Get FREE Estimates On Your Project
A Step By Step Guide To Painting
Editor In Chief, United Home Improvement
Painting the interior of your home really is an easy task, but
it is definitely not something you want to rush through. The real
secret to a beautiful, long-lasting paint job is surface
preparation. And even before you begin to prep the surface, you need
to be equipped with the proper paint and tools.
When purchasing your new paint, it is important to know a bit about
paint finishes and gloss. At first glance, selecting the proper
paint product may seem like an overwhelming task. Here are a few
“need to knows” about paint finishes and gloss.
• Water-based latex vs. Oil based: Latex is fast drying, more fade
resistant, retains flexibility longer, will not yellow and cleans up
with water. It is more sensitive to temperature, softer, and shrinks
more when drying. Oil is not affected by temperature as much, seals
stains better, holds rust better on steel, works better on dirty of
chalky surfaces. However, oil colors fade faster, it dries slower
than latex, it yellows with age and it peals on galvanized steel.
• Different Gloss Ratings: Glossy, semi-gloss, eggshell or flat.
Glossy surfaces are easier to clean, but show more imperfections. It
is best to use glossy sheens on kitchen and bathroom walls and
trims. Flat paint is better to use on walls and ceilings because it
covers blemishes, but it is also more difficult to clean. Enamels
allow you to blend the level of flatness and shine, creating a paint
that will cover imperfections and clean easily.
It is important to come prepared with the proper tools when painting
your home. One of the first things you will need is a good 2 ½ to 3
inch paint brush. You will also need a roller. Standard rollers are
9 inches, but widths do vary. Short nap rollers are designed for
smooth surfaces whereas long naps are best for rough or textured
surfaces. You will need a 2 and 5 gallon bucket, or a rolling tray,
and 4 to 8 foot rolling pole. In addition, formed paint sponges and
fabric-covered paint pads have become popular. They tend to work
better for smoother finishes on trims and cabinets.
Now it is time to prepare the surface. Start off by removing lamps
and other irreplaceable items. Next, move out as much furniture as
you can and then push whatever is left to the middle of the room.
Take down everything attached to the walls, including switch and
outlet plates. Remove ceiling fixtures. Take off all the window and
door hardware. Finally, use a canvas or heavy plastic drop clothes
to cover all flooring and furniture.
You must now clean the surface of your walls. Use a spray cleaner or
damp cloth to wipe away any and all dust, dirt, pen and crayon
marks, and fingerprint markings. If your walls are fairly new, you
can simply use soap and water to sponge down the surface. Older
homes may require a TSP solution to cut through crud.
Once the walls are clean, you must fill in any cracks, nail holes or
other imperfections. You can use a paintable latex caulk to cover up
these holes. Make sure to sand down any bare areas on windows and
other wood work. You will also need to sand out (or degloss) the
shine left behind on glossy trim areas.
Last but not least, use a primer on any marks, stains, smoke marks,
or bare wood. If you are painting over previous paint, make sure to
identify if the paint was water based or oil based. This will effect
what type of primer you use. Once you have finished priming, tape
off windows and baseboards.
Now that you have finished preparing the surface, it is time to
start doing the dirty work. Begin by pouring your paint into your
screen or roller tray. Saturate you roller with paint and start
applying the paint three feet at a time. Get as close as possible to
corners and trim, then go back with a brush to cover the area with
detail. Before applying a second coat, make sure the first one is