A fresh coat of paint is the fastest, most economical way to spruce up any room in your home. Here are some simple guidelines to help you achieve results that will make any professional painter envious.
Pick your paint type – Water-soluble latex dries quickly, is easier to clean up, and emits fewer fumes. It is also less likely to fade and provides a breathable surface allowing moisture to escape. Oil based paints are trickier to apply, dry more slowly, and require mineral spirits for clean-up. However, they will provide a more durable finish. There are also specially-designed paints for kitchens and baths to resist mold, mildew, and humidity; they are worth the extra expense! That’s actually a good rule for any paint, consider paying a little more for better quality!
Choose the sheen – Flat, low-luster paints disguise flaws making them good for ceilings and low traffic areas. Glossier finishes form a smoother, water-resistant surface that is easy to wipe clean and stands up to moisture, making them a good choice for kitchens, trim, and high-traffic areas.
Test-drive the color – Buy a sample pot and apply 2 coats to a 3’ sq. of white foam board. Move the square around your room to study it at different times of the day and in varying light conditions. Once you decide on a color, purchase all your paint at the same time. (a gallon will cover about 400 sq ft) If you need more than 1 can, a good idea is to mix all cans together. Different cans could have subtle color variations that will become obvious on your walls. If applying 2 coats, only mix ½ of your paint for the first coat and mix the remaining paint before your second coat.
The right tools – For most jobs you will need a roller, brushes, blue painters’ tape, and a paint tray. Nylon and polyester bristles work best with latex paint, while natural bristles are the best choice for oil-based finishes. A 3/8”–1/2” nap roller suits most drywall.
Prep – Clear as much furniture from the room before you begin. Cover the floor and fixtures with drop cloths and remove outlet/switch covers. Fill holes and patch damaged spots with spackle. Wipe down walls and trim with a damp sponge before you paint.
Cut-in – Use a 2 ½” angled brush to paint the border of your work area. This will keep your roller from bumping against adjacent surfaces.
“Lay off” Method – After rolling an area, make a series of long vertical strokes down the full length of the wall, in the same direction. This will distribute wet paint in a thin, even layer.
Removing the tape – If you have used painter’s tape on your baseboards or trim, you’ll want to remove it the same day you paint. Run a putty knife along the edge at a 45-degree angle to “score” the paint. This will allow you to peel off your tape and not pull off the paint, move slowly and steadily.
Other tips –
- Paint an outlet cover and write the paint color/number on the back of the cover. You can take this along to the store when you need to match the color exactly!
- Store extra paint for “touch-ups” in an airtight glass jar (ex: mason jar). Cover the opening with plastic wrap before screwing the lid on and store in a cool, dry place.
Grab a brush, follow these tips, and enjoy great-looking, long-lasting results!
These tips are great for homeowners looking to update the look of their home, as well as for home sellers looking to update the look and price of their home for sale.