To get things started quickly, I was already in talks with the contractors doing invisible grilles, electrical and false ceiling works, as well as painting works the moment I completed my first round of defects inspection after concluding that will be cleared quickly. I will make the focus of this post over the importance of painting and selecting the right paint category since every other scope of works has to be tied in with painting works seamlessly.
At work previously, I did not take the opportunity to be in contact with painters to gain enough knowledge to make my current home a painted flat with lesser problems. 12 years ago when my ex-boyfriend and I purchased our first flat, we were newbies and wanted a perfect home without giving much thoughts to pay the $1.4k to paint our house in our dream colours. $1.4k for paint works by contractor was on the high side 12 years ago. Every room has a feature colour❤ Our contractor claimed that our flat is big and having ten colours means a lot of wastage, hence the price given that they will be using premium Nippon paint for us. We totally believed him and were convinced by his assurance. He will do up a great nest for us.
NO THAT IS NOT TRUE!
Bear with me as I nagged. Not only is using premium paint products important when painting a new home, many other factors come into play as well. I will list down the problems I faced since Day 1, caused mainly by my irresponsible and contractor.
#1 Using what I paid for, or NOT??
Foremost and most importantly, contractors cheating with alternative paint products or used paint from somebody else’s homes is one way to save cost / cut corner. That morning when they were supposed to start painting, had I not followed my inspiration to “eat snake” from my work to go check on progress, I would not have discovered the issue and kicked up a huge fuss because I felt really cheated.
What greeted me were two painters who looked like they were about to start work any moment. The immediate question that popped in my head was – HUH?? I saw many tins of used paint sitting amongst some new ones no doubt. They came in different sizes with dried paint over the tins and what’s best was having two brands of paint products in my home!
The view was not worth the $1.4k I would be paying for and I stopped the painters from carrying out their works for that day until I see the paints I ordered. The workers were of course unhappy with my outrage. The person-in-charge whom we liaised with from the contractor firm got screamed at over the phone and I waited until he arrived with brand new tins of paint and vacated the used ones out of my house before I allowed them to start work again. That took more than half a day and nothing much could be done by then except starting on base coat for some areas. All he said when he arrived was, “Oh they must have taken the wrong tins,” and then pretended to give instructions here, there and everywhere else.
I ended up with 2 days of “emergency leave” to leave my work site and/or return any time I needed to. Just so that I could monitor the painting progress. Thankful for an understanding boss and having a work site just 2 roads away from my current home. Given that I popped by twice daily, I still had my doubts over the paint job and whether or not they really did finish painting the entire house with a base coat and two top coats. But I had no choice because I cannot afford full day away from my job then given that I was the only Site Engineer for that project.
Had I not discovered the “cost-saving measure” taken by my contractor, I would have imagined innocently accepting his explanation over “slightly differing” actual colour when compared to the paint catalogue. Idiotic, right? Til date, I maintained my suspicion over whether the base coat has been applied at all.
#2 NOT using appropriate paint type
For this, I put half the blame on my contractor (and ourselves too). We did not know what type of paint for use at the different parts of the house then. The focus we had was just about colours and which wall. Our contractor also did not advise us accordingly. It was only after staying for a few years and when issues started surfacing, then we learned the lessons along the way.
(a) Using Interior Paint for Balcony
For 4-5 years before the kids came along, our house was grille-free. It was only after Didi was born, that we decided to grille up the entire house and also made casement windows for our balcony. By then, Jiejie was 2.5 years old and window safety was indeed a major concern. Our balcony was previously full of potted orchids hung on the ledge and we were crazy into gardening then.
Our balcony now looks like these photos below, devoid of plants and is like some sort of storage yard for the kids’ water and sand play toys. They also played sensory-filled dough and slime on a rubber mat I bought for them. I simply flushed the place with two pails of water after they are done playing. Hence a lot of water and rain splashes is encountered within our balcony especially during year-end monsoon season.
Ugly water stain and mouldy walls below the casement window grille. Our window grille was not properly sealed with silicon as well and hence there are gaps where the rain could seep through during a heavy storm.
Over the years, this streaky water stained look and mould started appearing and we did not bother to address it since we intend to shift “soon”. “Soon” never happened until now.
A close-up photo showing the mouldy wall. Our balcony windows are often left ajar when we are not at home, or fully opened when we are home. It is strange that mould can still grow.
To be fair, I did try to repaint the balcony some years back but I gave up almost immediately, as can be seen from the small patch of my “artwork”. I forgot why I gave up turning my light pink balcony into earth tone. It was tiring, most probably. Many years later, I can matter-of-factly tell you that my “new paint” peeled so badly because I did not follow proper painting procedure to paint a sealer base coat before I applied a new colour onto it. Now then I know lor……
On hindsight, we should have either tiled up the balcony walls or to have them painted using exterior paint. Nobody would have thought of using exterior paint right inside our own home right? The balcony is interior space! No? No!! Well, but the above is only one of the many annoying issues I am facing in my current home.
If you looked hard enough, that full-height wall to the right of my window frame has bubbles in the paint. My spare room has it’s aircon discharge pipe running behind this wall and the aircon will be turned on when we are folding laundry and watching TV on the spare bed. I believe this is the result of condensation from within the wall hence the bubbling in the paint at the balcony. I later read that this could be due to a lack of Primer coat which could have prevented the moisture from reaching the surface and prevented the bubbling.
Within the walls of just one tiny balcony, I have mould, peeling and bubbling problems. How nice! :(
(a) Not Using Base Coat / Sealer
For many years, I proudly put up the kids’ art work on the walls. Almost every wall space was occupied with their creations (and it also moved onto mirrors and cabinet laminates) as well because we also do a lot of home-learning activities at home.
Photo taken in 2012.
In 2013, we cleared the blue wall of all art work and had full-height book shelves in their place. I used blue tack to stick up everything and they came off nicely without any stain or mark at all. That blue and orange wall was painted using the equivalent of today’s Nippon’s Easy Wash with Teflon(R) paint and I have been most pleased with these two colours in my house. Even til this day.
Photo taken in 2013.
Nippon Easy Wash with Teflon(R) Paint has this texture of elasticity and feel to it. The painted surface is very smooth and even. And I loved that there are no stains or paint peeling off issue when things are stuck / mounted onto it. There is a gentle sheen over the painted wall as well.
In contrast, I recently removed every single piece of map, learning chart and art work from the entire house in preparation to market our flat for sales. The problem is, the other walls in my house (except the wall next to my computer painted in the exact same blue) were all not painted using Easy Wash paint. They have powdery surface and uneven lines. Spots where previously blue tack was put up, I ended up with stain marks all over, as well as more seriously, peeled paint surfaces now. They look like war-zone both before and after removal of art work. Below few photos will specifically show these problems.
Blue tack stains and one even peeled off. The other 2 nail marks is typical.
Designated prefabricated crack line on wall not applied with sealer before painting. It shows up now with age.
Sticker on wall😦
I attribute these problems to the lack of base coat (sealer) on all these walls. Otherwise, why would these “non-feature” walls have so much problems? The lack of base coat prevented the top coat from being evenly applied for a uniform finish. I suspected that because these walls were originally already in white when we took keys from HDB. My contractor probably cut corner here which I had not had the opportunity to detect. My loss!
Below photo compares and contrast two adjacent walls at my computer corner. Are you able to identify which one has a soft sheen with an evenly applied surface ; which one has a powdery surface full of uneven lines and even cracked/peeled paint?
Site Assessment and Recommendation
Putting behind what has happened in my current home, this time round given than we are lucky enough to shift into a new home, I am in a better position now to know what to expect and do for the paint works. This unpleasant experience has spurred me to do some reading up and I will share my new-found knowledge on the different paint types and their uses in this post. I will also be collaborating with Nippon Paint Singapore on a series of 3 posts to share my before/during/after experience with the Nippon Paint Professionals.
Simply love this blue!
Earlier this month, I had a site assessment carried out by Nippon Paint Singapore, followed by a colour consultation session with Nippon Paint Professionals since I did not engage an interior designer to do up my new home. I learnt a lot more by speaking with the Paint Professional, about why things happen, about how to tackle those problems. It was a useful and engaging session and a lot more than just choosing colours.
During the site assessment and pre-consultation session, we learnt about complementing colour selection and to try selecting feature colours in one or two shades lighter when looking at the colour catalogue. This is because what we are looking at is just a small sample colour square. When painted on a life-sized wall, the actual outcome might be too intimidating for some home owners to accept.
Nippon Paint Professional, Alan, also inspected the walls handed over to me by the developer. Generally, the finishing works of the plastered walls are quite well done with smooth and even surfaces. To ensure that the 1-year warranty for paint works is in force, they propose a sealer base coat (just one coat) before applying the top coat directly. This is because the paintwork on the new walls is powdery and if this layer does not provide adequate adhesion to top coat, they cannot simply provide a warranty.
Even if Nippon did not propose a base coat, we would also ask for it given the experience we have in current home. What better solution than to have the sealer from the same brand as what is going to be on the top coat ? I would imagine complementing chemical composition between the base coat and top coats.
Types of Paint
Sealers (Base Coat)
Let’s start with sealer first since the unseen layer of base coat is the most important layer in fact. Contrary to what most of us thought, the white wash in our new home is in fact a lower quality cheap commercial mass-produced paint for a thin but wide layer of coverage. I dislike that it is powdery to the touch (enough of powdery paint!) and might not provide long-lasting paint cohesion with the top coat.
There are two kinds of sealer – base coat paints available by Nippon, meant to target different purposes. They are generally split into water-based or oil-based.
–> Nippon Paint Expresskote Sealer (Water-based Interior/Exterior-use Base Coat) <–
Suitable for both indoor and outdoor uses, I will be using the high performance water-based Expresskote Sealer as a base coat for my entire house right from the indoors to the balcony area. The adaptability to extend to exterior area helps to cut down on wastage. Having low level of odour and the ability to dry fast (2 hours only), the Expresskote Sealer boasts of deep penetratrating ability to conceal cracks and smoothing the surface for application of top coat paints. For the new home without mouldy problem, this sealer is more than adequate as a preparation to the wall surface for a good top coat adhesion.
Nippon Paint Expresskote Sealer is formulated with anti-fungul and algae resistance property, which makes it good enough for general uses at the balcony too. The paint is also certified environmentally friendly under Singapore Green Labelling Scheme SGL-032 by the Singapore Environmental Council with V.O.C. level less than 50g/L.
Having excellent alkali and efflorescence resistance properties means the sealer has the ability to prevent water-soluble salt in the concrete (or new brick wall) from being dissolved and carried to the wall surface, and remaining there after the water has evaporated. The remaining salts can push the paint away from the surface and peeling results.
Nippon Paint Expresskote Sealer is recommended for use on cement plaster, precast concrete, cast in-situ concrete, brickwork, hard/soft boards and gypsum boards.
Nippon 5101 Odour-less (Water-based Interior-use Base Coat)
Nippon 5101 Odour-less sealer is strictly for indoor use only. If there is no need to paint any exterior surfaces, this sealer will work best because it has almost no paint odour during application and drying. This water-based wall sealer stops liquid water from entering the surface, but allows water vapour out. It is a breathable product that can be applied to brick, concrete block, stucco or any masonry material. Drying time takes 2 hours.
Nippon Vinilex 5170 (Oil-based Interior/Exterior-use Base Coat)
For existing home with serious (a.k.a. VERY JIALAT) mould growth or/with musky smell, the oil-based Nippon Vinilex 5170 is the sealer to go for. Contrary to what was previously thought, there is NO NEED to scrape off the mouldy paint. Just apply one coat of this directly onto all existing affected walls, let it dry for 5 hours before applying the top coat paint.
Able to prevent resurfacing of stain marks on problem substrates, the oil-based wall sealer is excellent in providing the solution to the less-ventilated room. The paint odour can be quite strong and I would advise children and pregnant mummies to stay away during application and while waiting for it to dry.
–> Odour-less Anti-Mould Ceiling White <–
For ceiling painting, there is only one type of paint and it is also the most straightforward selection. Suitable for all interior ceiling and especially rooms with lesser ventilation, kitchen, bathroom with constant moisture and warmth, yard area where laundry is done, as well as utilities room. I will be using this Odour-less Anti-Mould Ceiling White paint for my entire house, including living and dining room as well as balcony.
Nippon Paint Odour-less Anti-Mould Ceiling White is an environmentally favourable green product formulated with anti-mould properties with a broad spectrum protection against most species of mould. It is non-toxic and does not contain lead, mercury and heavy metals.
Exterior Paint (Top Coat)
For my current home, we have specified exterior paint types for our super large balcony. The Managing Agent (MA) does not allow tiling the walls (and frankly, who will tile up balcony walls nowadays?) as it will affect the facade. Given my large balcony, it is also going to cost about $3k (labour only!) just to tile up the walls even if MA approves.
Nippon has three different types of exterior paint which caters to different needs and level of exposure to the elements of weather. I will highlight the uses of two types which I feel is useful base on my current problem and future usage pattern.
Weatherbond Algaeguard (Top Coat)
Nippon Weatherbond Algaeguard has a ultimate resistance to fungal and algae growth. An enhancement to Nippon Weatherbond paint, it is catered for both landed properties and wall spaces used for gardening. Engineered with anti-streak marks property, it takes away the ugly look from the facade of landed property and exterior walls compared to the Weatherbond range. The low sheen finish also gives the wall a constant “freshly painted” look compared to a wall with matte-finishing.
Given the current condition of my balcony, I would have to use the Weatherbond Algaeguard to address the problem. But not now anymore, I’ll be shifting in a few months’ time.
–> Weatherbond (Top Coat) <–
Typically used for normal exterior use, the Nippon Weatherbond paint is a water-based high performance paint of choice for exterior walls. With excellent resistance to dirt, water, akali chemicals and peeling, the tough and durable protective top coat guards against fading and chalking and at the same time has anti-fungal and algae property which is good for the balcony at my new house.
I am also assured to know that there is no lead or mercury in the paint constitution because my kids will continue to play in the balcony when we shift over.
Interior Paint (Top Coat)
Now comes the most interesting and exciting part in receiving a new house, that is, the colour selection for all the different parts of the house! Together with the kids, we have been poring over Nippon Paint Catalogue over and over again. There seems to be a nicer shade of colour each time we flipped the pages. Today we fell in love with shades of blue, tomorrow we choose green. Having had a colourful house for 12 years, my hubby and I have decided to leave our house in neutral or white-based colours now.
However we allowed the kids to choose their room colour. Wan Ting from Nippon Paint Singapore assisted the kids to select the proper shade here because kids tend to go for brighter and more outstanding shades of colours. After all, it will be the first time they will have their own room and will sleep in their own bed. We have been sharing our King-sized bed with the kids since the day they were born. It’s been 9 years and honestly, I can’t bear the thought of not having two warm buttocks snuggling up against me at night anymore.
Do they look enthusiastic choosing their own colours?? I suspect not, for a simple reason of anticipating not having mama sleeping next to them anymore when we shift over.
Nippon has so many types of interior top coat paints in the catalogue! Have you ever been confused and unsure which type to use? I took the opportunity to shoot my questions because frankly, I thought Premium All-In-1 is the best. It has everything! Yes? Not really, because the chemical ingredients come in different proportions for same same but different paint types. They each target specifically a problem. Hence the call for ultra-premium range of paints to suit differing needs. Here below, I have shortlisted the two Grade A paint types according to their uses which I find will be great for homes with young children.
–> Grade A Paint : Nippon Odour-less EasyWash (Top Coat) <–
The newest kid on the paint block with Nippon Odour-less EasyWash formula that is TWO TIMES easier to clean than the conventional washable interior paint. Formulated with Teflon(R) surface protector, this is the perfect paint to go for if there are young children at home. It makes cleaning up a breeze. Earlier I mentioned how I loved my washable painted walls in my current home. There were not even blue tack stains after years of sticking on it.
Base on my experience, unless something knocked into the wall with such force that causes the paint to chip off, I just need to use a very diluted soapy solution to wash away stains and dirt. It is as easy as diluting 1-2 drops of dishwashing liquid into 0.5L of water. I used a soft sponge pad to gently clean off dirt as well. Below video is a simple demo showing how I cleaned off the ink-mark on my wall in the current home. Easy peasy!
The ultra-premium Nippon Odour-less EasyWash paint is a big step up from the original Nippon Easy Wash with Teflon(R). Like the latter, it is capable of an elegant low sheen finish that can give the walla a constant fresh look that appears to be as new as Day 1. The original colour does not seem to fade or chalk at all hence eliminating the aged look after many years. The paint has near zero VOCs meaning there is literally no solvents being released into the air during painting and while drying. VOCs can cause headache and giddiness in some people and pregnant mummies and kids best stay away if such a paint is used. Rest assured that the non-toxic paint also has no lead or mercury added so it is safe for all young and old.
An improvement from the original in being twice more washable now, the Nippon Odour-less EasyWash also boasts of maximum coverage for every litre. Out of all the different paint types, it can cover 13m2 for every litre of paint, with the other types at a range of 6-12m2. Comparatively, the higher paint cost is also money saved in the long run because of the extra mileage it can cover. As per all top coat paints, two coats of paint is generally required to complete the final finished look. For dark colours, a total of three or four coats may be required. Unless you are turning your home into a caveman-themed home, we don’t need to look at so many paint coats. :)
The typical Easy Wash with Teflon(R) paint comes with a low amount of odour. Comparatively, the Odour-less EasyWash has been tested to have literally zero level of odour. For my new home, I have requested for the newest Odour-less EasyWash formula for all the interior walls. It’s just like buying insurance for my walls for the next decade and I really love the idea of this.
Grade A Paint : Nippon Odour-less Medifresh (Top Coat)
For homes with low cross-wind ventilation and especially if there are infants and young children around, the Nippon Odour-less Medifresh paint is a good option to consider. The ultra-premium upgrade from 3In1 Medifresh has been formulated with anti-bacterial properties to tackle commonly known bacteria types effectively, the little ones can be assured of a hygienic environment that cuts down greatly on harmful causes of sickness. Harmful common bacteria such as MRSA, E-Coli and Staphylococcus Aureus are specially mentioned in the paint specifications.
I recommended my sister to paint her nursery room with this paint as she is currently in the midst of converting her spare room into a nursery in anticipation of my little niece’s arrival next month. Due to prolonged minimal usage of the room, she seldom opens the window for airing. It is only now when she needed to reconfigure that room that she realized that mould has over the years, creeped into her walls and plastered cabinet walls too.
As mentioned earlier under Sealers, Nippon has advised her to use Vinilex 517 oil-based sealer to paint over the existing walls. The sealer will stink and she is advised to stay away from her house for the duration of works until Nippon finishes their work. The advantage is that she does not need to spend extra money to scrape off the existing mouldy wall paint or end up with a very messy/dirty house.
On top of the usual properties having almost no paint odour, ultra low level of VOCs, non-toxic without lead, mercury and heavy metals added, the Odour-less Medifresh Paint boasts of excellent fungus and mould resistance and having a 5-year warranty to it. Given the excellent paint quality, I would recommend all childcare centres, family clinics and healthcare centres to use this paint.
The Odour-less Medifresh has a Teflon(R) Surface Protector property, appears in a soft matt finish and is also washable.
I have mentioned about the various types of paint that had initially confused me over their usage. I’m glad that now I am in a better position to share what I have learnt about paint over the past month. The paints highlighted with double arrows –> <– are the ones that will be applied at my new home. I will be sharing more information on them in the next two posts.
Here below, is a site plan of how we finalized our painting schedule with Nippon Paint Professionals. Under their guidance, we successfully decided on the specific colours from the range of different shades available in the entire catalogue. Every colour sample in the paint catalogue can be formulated into the various desired type of paint. For example, if my kids were smaller, I would have been able to request for exact same shade in Odour-less Medifresh for their rooms while maintaining the other parts of the house in Odour-less EasyWash paint. It is only now then I come to understand this simple process as I earlier thought that each specific paint type is only available in selected shades. How wrong and confused I was!
As a summary from the above site plan, I will be having the following paint colours in my new home :-
Sealer (Base Coat) : Nippon Expresskote (water-based) for both interior and balcony (considered as exterior) of the house
Ceiling : Nippon Odour-less Anti-Mould Ceiling White
Exterior (Top Coat) : Nippon Weatherbond (water-based) in Linen White BS10B15 for the balcony as it is exposed to rain. It is a very light warm beige colour that softens the look of the balcony compared to the existing stark white paint.
Interior (Top Coat) : Nippon Odour-less EasyWash for all interior wall surfaces.
Living Room + Bedroom Walkway in a super light neutral shade of grey. My hubby fell in love with this colour from a photo in the Nippon catalogue and so we are going with Remembrance NP OW1053P.
Study Room in a refreshing gentle green that lifts the mind and protects the eyes! We chose Mint Scent NP OW1066P.
Master Room – Lilac White 1138, the classic for our bedroom.
The children have selected brighter and deeper shades of green and blue for their respective rooms.
Thankfully they were not super insistent and agreed to the recommendations (below) suggested by Nippon Paint Professionals, Alan. The highlight colour for their rooms will only be a very small portion and hence even though the Green Rhythm and Winning Streak looks dark compared to the white-based Blue Swirl, Alan assured us that the colours will complement each other well and will turn out fine.
Bedroom 1 (Jiejie’s) – Blue Swirl NP OW1068P paired with Green Rhythm NP BGG1606P
Bedroom 2 (Didi’s) – Blue Swirl NP OW1068P, Winning Streak NP BGG1566P
I plucked the colour sample from Nippon’s website available in PDF format. It may appear differently on your screen due to display specifications of your device. It did vary a little on my screen compared to the actual catalogue. For better visual, it is best that you request for a copy of catalogue sent to your preferred address via normal post. I received my copy in the letterbox within a week.
Moving forward, I will be posting about the actual process of painting works when it starts in a few days’ time.
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~ SAys! Shirley
I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to experience the Nippon Painting Services package. We were not remunerated monetarily for the review, all opinions and experiences remain our own alone. Photographs unless otherwise stated are copyright of Nippon Paint Singapore. All other photos remain the copyright property of SAys! Happy Mums and may not be reproduced without prior notice or written permission given.