Painting Tips You Need to Know
You Can Paint Like a Pro
By Damien Andrews
There are many reasons to do your own painting. Doing your own painting is a great way to save money and improve the appearance and function of your home. By painting yourself, you can save half the cost of the job, or more. Painting a room gives instant gratification and a great feeling of accomplishment. Painting is a fast and easy way to customize the look of a room. Painting a room can improve lighting, make surfaces easier to clean and even make the room's occupants feel better.
Painting is one of the easiest do-it-yourself projects, but painting and achieving a professional looking job takes a modicum of know-how. Here are some tips to help you have a pleasant painting experience that yields results that will rival any professional's.
#1 – Don't skimp on the paint. You're saving your money by not paying a professional to do your painting. Buy quality paint. Don't look for the cheapest, look for the best. If you are going to be painting with a roller, be sure to purchase an extra pint of paint for each roller head you'll use in your project.
#2 – Pick the right kind of paint. Painting with a latex (acrylic) based paint is much easier. Mixing the paint is easier, and cleaning up is easier. Latex paint allows for soap and water cleanup.
#3 – Pick the right paint finish. Paints basically come in three finishes: flat, semi-gloss and gloss. Which finish you use depends on the room you'll be painting. Flat painted surfaces don't wash off well, and don't handle moisture well. Use gloss in bathrooms and kitchens. Gloss paints will wash off well and not readily absorb moisture. Semi-gloss is the compromise between flat paint and gloss paint. Semi-gloss paints do very well for trim work, especially baseboards.
#4 – Good tools matter. There is a lot of difference between a $25 paint brush and a $3 paint brush. Thanks to the self-leveling properties of today's better paints, the difference in the finished job is not quite so noticeable. If you plan to do a lot of painting, use mid-range to high-range brushes. If you're doing a one time painting project, cheaper tools will work, but be careful with your brush technique so you don't leave streaks.
#5 – Have a small container of mineral spirits on hand. Latex paint will cleanup with soap and water, but mineral spirits will quickly remove dried and caked on latex paint from rollers and brushes. Use soap and water after using mineral spirits.
#6 – Use quality masking tape. Masking tape is not the place to save money in a painting project. Cheap masking tape will not adhere well. It will often pull paint off with it when it's removed. Cheap masking tape also tends to leave behind a bit of undesirable adhesive.
#7 – Make sure the room is ready to paint. Move everything away from the walls so you can work unfettered. Things can usually be put into the center of the room safely. Cover whatever you want to protect with cheap plastic drop cloths. Remove the covers on outlets and switches. Rollers tend to throw off droplets of paint, so be sure to protect your cloth upholstery and carpeting.
#8 – Get your surfaces ready for painting. Make sure all the dirt, dust and especially oil and grease are removed from the surfaces you'll be painting. Paint won't adhere well to dirt, and it will do very poorly on oily or greasy spots. Fill any sand any holes. Use at least 220-grit sandpaper.
#9 – Mask off the entire room before you start painting. You don't want to have to stop painting to mask something off. Once you start painting, you want to keep painting until you're done with your work session.
#10 – Do your trim painting first. Even if you're painting the entire room one color, do the trim work first. Edge around doors, windows, the floor and the ceiling. Be careful not to put the paint on too thick. If you're using a brush for edging, apply small amounts of paint to the bristles and 'groom' the brush on the paint can's edge to keep it sharp. Use a scissors to trim off any bristles that get bent – they'll leave tiny lines in your work. If you are using an edger, make sure you don't leave a ridge of paint on the bottom or sides of the edger. If you make a ridge of paint, use a small brush to feather it out. Don't leave abrupt lines, feather out your trim work.
#11 – Be patient with your roller. Don't put too much paint on the roller. Roll the roller in the roller pan to get the paint distributed evenly on the roller cover. Don't move the roller too fast on the wall. Don't use the same up and down or side to side roller stroke all the time. Going up and down and then at a 45° angle will ensure full coverage and a smooth finished wall. NOTE: Use a thinner nap roller cover for most paints and surfaces. Thicker naps work better on rough surfaces such as concrete or masonry walls. Inexpensive roller covers tend to work as well as the more costly ones. Use inexpensive roller heads unless you intend to do a lot of painting.
#12 – Keep two rags with you at all times when painting. Keep one slightly damp rag and one dry rag. Old face clothes work very well for this.
#13 – If you can, remove any masking tape immediately after painting. If you will be applying a second coat, leave the tape on. If you are only applying one coat, remove the masking tape immediately after painting. This is especially important with gloss paints. If you leave the masking tape on for a second coat, then have a single-edged razor blade handy when you remove it later. When the paint dries, it will adhere to both the masking tape and the painted surface. Pull the masking tape, and you'll be pulling off little areas of fresh paint. Use the razor blade to carefully, very gently cut the paint at the joint between the tape and the painted surface. This requires almost no pressure at all. Peel the tape away slowly.
#14 – Throw away the roller heads when you're done painting. This is one reason to buy cheaper roller heads. You can clean a roller head, but it takes a whole lot of time and enough water to float a battleship. NOTE: if you're going to use your roller head to apply a second coat in a few hours, you can save the roller head and the paint in the roller pan. Roll the roller head through the paint and get it sopping wet. Leave the roller head in the paint in the roller pan. Now, place some Saran Wrap over the whole thing. Gently form fit the plastic onto the paint and the roller head. Seal it all off so that no air can get to it. This will keep for many hours. When you're ready to paint again, carefully remove the plastic and get the excess paint out of the roller head.
#15 – Disposable latex gloves are great! Get a small bag of these gloves for your painting projects. Quality painting requires patience and attention to detail. Painting is not a task you can rush. If you take your time and follow the above suggestions, your finished room will be perfect. A properly painted room is a truly beautiful thing. One that you painted yourself is also a constant source of pride and special enjoyment.