10 Painting Tips That Will Save You
Painting is one of those tasks that you either really enjoy or just simply can’t stand. For most people there seems to be no in between. In either case, it is something that each of us is relegated to perform at one time or another.
Experience has taught us that a shortcut here and a tip there can make an otherwise unbearable project palatable. As for painting, it can mean the difference between getting more paint on the walls and ceilings instead of on yourself or other vulnerable finishes.
Why paint? The answer may seem simple, however it can be a bit more complicated than what first meets the eye. For example, most people might respond to the question with the obvious; “I want to change the color of my living room.” While aesthetics have much to do with the motivation to paint, there are other benefits.
Even when using the same color, a fresh coat of paint can give a distressed surface a clean and uniform finish. And speaking of clean, an added coat of paint (providing that it is quality product) can make a surface more abrasion resistant. That means that it will stand up to the ware and tear imposed by Teenage Mutant Ninja kids. The surface is also a lot easier to clean without the risk of removing the paint when washing the wall.
Finally, paint provides a protective coating from adverse environmental conditions that could lead to distressed finishes, material failure and perhaps even rot. For example, we recommend that the walls and ceiling of a wet area (bathroom, laundry or kitchen) be painted with an oil base semi gloss enamel. Aside from its tough finish, the oil base product is more apt to withstand moisture hence protecting the wallboard and framing below. By the way, paint is not a vapor barrier and is in no way a substitute for adequate ventilation in a damp space.
Preparation. It has become our mantra when it comes to painting. It easily accounts for three quarters of a paint job. Preparation can include washing, scraping, filling, sanding, caulking, masking and priming. It is an absolute must for any successful painting project, indoors or out.
Indoors, holes in walls and ceilings should be repaired with a vinyl spackling compound. Since most of these products are prone to shrink, more than one coat may be required. Larger damaged areas will likely require a wallboard or plaster patch. Wallboard repairs can be made with Fiberglas joint tape and drywall joint compound. Plaster repairs are best done using a plaster patching product.
The most difficult part of making a wall patch is matching the textured finish. This can now be done relatively effectively by the do-it-yourselfer with spray texture in an aerosol can. Quit ingenious and it really works!
Flaking paint at exterior finishes such as siding, trim, gutters and downspouts much be removed. A paint scraper (not a putty knife) is one of the easiest and most effective methods of removing flaking, chipped or blistered paint. It may be useful to begin with a power washing with water to remove the majority of the damage and follow up with the finer prep work. Now would be the time to remove mold and mildew with a 50/50 solution of bleach and water.
Damaged areas can be repaired with a high quality exterior grade vinyl spackling compound. Severe damage to wood siding should be replaced with new material or patched with an epoxy resin patch material. Once sanded, all patch locations should be spot primed with and oil base material in preparation for the finish coat.
Aside from preparation, choosing the right paint and applicators for the job is the key to an attractive and long lasting job. Earlier, we discussed using an oil base enamel for kitchens, baths, laundry and other spaces subject to abundant moisture. For other spaces in the home such as a bedroom, dining room, family room, etc., we suggest that you invest in a high quality 100 percent acrylic latex flat wall paint. Note that we used the word invest. That’s because we strongly believe that paint is an investment.
If you like painting and want to do it frequently, buy inexpensive paint. If you’re like us and enjoy painting, but can find other ways to spend a free afternoon we suggest that you bypass the bargain basement stuff and go for the gusto. Unfortunately, you can’t look at the label of a paint can to compare quality. However, you can choose paint from a reputable paint company and understand that paint quality is a function of price.
Therefore, generally speaking, the more costly the paint the better the quality. What that means is that you will likely get one coat coverage, the paint will be more abrasion resistant and will remain looking good longer.
Use the right applicator. Brushes are great for windows, doors, trim and for cutting into corners and hard to access areas. A roller makes applying paint over a large flat area a breeze. Not all brushes are created alike. Use synthetic (nylon and polyester) for water base paints and natural Chinese bristle for oil base paints. Long nap rollers work best for rough or heavily textured surfaces while a short nap roller is the best choice for a smooth surface. Brush and roller size is a function of the area being painted. You wouldn’t use a four inch brush to paint a window sash. An inch and a half trim brush would be perfect.
Don’t paint yourself into a corner. A good rule of thumb is to apply a two to three inch band around the ceiling with a brush where a roller can’t reach. Do the same around corners and around trim at walls. Then use a roller to first finish the ceiling and then paint the walls.
How much paint will you need? This value can be easily determined by taking the wall height times the total length of walls (don’t discount windows and doors). Add the area of the ceiling and then divide by the square footage of coverage listed on the can. This can range from two to four hundred square feet per gallon on average.
If your painting project will last more than a day you can preserve your latex paint-laden roller by wrapping it in plastic wrap and placing it in the freezer over night. This will prevent it from drying out and once thawed will allow you to get right back to work.
All our best to all you Renoirs, Degas’ and Van Goughs out there!