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Home Improvement & Renovating

Painting Know-How: Paints, Brushes & Things to Know

Painting Know-How: Paints, Brushes & Things to Know

One of the most impactful renovations you can do to your house is also one of the simplest. A new coat of paint can transform any room, creating a whole new impression while adding a sense of openness.

Done right, painting a room is a fairly straightforward process offering great results. But achieving those results depends on taking the right steps to prepare the space and choose the right paint and tools. Starting without proper consideration of your needs can turn a dream house into a nightmare.

Keep reading to get the painting know-how that will get your room looking its best.

Choose Your Colour

The very first step is often the most exciting. Choosing a new colour for your room allows you to envision the different possibilities available to you.

Before you go wild, though, there are a few things to consider. The amount of light the room gets will dictate how dark you can go with your colour choice. The brighter the space, the darker the shade. Even then, going too dark will make it feel small and confining. Lighter shades offer a greater sense of space.

Neutral colours are easier to coordinate and won’t clash the way a bolder shade will. Think of what else will be in the room. Look for a tone that will work with your flooring and furniture.

The type of finish you choose will affect the room. A matte finish has no shine, making it a great choice for high-traffic spaces like hallways and dens. It won’t show stains or dirt the same way a high-gloss enamel will. A satin enamel works well in areas where moisture is present as they can be washed and wiped down.

When buying your paint, plan for more than you need. It’s better to have some paint left over than risk buying an extra can at a later date.

Get the Right Tools

Once you’ve chosen your paint, you need to get the right tools. Using the proper equipment goes a long way to getting the right finish, whereas the wrong tools can sabotage even the best efforts.

When it comes to brushes, quality matters. Cheap brushes won’t spread the paint evenly and will likely shed bristles as you paint. Be willing to spend a little bit more and get something reliable. Same with rollers. The best paint in the world won’t save you if you can’t properly apply it.

Cotton drop cloths are far superior to plastic ones. Not only can paint stay wet on plastic for a long time but plastic also slips and slides, making it a hazard to walk on, to say nothing of setting up a ladder on it.

Other important items are painter’s tape, an edger and an extendable painter’s pole. The tape and edger will help you keep paint off the ceiling and other walls, while the extendable pole will help you cover more space with your roller.

Prep the Space

Once you’ve gathered all of your materials, it’s time to prep the room. Take the time to go through all of these steps to save yourself headaches later on.

Start by removing all the outlets and switch plates. You can paint around them but not only will removing them result in a better-looking paint job, but it’s actually quicker, too.
Inspect the walls for any damage that will need to be repaired. Use spackle and a wide drywall blade to fill in holes, sanding them smooth once dry.

Once the wall is clear, give it a wash with some soap and water. Grease and dust can prevent paint from properly adhering to the wall, ruining your efforts. A clean surface, on the other hand, is perfect for getting great results.

Finally, it’s time to cover everything that you don’t want to be painted. Use painter’s tape around trim and edges. Cover your furniture and floor with drop cloths. You don’t want to stop mid-project to clean up a spill, so make sure that everything that needs to be protected is covered.

Use a Tinted Primer

Now your room is finally ready and you can begin applying a primer. Primers seal surfaces, making it easier for the paint to stick. This is especially important if you’ve had to seal any holes, as spackle will absorb the moisture out of the paint, leaving a different finish than elsewhere on the wall.

Even if you didn’t need to touch up the walls, primer is recommended. It covers the old paint, requiring fewer coats of the new colour. Choose a primer tinted to a similar shade to the paint you’ll be using and things will go even quicker.

Box Your Paint

To get an even colour throughout the room, mix a few different cans together in a large bucket. This is called boxing your paint and will prevent any discrepancies that can result from slightly mismatched paint colours.

Keep a Wet Edge

As you start painting, aim to keep a wet edge as you work. This will reduce streaks and lap marks in the finished product. Overlapping strokes will help to blend your edges together, offering a seamless finish.

Do the Edges

Start along the edges of the wall with a brush. This lets you finish up the tight spaces first, freeing you to cover the rest of the surface with a roller later.

Working with a brush will leave a different finish than a roller will. To prevent this, use a small roller to smooth out your brush strokes. This is a great way to maintain a wet edge, as well, so that you can blend it with the larger roller.

Work Top to Bottom

Once your edges are done, you can move to a full-size roller. Start at the top of the wall and work your way downward, overlapping the previous strokes. Aim to do full strokes to reduce edges. Make sure that the roller is regularly loaded with paint so that it doesn’t dry out.

Put Away Your Brushes: Part 1

Just like that, your room is done. It’s time to put your brushes away.

This means washing them thoroughly to remove the paint. Wipe down the handles, extendable pole, ladder and anything else that paint may be on.

Wait for any paint drips to dry before gathering up your drop cloths. You don’t want to do this too early and risk paint getting on your floor and furniture.

When removing the painter’s tape, wait for the paint to fully cure. Removing it too early can result in it pulling off the paint. The safest way to take off the tape is to run a sharp blade along the edge of it first, separating it from the paint.

Put Away Your Brushes: Part 2

If you’re done for the day, but still have more work to do tomorrow, don’t bother washing your brushes and rollers. Instead, dip them in paint and then wrap them airtight in plastic. Store them in a cool place overnight and they’ll be ready to go once you need them.

Painting a room is a straightforward way of substantially changing a space. Best of all, it’s relatively inexpensive and can be done by almost anyone. All you need is a plan, the right materials and some inspiration.


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