Sunday, 23 September 2018
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This Old House - Do-it-Yourself

Prep Or Pay The Price: What You Do Before You Paint Matters More Than The Paint Itself

Written by Jaymi Naciri Posted On Sunday, 09 September 2018 16:09

So you're sitting there on a Saturday morning, watching HGTV and drinking your coffee, when it hits. It's the urge to paint a room, and it's not going away. Next thing you know, you're dipping that brush right into the paint can and slopping that blue hue up on the wall.

It'll all be fine, right?

It's a scenario we'll admit to knowing all too well - one in which eagerness and adrenaline push patience and logic aside, and not always with the greatest results. But, the reality we must all face eventually is that the right preparation makes all the difference when it comes to painting. For the best job that looks like it was done professionally, these are the steps to take.

Do a little research

A paint color chosen on a whim can end up being wonderful... but, most of the time, it ends up being a mistake. Yes, buying a couple of samples to put up on the wall and watching them for at least a few days so you can really get a feel for which one works best in your space, with your stuff, and at different times of the day and night, takes time. But it'll all be worth it when you find the right color, instead of having to repaint because your whim choice ended up looking off.

Buy the right supplies

A successful paint job is one in which you not only achieve a great result, but you do so without running back to Lowe's 12 times because you forgot something (or you go without and make a big mess). According to Sherwin-Williams, "Important items for your supply list include:

  • "Primer
  • Paint
  • Stir sticks
  • Paint rollers
  • Roller covers
  • Small paint brushes, for cutting in or touch-ups
  • Paint trays, and if needed a sturdy holder for your paint tray
  • Painters tape
  • Rags
  • Drop cloths"

    Buy the good stuff

    Painting is one of the least expensive, and most effective, ways to make over a space. But that doesn't mean you should buy the cheapest products you can find. Bargain basement paint likely won't give you the coverage you want, and cheap brushes can leave brush marks, streaks, and even bristles on the finish. The Spruce has a good guide to the best interior paints. Brands of brushes and rollers can vary depending on the store, so be sure to ask the paint specialist which options they would choose for their own walls.

    Tape, tape, tape

    It's tedious and time-consuming and a pain in the butt. And we're speaking from personal experience. But paint all over your moldings or baseboards is not a good look. And, sadly, we're also speaking from personal experience here, too.

    Cover your stuff

    Even if you have the gentlest, most even, most professional stroke in the world, splatters happen. So do drips and spills. Don't take the chance of ruining something special because you didn't remember to get a drop cloth.

    Take a good look at your walls

    Dings, cracks, or other imperfections in the walls will not be covered by paint. They may even look worse once you're done. Use Home Depot's recommendations to get them looking good before you start layering on the color.

    • "Carefully inspect walls for cracks, holes, dents or other surface imperfections before priming or painting. 
    • Use a lightweight spackling compound and putty knife to fill and repair any holes or imperfections, then remove any excess spackling with the putty knife and allow the area to dry completely. 
    • Once dry, use a small piece of very fine 220-grit sandpaper or a sanding sponge to smooth the repaired areas flush with the surface. 
    • Wipe the walls clean with a damp towel or sponge and allow them to dry before priming or painting. 
    • Use a floor duster to wipe the walls clean of dust to ensure paint applies evenly." 
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