The key to a successful, good-looking paint job is preparation. As with anything in life, when you are more prepared, you tend to be more efficient and to look better! Painting is no exception. Preparation usually takes longer than the actual painting and is thus tempting to skip, but trust me. The time you take to properly prepare at the beginning of the job will save you lots of headaches and money in the long run.
If your interior walls have been well maintained, and you are simply going to freshen them up or change the color, then prep time can be kept to a minimum, and may even be as simple as washing the walls.
If the walls are in bad shape, however, be prepared for some serious effort. I once spent two weeks preparing a single bathroom in an old rental apartment; not only were there layers and layers of cheap paint from years of quick-fix property-manager jobs, but the paint was covering wall paper from the 1950s. By the time I got to the paper, I felt like I was on an archaeological dig! Apart from the walls, the studio apartment had old ornate plaster ceilings—beautiful, but a nightmare to scrape backs all the flaky, hanging paint.
How to prepare interiors:
1. Remove all furniture and rugs, or move these items to the middle of the room and cover them with a sheet.
2. Remove all pictures, shelves, hooks, curtain rods, brackets, and any other moveable items from the walls. Be sure to keep all screws, nails, etc., with the item so they do not get lost.
3. Remove cover plates from electrical outlets and switches. Be sure to keep all screws with their plates.
4. Protect any other item in room with either a drop cloth or tape. You can use the blue painter’s tape for base boards, corners, windowsills, or any area that you would like to mask off.
5. Fix the walls by repairing any small holes. Fill these with joint compound or putty with a small putty knife. Once it’s dry, sand it until smooth with 100-grit sand paper. Seal these spots with primer.
6. Wash down all walls with a sponge or wet rag.
TIP: Tape screws to the objects you remove so that the hardware stays with the objects.
PRIMING INDOOR SURFACES
You should prime most surfaces that you intend to paint. If you are covering an old paint job, and the color is not too dark, you can get away with not priming. Priming is just as it sounds—it “primes” or prepares the wall for paint. You should definitely prime any wall surface that you have just re paired and unfinished wood that you intend to paint.
How do you prime? Priming is just painting, so follow the directions in the next page2. Instead of paint, use primer!
PAINTING WITH A PAINTBRUSH
Let the painting begin! Now that your room is prepared, you are ready to start painting. The best way to paint is from top to bottom, mainly because if paint should drip down the wall, you can easily smooth the surface and retouch. Start at the top near the ceiling with a two paintbrush. This is where you do the “cutting in” described earlier. Use this brush to paint the corners and edges, including near the baseboard, doors, and window trim. You can then fill in the rest of the surface with a paint roller.
How to paint with a paintbrush:
1. Dip the paintbrush into the paint.
2. Pull the paintbrush along the side of the container to remove any excess paint and avoid drips.
3. Use long, even strokes to spread the paint on the painting surface. Make sure that you do not have any drips or buildup.
4. Keep using the brush until the strokes become dry.
5. Redid the brush into the paint and continue.
TIP: Take a large nail with a very sharp point and make five or six tiny holes all along the rim of the paint can. This allows the paint to drain back into the can when you brush off excess, instead of it spilling over the sides.
PAINTING WITH A ROLLER
For a large surface, rolling is the best way to achieve fast and efficient results with ample coverage. When purchasing a roller sleeve (or cover), don’t skimp. Spend the money and get a higher quality sleeve. It will pay off in the long run. Use rolling to fill in the central part of the surface after you has done the cutting in on the corners and edges with a paint brush.
How to paint with a roller:
TIP: There are a couple of different ways to apply paint to your roller. The first is by using a paint tray as explained above. Another is to hang a paint grate or bucket screen over a five-gallon bucket of paint. You can dip the roller into the paint, run it along the grate, and get a nice, even distribution of paint over the roller, if you do this, add to your Tuft Tools list a large bucket and bucket screen.
1. Remove any excess lint from the roller sleeve
2. If you are using water-based latex paint, run the sleeve under water. This opens up the fibers and allows paint to penetrate. Use mineral spirits if you are using oil- based paints.
3. Squeeze any excess liquid from the roller
4. Fill the paint tray—not too deep—with paint.
5. To properly put paint on the roller, dip it into the paint then use the textured ramp of the paint tray to roll the roller back and forth and evenly distribute the paint. Your roller should be covered with just enough paint, but not so much that it is dripping or running.
6. On the surface, make an upward roll. Continue rolling both up and down in about 4-foot sections, at a slight diagonal. Be careful not to go so fast that you splatter paint.
7. Use the roller until the strokes become dry.
8. Then redip the roller in the paint and continue.
TIP: Use a large plastic bag to cover an entire paint tray. Pour the paint into the tray, over the plastic bag. That way, when you are complete you just turn the bag Inside out and throw the mess away.