The most important part of any paint job is the preparation, and unfortunately, this is what homeowners fail to do when they paint their own rooms and, thus, why DIY painted rooms don’t end up looking like a professional job. Here are several things you’ll want to do first to prepare the room for a perfect paint job you will love.
Clear the room. No one likes drywall dust or splats of paint on furniture. Having the room clean and clear will also make moving around a little easier.
Use drop cloths or old sheets. Paint loves to spill here or there, whether on its own accord off a paint brush or by a painter’s mistake. Drop cloths or old bed sheets can help prevent paint on floors.
Fix any cracks, holes, or dents. Once the room is clear, scan the room for holes, cracks, or dents and fix them.
Small cracks or dents, you can use painter’s putty or any other kind of lightweight spackle, like Plaster of Paris.
Recurring cracks, you can use a rubberized primer that you spray on the crack, like Good-Bye Crack.
Damaged wood trim, you can use painter’s putty or a two-part wood filler, like Minwax’s High-Performance Filler. To note, do not use spackle on wood, it won’t stick and will cause you problems.
Clean the walls. Don’t just spot clean, but quickly use a mild soap and some water to scrub the walls in their entirety. Cleaning will ensure the primer has a strong bond. If you are painting a kitchen or bathroom, you want to be sure to clean the walls with a bleach solution (3/4 cup bleach per gallon water) or similar solution to prevent mildew spores from invading your new paint job. Many newer paints have additives that help prevent mildew from forming, but can’t fight mildew or mold that’s already there, and eventually that mold will work its way through your new paint job.
Having all the supplies you require upfront prevents you from having to stop what you are doing to run into the store again. Here’s a list of items you’ll likely need.
Powerful primer paint
Quality topcoat paint
Paint additives (Floetrol for latex or Penetrol for alkyds)
You already know about the uses of the first four items, so let us take a moment to provide a few more points about the last several items.
Use painter’s tape and not masking tape because painter’s tape (the blue kind) is easier to remove and less messy. To prevent paint from bleeding behind the tape, use a putty knife to bed the tape in nicely.
When priming the walls, do not spot prime because you’ll be able to see it through the topcoat. But if you are painting the ceiling, it’s fine to spot prime. You will want to use alcohol and alkyd primers, not latex because they cover almost everything, which is good since you can see almost anything through the topcoat.
If you actually live in the room, then you don’t want a glossier paint that will show any and all imperfections, you want an eggshell gloss. For the topcoat paint, we also recommend latex over oil-based. Finally, two coats produce a cleaner finish than one coat. Generally speaking, if you are painting more than 400 square feet with one gallon of paint, the layer of paint is too thin on the walls.
You can use paint additives to help make the paint more pliable or easy to work. Think of how latex paint creates a skin of sorts, so when you remove the blue tape, it can leave a ragged edge, but with a little additive, you can prevent this problem, as well as apply paint more easily.
A good roller can benefit you in more than one ways. The best roller holds a lot of paint and provides a texture perfect for the room. A longer nap on a roller means more paint but also more texture. Use a ½ inch nap made of lambswool: it holds a lot of paint with minimal texture. Use also a 9-inch roller over an 18-inch roller because they are just overall easier to handle. If you choose to purchase a cheaper roller, wash it first to rid it of any stray fibers.
A good paintbrush is fundamental to the room’s final look. Natural-bristle brushes should be used for oil-based paints, while synthetic brushes can be used for any type of paint. There are different types of synthetic bristles, so you should pay attention and choose the softer nylon type. A tapered-edge brush will help you finish edges with a smooth, even appearance. You may want to choose a few different sizes and shapes to produce the highest quality finish. (Then, after the paint job, clean the paint brushes and store them safely for your next paint job… whenever that is.)
Use a bucket to pour several cans of paint into it and mix it. This trick ensures the color is consistent throughout the room.
The technique does not have to be complicated. Paint the trim first, the ceiling second and the walls last. Paint top down. Always double-check what you are doing. Pay attention to the edges and use an appropriate paint brush for the smaller work. Once finished, make sure you leave a half gallon for any touch-ups. Last but not least, when the paint is dry, carefully cut the blue tape away (not pull).
A day well-spent equals years of enjoyment! Enjoy!
We hope you enjoy this article and if you’re planning a painting project this spring, make it the best painting project ever!