By Susan Belcourt
It seems like spring is a great time to freshen up rooms, and painting is an easy, rather inexpensive tool to make a room look better. I’d like to give you some very basic principles concerning painting. After you have painted for awhile, you will get your own groove. BUT there are basic principles that don’t ever change, that will give you a better finished product.
The first thing I would suggest when you are considering painting a room is that you do the prep work well. Take a look at the walls and see if you need to use a good spackling product to fill any nail holes or gouges, or repair areas that might have had water damage. Let the repaired area dry, sand lightly, and retexture, if necessary. Then, you should apply primer, and you will be ready to paint. If there are some signs of water damage, but you know the leak has been fixed, make sure you spray or paint that area with a Kilz product to seal the stain “in.” Otherwise that old stain will bleed through your fresh coat of latex paint.
Also, you need to make sure your walls are clean. If you have an area that is “greasy,” scrub with a product call TSP (found in hardware stores). Such areas also probably need a coat of Kilz sealer. This is another area where preparation is key.
If you are a novice painter, here are some pointers that will help you enjoy painting! Buy the very best brush you can afford. It makes a world of difference while you are painting, as well as in the finished product. You will need a small trim brush that fits in your hand and perhaps a 3-4 inch brush that will help brush corners and areas that you cannot get in with your roller. The key to keeping a good brush good is to clean it well after each use. While you are using it, you can always wrap it in saran wrap or a plastic bag (sealed well) and put it in the fridge to be ready to use again, even the next day. But when you are done, or even sometimes if you have a lot of edging to do and paint has “filled” your brush head, it is best to thoroughly clean your brush before your next painting time. I like to clean them with soap and water and I have a “brush comb” that cleans in between the bristles. (A kitchen fork works well for this, too!) If you have let it go too long, you can heat a cup of white vinegar in the microwave and put your brush in the jar….only up to where the bristles are secured in the brush handle. Let sit until vinegar is cool, then, rewash. It is amazing how well that will revive a brush.
Buy the best roller you can. Anyone at the paint store will generally be able to direct you to the proper roller for the type of wall you have- smooth, light texture, heavy texture. It does make a difference. I always wrap my rollers between days of painting, and depending on how much I have paid for them, often wash them. Sometimes, they will be good enough for another painting job AND always are good enough for me to use to stain my deck every summer! Think recycle!
If you are new to painting, consider using tape to protect woodwork, etc. NOT MASKING TAPE. Horrors, you’ll have much more work! Use the blue painter’s tape, or the Froggy Green Tape for those issues. Be prepared to pull the tape soon after you’ve painted. Clean any paint that has seeped by the take!
Always, always paint with a wet rag nearby. It makes me crazy when I see people who have painted a room and did not tape or have a wet rag nearby. You see painting mistakes on ceilings, or worse yet, ceiling tiles. You see paint dabs on cabinets, paint on mirror edges, paint on tile, and paint on mop boards…..ALL can be prevented with a little forethought. BE ALERT and wipe while it’s still wet.
Remove electrical plates and cover the outlets with tape. Again, so easy to be painting and “oops!” hit the outlet. But if you covered them with tape, they are paint free when the job is done! Do the same for lights in the ceiling. You can either tape the edges of the light, or better yet, drop the light housing down. When you put it back, the edges will be paint free!
It goes without saying to cover your floor/carpet and any furniture in a room that you cannot remove. The quality of paint is so much better than 20 years ago, concerning “splatter,” but you will STILL have some! Your hair, face and that sofa you did not cover will be “textured!” Take a few minutes to cover those areas.
Use of primers- Today, many paints have a primer in the paint. However, if you have new drywall or areas that have been spackled or are covering a dark color, I would suggest using a primer, before you apply the paint. You can actually tint your primer close to the paint color you’ve selected so your paint will cover better, and the old color will not show through the paint. (For instance if you are covering a deep red with a light beige, tint your primer close to your paint color and it will give a great base coat.) With that idea, sometimes you can get away with one coat of paint, because the primer has sufficiently covered the dark paint.
When buying paint, buy the best quality you can. There are always good sales in the spring. Sherwin Williams often has 30-40% off their paints. I like Pittsburgh Paint, and Menard’s has good sales on this product. Although there are “general” suggestions for the type of paint finish for bedrooms, bathroom, kitchens, entryways, etc., it does somewhat depend on your preference. (Finishes include flat, matte, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss and gloss.) Anything with a shine(gloss or semi-gloss) will highlight any defect on your wall. We often see these two types of paint in bathrooms and kitchens. At one time, they were the only finishes that were washable, so people used them in those rooms. I prefer matte or eggshell in most of my rooms and satin in bathroom. Eggshell finish has a nice warm feeling and doesn’t show the “trouble” spots on drywall that you cannot change.
Choosing a paint color is not always an easy task. It should be easy, but when you try finding that perfect color, you will be inundated with 50 colors (that call themselves beige, greige, latte, ocean breeze!) to choose from. I have found it much easier to “pick a color” if I am using a piece of fabric from my sofa, curtains, bedspread, etc. BUT, just know that isn’t always how it happens. So…be prepared to get many color swatches …and PICK A COLOR! J Sales personnel in better paint stores can certainly help you select a “neutral” without any undertones if you are really struggling with selection. Use those people.
If possible, set aside a good portion of a day to prepare and paint. Interruptions are not very forgiving when painting. If you have to “quit” for a bit to tend to something, “quit” in a corner! Be careful when painting not to go back over an area that you just painted a few minutes ago. Sometimes you can actually lift the paint off and the “finish” will be affected. Some experts suggest an “up and down” motion with a roller and long handle so you can reach near the ceiling and paint all the way down to the mopboards; others like a “W” motion, where you lay on paint in a “W” and then paint over. The key really is to keep your roller wet; don’t “over-roll,” and be consistent. I like to paint left to right, but maybe because I am right-handed. Just have a plan!
Painting a room is a relatively easy task. Don’t fear painting to improve a room. Again, there are several ladies in the church who have experience in painting. Don’t hesitate to ask. Some might even come over and help! Happy Spring!