles.” He also opted for a mass-market brand with cheap and readily available parts. Most surprisingly, he chose a bottom-of-the-line model.
“Spending a lot of money on something doesn’t guarantee you more reliability,” says Zaccone.
Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’