Repainting your home is an important task. You get a chance to give your home a fresh new look and switch things up a bit. You carefully pick the paint and make sure that the paint job is done immaculately – by you or hired help.
The things that consistently ruin the look of a repainted home are those pesky electrical outlets. In order to tie a room together, a lot of people decide that it‘s a good idea to paint over them. We assure you it’s not.
Let’s talk about three primary reasons why you shouldn’t paint over electric outlets.
1. It’s not even remotely safe
First of all, during painting, you will have to switch the electricity off to avoid any risk of short-circuiting the outlet.
Your outlets are in use almost every day. The dried paint will clog the outlet openings, making it difficult to insert the plug. You’ll have to do this forcefully, potentially damaging the plug blades and/or the outlet.
Once you’ve done this, you’re left with a potentially damaged outlet. The dried paint from the outlet is sure to fall to the floor and create a poisonous hazard for children and pets. Due to the nature of paint, the initial cracks are just going to expand. You’ll be cleaning under these outlets for a long time.
2. The end result will not be pretty
It’s ironic that people usually decide to paint their outlets for aesthetic reasons.
By painting over an outlet, you aren’t making it invisible. You’re actually making it painfully visible. Outlets are made of materials that don’t absorb paint as well as your walls do. The result of this is a spotty, uneven, and dripping paint job.
Even if you, by some miracle, manage to paint it in a way that looks good, it’s only a matter of time until it starts cracking and chipping. When you paint over plastic and ceramics, you get a layer of paint that won’t last long. Each time you plug something into an outlet you risk damaging the paint even further, leaving cracks and scratches.
3. Practical issues
Outlets are part of your home electrical system. This system, like any other in your home, will need maintenance from time to time. By painting over the outlets you’re increasing the chance that they’ll need maintenance sooner. Your paint job may be irrelevant pretty soon since you will be changing some of them anyway.
Even if you intend to keep the old ones after the problem is resolved, the process of removing an outlet will inevitably damage the paint.
Most importantly, dry paint is a conductor. This means that by painting over the outlets increases the possibility of fire and short-circuiting. It also may cause improper transfer of electrical current, bad grounding, and an increased possibility of shock. Because of this, it’s against the National Electric Code (NEC) and may even be grounds for voiding any insurance you might have on your home.
Outlets are supposed to be practical things that you can actually use. If you paint over them this won’t be the case, not by a long shot.
If your outlets don’t match your new paint job, it’s a much wiser and safer solution to simply get those that do and replace them. Sure, it’s a bit more work and costs a bit more, but you will actually be getting what you need instead of doing an unsafe cover up. You can also cut the costs by simply sealing a few outlet holes you have no use for.