When it comes to painting a room these words of Abraham Lincoln seem especially appropriate; "If I have been hired to cut down a tree in 8 hours, then I would spend 7 of them sharpening my axe."
A quality paint finish requires more time spent in preparation over application. Choosing the best paint, the right brushes, and preparation of the room, are the 3 main ingredients to ensure superior results.
Paint comes in 2 standard compositions; alkyd (oil based) or acrylic (water based). For interior applications the standard recommendation is acrylic paint for its quick drying time, easy clean up and minimal toxicity during application. The only exception is if the wall has been previously painted with an oil base. Acrylics do not adhere well and will often cause cracking and peeling
To determine if the existing coat of paint is oil or water based - dab a small amount of mineral spirits on a inconspicuous spot on the wall. Acrylics will be unaffected. The alkyd will dissolve.
Choosing to prime is dependent on specific wall circumstances. To determine if you need to prime or seal, ask yourself the following:
Do I need to cover stains? Stains include crayon, ink and water spots. Am I dramatically changing the color of the wall? If moving from a dark to a light toned color, priming will limit the number of coats needed to apply to provide an even spread of the new color. Tinting the primer with the new color also speeds up this covering process. Is my wall a raw surface? Drywall, wood paneling or some other rough, unfinished surface will need to be primed.
Use an acrylic based primer when your primary color is acrylic. If an oil, either one will work.
Choosing Paint Color:
When choosing a wall color, buy small sample cans of your selections. Paint a sample of each on a 2' square foam core board. Position the boards around the room during different times of the day or night, to get a sense of how the color will change as the light shifts. Test color in natural light as well as with evening lamps.
Choosing Price Points:
"You get what you pay for" especially holds true when selecting paint. The quality of this product is reflected in the price. Look for the word "premium" on paint cans. This is a standard term for paint that is formulated for:
Higher percentage of pigment and binding agents Greater durability Fade resistance Superior can to can color matching Fewer coats needed to cover surface Better overall sheen results
Premium Paints usually run approximately $28 to $38 a gallon.
Selecting Brushes and Rollers
The best type of brush to use on standard interior walls is a quality synthetic. Synthetic brushes will grab more paint, keep their shape during paint application and their tapered cuts will make corners and edges easier to maneuver. Smaller angled brushes work well for finishing around windows. Larger angles are good for your trims and moldings.
To test the quality of the brush, pull gently on the bristles. If several bristles pull out, this is a cheap brush that will leave bristles on your wall or in your paint. Keep shopping.
Choose your roller by evaluating the walls surface. Rough surfaces need a longer nap roller (orange colored). Smoother surfaces will need the smaller nap (yellow). Testing for a quality roller is to simply separate the nap, if you see the cardboard core, keep looking. Also, "squish" the roller to see if it returns to its original shape quickly.
Do not use foam rollers. These are best used for stencils and other decorative wall treatments.
Preparing the Room - Step by Step
Step 1 - The best way to paint a room is to start with it being entirely empty. If this is not possible begin by pushing everything, including window treatments, to the center of the room. Cover with drop cloths. Place a large trash can in the middle of the room, lined with plastic, to keep your work space clean and ready for any mishaps.
Step 2 - Turn off electrical power to safely remove all switch plates, fixtures and outlets. If painting the ceiling with a ceiling fixture, drop its canopy allowing it to rest on the chandelier or fan. If applicable, remove door knobs.
Step 3 - Clean and repair wall. For dirt and grease spots, use TSP (trisodium phosphate). This is a non soap cleaner that needs no rinsing for spot cleaning. Dust down the rest of the wall with a dry rag. Next, repair any dents, dings or small holes in the wall.
Once repair is completed, vacuum entire room, including the walls and base boards.
Step 4 - Tape off areas to protect using the painter's tape. This tape is specifically designed to leave no sticky residue on wall. Choose blue tape for latex paint applications. The purple is for the alkyds.
The secret to painter's tape is to pull it off immediately after painting. Removing it while the paint is still wet will allow you to deal with smears and drips before the paint dries. By letting the paint dry with the tape, could cause the paint to peel with the tapes removal.
Painting the Room - Step by Step
Step 1 - Always keep fresh air circulating. All paint has some level of toxicity. The best days to paint are ones with low humidity and open window opportunities. Consider a mask and goggles as well.
Step 2 - Unless you have just returned from the paint store, stir the paint to ensure pigment consistency.
Step 3 - If applicable, paint the ceiling first. Start with edges and then, using an extension bar, finish the rest of the surface. Avoid using a ladder to paint; it's hard to paint evenly.
Step 4 - When loading a brush, dip into the paint up to 1/3 of the brushes bristles. Tap - don't scrape the excess paint off the brush.
Step 5 - To avoid wrist fatigue, hold the brush like a pencil when applying paint to wall. When working around windows and trim, blend the paint out as you move away from the trim. Leaving a crisp edge will be harder to cover up with the roller.
Step 6 - Finish the large surfaces with a roller. Dip the roller into the paint tray and roll until the roller is completely covered, but not dripping. Begin applying on wall using a "W" type pattern. Go over the wall again with long floor to ceiling finishing strokes to even out the application.
Step 7 - Though the temptation is strong to repaint spots when the paint is dry to touch, wait for 24 hours before evaluating touch ups.
Paint is the most affordable way to dramatically change the look of any room. By applying these painting steps to your living space will ensure a result that you will be delighted with.
To find out more about how to paint, when to prime, paint quantity calculations and determining what color is best for the room....visit: http://frugalhomedesign.com/Bestpaint.html
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