Almost every homeowner at one time or another has decided to take on a painting project. Some are large, and some are small. Some homeowners are glad they did it, it gave them a lot of satisfaction for a job well done and they saved some money. Others wished they never thought of such a crazy idea. For the most part if you follow some guidelines and take your time it can be pretty simple and straight forward.
Picking out the wall or ceiling colors can be the most challenging. The most important thing when picking out paint colors is to make sure you are viewing them under the same color light the finished room will have. Color of light ranges from warm white to daylight. All paint suppliers can tell you stories of how a homeowner kept returning to the store unhappy with the paint color. It never seemed the same color when he painted with it at home. He was simply looking at it under different light colors. Another more subtle difference is to view the paint right after you put it on when it's still wet. Give it time to dry before you decide whether it's the wrong or right shade.
Now we need to choose the kind of paint to use for your particular job, latex or oil base, satin, semi-gloss, or gloss? If you are doing traditional drywall then latex is the standard choice with easy water cleanup. High traffic areas with wood trim may use oil base which is a little more durable. Trim and doors may use semi-gloss or even gloss while drywall generally uses flat. Many homeowners prefer to use semi-gloss on drywall. It offers easy cleaning with just a damp rag. Beware however, semi-gloss on drywall will show every taped joint and screw placement. The drywall mud on the joints and screws after sanding tends to be smoother than the surrounding drywall. When painted with semi-gloss it will be seen when light hits it at an angle. In most parts of a house it not generally an issue. Although imagine a long open hallway with a window near the end. As sunlight streams in it hits the wall at an angle and really highlights the differences. Many drywallers use this fact to check their work. They will hold a directional work light at a sharp angle to the wall to make sure all their joints are sanded smooth. Should you choose to use semi-gloss, they make special base coats to paint on first to even out these transitions. Most paint suppliers can show you what you need.
Next comes preparation. Assuming you're doing interior walls and some trim and doors, there are a few thing do do first. Covering the floor or carpet to protect it from spills and splatters saves a lot of unnecessary cleanup later. The local paint supplier offers plastic or fabric drop cloths for this purpose at a relatively low price. You'll probably need a stool or step ladder. Rollers and paint brushes are obviously needed. Most rollers come with a threaded insert in the handle to accept broom handles. This is the easiest method to paint walls of any size. You can reach most walls up to the ceiling with no need of a ladder using this method. Also always keep a few rags handy for quick cleanups.
Masking tape may be needed if your trimming around windows and doors. For new construction paint the trim first at least once. When installed you can then fill all the nail holes and give it a final coat. Painters caulk is used with painted trim to fill in the slight imperfections along the wall and the edge of the trim. Usually a small bead of caulk is applied along the top edge of the base trim. The trim is then given a final coat along with painting the caulk to match. There are several trimming brushes a tools out there that many like to use instead of taping out everything. Once you get a little experience with them most feel it's the best way to go.
After all the prep work is done it's time to paint. Make sure you have good lighting before beginning. Nothing's worse than painting the whole room and later finding out you missed spots you didn't see. An all area or 360 degree light works best to light up the whole room. Directional work lights cast harsh shadows and need to be moved constantly to place them in a location where they will light up the wall you're working on.
The first thing is to cut in around the windows and doors.. A 2 1/2" angled brush works well for this. A roller can't completely do the inside corners on walls, so you'll need to do those with a brush and also where the wall meets the ceiling. A paint roller is the thing to use on walls. They come in different sizes. You can get them up to 24" if you have a lot to to. Remember you need the same size tray also. As we said before, an extension handle on the roller really makes things easy when it can be used. When shopping for rollers the length of the nap is important. If you don't know what is best for you ask the paint supplier to recommend one. For most drywall painting a 3/8" roller nap is the standard. Roll on the paint from the top down. Don't press down too hard, just let the roller disperse the paint evenly. If you press too hard it may look good when it's wet but later you'll see where the paint went on too thin. Be careful when rolling near a window or door opening for new construction. If you get too close to the edge of the drywall you may pick up some some drywall pieces that will get in your roller. The trim will cover several inches so you won't need to get right up to each opening.
Clean up is pretty straight forward. If you would happen to spill some paint on a carpet if it's latex paint don't panic. For a heavy dab of paint just press a dry rag on it to soak up the major part. Next flood the area with clean water and soak it up with rags. Do not try to scrub it. It will only make it worse. In this case "dilution is the solution". After a few light soakings you'll see the paint slowly get thinner and thinner. When clean to your satisfaction, let it dry, then vacuum. If you want to take a break and come back later to paint again you can seal the paint brush and roller, even with the paint on it, in a plastic bag and it will stay good for several hours. Depending on use, rollers can be cleaned and reused again. Paint brushes definitely can be reused numerous times.
Homeowners tackle painting projects every day. It is probably one of the first do it yourself jobs the first time home buyer attempts. It's simple and doable leading giving them confidence to do more projects in the future.
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