With the economy in a state of despair, homeowners are choosing to work on home improvement projects themselves, rather than hiring a contractor. This goes for the paint industry, as well. While refreshing paint colors in a home is one of the most inexpensive home improvement projects, hiring a paint contractor adds tremendously to the cost. Painting may be easy enough, but most homeowners are not professional painters. Here are a few tips to help make the painting process go a little easier.
Choosing the colors
Deciding on colors is often the most difficult task in the painting process. The color options are limitless; in just one store, there may be hundreds of colors to choose from. Choosing colors should be an enjoyable experience, however. If you have a theme or color scheme in mind, or if you would like to work around an existing part of a room (bedding, throw pillows), bring it along to the paint store. An associate will help you match the color. If it is a more permanent feature (such as furniture) that you would like to enhance, take a bunch of samples home with you.
Some stores will even let you borrow a deck with all of their colors (often called a fan deck). Go through the colors and take a look at how each one changes in different lights, from morning to the evening. Once you have decided on a color or two that you think will work, buy a sample of the color to paint on the wall (or on a large piece of tag board if you do not want to paint on the walls just yet). Usually, quarts of Color-to-Go paint sell for about $5 that will cover up to 50 square feet.
Buying the paint
Once you have settled on a color, it is time to buy the paint. You will need to decide on a sheen or finish for the paint. Some options may be: flat, matte, egg-shell, satin, semi-gloss, and gloss (in order from the least amount of shine to the most). The less shine you want, the less durable the paint will be.
Dark colors often look richer in flat paints. However, flat paints are generally not desired in bathrooms, kitchens, and high-traffic areas of the home, as they are not as washable or durable as the shinier finishes. For interior walls, latex paints work well. For furniture and woodwork, you will need to use a certain line of paint made especially for wood products. This will provide a harder, more durable finish.
Other materials to consider
While you are at the paint store, you may as well purchase any other materials you will need. Brushes, rollers, drop cloths, tape, trays, tray liners, and extension poles are all materials to be considered. Before leaving home, make a list of the materials you will need. A good brush for cutting in (around the trim and in comers) has an angled sash. For easier handling, find one with a thin handle and thin-tipped bristles. A 2-inch wide brush will work for most areas. Find a roller cover that best suits the amount of texture on the walls.
The more texture that is on the walls, the thicker the nap you will need. A 318 inch nap, and sometimes 6 inch, is good for walls with orange-peel texture. An even thicker nap is often desired for a popcorn ceiling. There are plastic and canvas drop cloths.
Consider which will better suit your needs. Tape is helpful for keeping woodwork clean. If you will be working with a 9-inch roller, buy a 9-inch tray and several tray liners (especially if you will be working with several different colors). If you will be painting a ceiling, you will need either a ladder or an extension pole. Extension poles work really well for painting ceilings and other hard-to-reach areas. To save money, take the handle off a broom and twist it into the handle of the roller.
Preparing the area and starting the main process
Wipe the walls down if they seem dirty or grimy. Cover the floors and furniture with plastic or canvas drop cloths. Tape any areas that you will not be painting. Finally, it is time to paint. Where and how you begin is up to you. It is usually easier to cut in around the edges with a brush and come in later with a roller.
If there is someone around to help out, one person can do the cutting-in and the other person can paint with the roller. While tape may be helpful in keeping paint off trim work, it is still important to be very careful. Tape is not perfect and sometimes paint will bleed through the edges. This will cause a jagged edge.
Rather than brushing towards the tape, position the brush over the tape and paint away from it to help prevent bleeding. You may need to apply two coats of paint. When painting with dark colors, especially with reds, you should first apply a gray primer. This will help the paint cover much more effectively with less coats of paint. At least two coats of paint should be applied over a primer, depending on how well it covers.
Immediately, remove any tape from the trim. Take it off while the paint is still wet to prevent it from leaving a sticky residue on the woodwork. Be careful not to brush against tile wet paint, though. Latex (water-based) paints can be cleaned up with water. Oil paints will require mineral spirits. Clean your brushes. It is sometimes better to throw roller covers away, though, as they tend to get hard once they have dried.
If you have decided to do the painting yourself in a home improvement project, the above tips will definitely help you get started – just don’t be afraid to continue, painting is not as difficult as it may seem at first!