A Step By Step Guide To Painting

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A Step By Step Guide To Painting
Written by Elizabeth Wood
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 dry!

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