Ready to paint the interior of your home but have no clue as to what kind of preparation, paint or tools you need to do a quality job? Let’s shed a little light on the subject to help you achieve the attractive, long-lasting results you might expect could come only from a professional.
Let me begin by stressing the importance of good preparation. Resist the temptation to take short cuts in this step of a painting project to save time or effort, because proper prep work can make the difference between a good job and a great job and help prevent any paint failures.
When painting spread professional-quality canvas drop cloths to cover and protect the floor. Spilled paint doesn’t soak through canvas as it does a bed sheet or other lightweight cloth, and canvas is safer to walk on. Working on a plastic drop cloth can be like painting on roller skates.
1. First, you need to take down window coverings, and remove the switch-plates and hardware from doors (and cabinets, if you’ll be painting them).
2. Move all the furniture to the middle of the room and cover it with plastic.
3. Enamel paint on trim needs to be dulled using either sandpaper (be sure to wear a dust mask) or a liquid deglosser (be sure to follow directions on the label). I prefer sandpaper because it enables you to sand out old brush marks and roughness.
4. If there is oil-based enamel on the trim or cabinets, you’ll need to apply a prime coat. I prefer a slower drying oil based primer with good hiding ability (you’ll need paint thinner to clean up).
5. Next, fill cracks with a paintable latex caulk, fill nicks and dings with spackle or bond and spot prime these areas. Wall prep usually isn’t as time consuming.
6. Clean any grease, wax or dirt with Tri Sodium Phosphate (TSP) or another degreaser, then rinse.
7. Walls which were previously painted with oil-based enamel (most likely in older kitchens, bathrooms or laundry rooms) should be primed with an oil based primer.
8. Smoke stains should be primed with a stain blocking primer.
9. Fill nail holes with spackle, applied with your fingertip instead of a knife so you don’t fill in any wall texture. I will assume you will be painting with a brush and roller, and not need to do a lot of masking, as is the case when applying paint with a sprayer.
10. Cover baseboards with two inch masking tape.
11. Now that you’ve got your home all prepped and ready to put some fresh color on your walls, you need to pick up the paint and tools required to do a quality job. With all the paint manufacturers and dealers out there offering so many different grades of products, it’s no wonder many consumers have no idea which products to buy. Don’t buy the cheapest stuff you can get your hands on because it probably won’t give you the coverage or durability you need. But you don’t necessarily need the most expensive, either. Knowing what you’re looking for will make it much easier.
Finishes and Gloss
The vast majority of finishes used today are water-based latex. Oil based paints are rarely used for finishes anymore because the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has put a limit on the amount of volatile chemicals that can be used.
The first thing to understand is that paints have different gloss ratings (or sheens), from flat to lo-sheen, eggshell, semi-gloss and finally, gloss. Flat has little or no sheen and is used primarily for walls and ceilings. The remaining is considered enamels and can range from a five to 85 percent sheen rating – the higher the rating, the higher the shine. These are used for trim, cabinets and walls in kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms. Many homeowners use enamels on all their walls because they are more durable and easier to clean, but I recommend lo-sheen because it is more attractive than shinier enamels.
How Much Paint to Buy?
You’ll need to measure the square footage of your walls and ceilings. Most paints will cover from 300 to 400 square feet per gallon. Double that, because I recommend applying two coats on all surfaces to insure good coverage and maximum durability.
1. At least one good two and one-half- to three-inch paint brush (Purdy is a good brand and if you keep it clean it should last forever)
2. A nine-inch roller frame
3. A nine-inch screen
4. A nine-inch roller covers with a one-half to one-inch nap “lamb’s wool is best”
5. A two-gallon bucket
6. A five-gallon bucket
7. A four-to eight-foot rolling pole (which could double as a handle for a broom or other implement) to save time and your back
8. You might also consider foam brushes and rollers (for a smoother finish on trim and cabinets)
Make just one final appraisal of your prep work to make sure it is complete. (Remember, no short cuts!) Read the labels on the paint cans for any special instructions and familiarize yourself with what you are using. Now you should be ready to go!
1. Put your nine-inch screen in your five-gallon bucket (eliminating any need for a roller tray) and pour three to four gallons of paint in the bucket.
2. Attach your rolling pole to the roller frame, slide on the roller cover and dunk it into the bucket.
3. Roll only three feet at a time to spread the paint evenly over the wall, using the roller to get as close to the corners as possible.
4. After rolling, pour some paint into the two-gallon bucket, dip your new brush and start “cutting in” around the trim and corners.
5. Make sure the paint is completely dry before applying the second coat.
For trim, make sure the surface is clean before painting, some enamels brush better than others, so ask the paint store which product has the best brush ability and is user friendly. A product called Floe-tol can also be added to enamels to help them flow better and eliminate brush marks, or you can add a few splashes of water (just don’t overdo it). You can also try the foam brush or roller, experimenting to see what is most comfortable and effective for you.