The Real Deal on Home Painting Projects

If you are going to paint your home and have decided to do it yourself take a little extra time and spend a bit more money to do it right. Colors are subjective, but the quality of materials and painting tools are not. For this example we are going to go through the process of painting the interior of a typical home. In just about every paint job I did I insisted that customers used an oil based paint on woodwork and doors. Not only does oil paint make wood look and feel better it gives you a superior durable and washable finish that water based latex paint can’t. There is nothing worse than seeing a newly painted door or frame ruined by fingerprints and other marks.

First, and foremost don’t buy cheap paint. I prefer using Sherwin Williams Duration or Superpaint brands. They will run around $40 a gallon and $35 a gallon respectively. Expect to get coverage of about 350 square feet per gallon and two coats are always necessary. Another advantage of using higher grade paint is that touch-up down the road will blend perfectly.

Don’t buy an expensive brush for painting the walls. Look to spend around $8 to $10 dollars on a 2 and a half inch ANGLED sash brush. I stress buying an angled sash brush because that is how professionals paint straight lines and properly cut in a room. When cutting in ceilings do not use tape. People are afraid that they cannot paint a straight line. Painting is not like throwing a 30 yard post pattern in the NFL. You do not have to be an elite athlete to be a good painter have you seen the physiques of most professional painters? Painting is all about patience don’t try to rush through the cutting in phase since a good paint job is all about straight lines period. A little trick is when you are cutting in focus your eyes just slightly ahead of the brush. Your hand will magically follow your sight line. Try it it works.

If you have large holes or cracks in a wall purchase a small can of vinyl repair paste. The reason I prefer it over regular wall Spackle is that after it dries it is much harder and sands easily. You can even use it for minor wood repair in a pinch.

When it comes to rolling out the walls never ever use a cheap foam roller. Foam rollers never evenly absorb the paint out of the pan and will actually add time to you project and cause more mess. Buy yourself a synthetic professional 3/8 nap roller head for about $6 to $8. Not only will the paint be applied in a smoother fashion you will experience less work and mess.

Now here comes the fun part doors and wood work. This is where most people opt to use latex which is a huge mistake. Your home is your biggest investment don’t cut corners on it’s aesthetics. You want the finish on your woodwork to stand out from the walls especially if you have crown moulding or waynes coating. Don’t be fooled by water based products that claim to give the look and finish of oil. It’s just good marketing preying on people’s fears of painting with oil. Don’t believe the hype as those samples they show you have 3 or 4 coats that have been professionally sprayed in a dust free environment. You will not get the same results I can promise you that. You have a choice of semi-gloss or gloss finish. I prefer gloss because to me it gives you a bit more durability and shine. Either one will be fine for your project. Now let’s get started.

The first thing you need to do is clean your baseboards, doors, and wood work with a damp rag. Yes, your baseboards are that dirty. Now comes the time consuming process of taping off. This is a step that is skipped by most do it your self people and let me tell you it shows. Like I mentioned before a paint job is only as good as the straightness off it’s lines don’t cheat yourself here. Buy low stick professional painters tape and allow the walls to properly dry before you apply. Take your time as this process cannot be rushed through, but will give professional looking results. If you have carpet use 2 inch regular painters tape and tuck it in real good where the carpet meets the baseboard. Remove door hardware it takes two seconds and failure to do so will only slow you down in the long run. Open the windows and break out any fans as painting with oil based paint comes with paint fumes.

Our next step is mixing the oil paint. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. Obviously you will need to buy some paint thinner, but the most important product you will need is Penetrol $12. Take a plastic quart cup that you will be painting out of and fill it up about three quarters with paint. Now mix in a couple of tablespoons of Penetrol and the slightest amount of thinner. Mix it up with a stick real good and you are ready to go. Why Penetrol? This product is the key to a fantastic looking job. Penetrol will not only smooth out the finish it will extend the time (usually about 20 minutes) before the paint starts to get sticky. This will allow you to apply a glass like finish and eliminate brush marks. We are going to apply two coats here as well so don’t glob on the paint. When you are painting the door frames get used to the paint and watch your drips. After about ten minutes or so you will get used to how the paint flows and how damn good your finish looks. Allow to dry overnight before apply second coat. Tip: after you apply the second coat remove the tape and don’t allow to dry first. You will get a little paint on your hands from the tape, but deal with it. By removing the tape now you will ensure crisp lines. In some case when you allow the second coat to dry you will pull a bit of the oil paint off. It is not common, but in my opinion why take the chance.

When it comes to painting your doors your first step will depend on whether they are flat or raised panel. If you have raised panel have both you brush and roller at the ready. Again you must buy the proper roller. I prefer a synthetic high grade 4 inch head. Ask you sales professional to recommend the best one. Foam rollers are only good for stain and a cheap roller heads can leave little hairs in the finish. For the raised panel your first step is to paint the indentations around the panels and then roll it out. I can’t stress enough for you to paint light coats. When you are done give it a good visual once over. Drips can take a couple of minutes to develop. Before you begin your second coat give the door a quick sanding with a very light sandpaper. I usually use a fine sanding sponge.

RANDOM PAINTING TIPS

Take the time to paint your closets. Yes, it’s a pain to remove everything and paint, but not only will you get a chance to throw out some junk potential buyers down the road will appreciate that the closets are painted.

Consider purchasing a hand held paint caddy and use it instead of a regular plastic quart. They are easier to maneuver with and usually come with a strap to attach to your hand.

Purchase a mini scaffold for about $45. Going up and down a ladder is tiresome and limits your reach. A mini scaffold allows you to walk down the wall a bit and they easily fold up for quick storage. You will be amazed how many times you will break it out for various home projects.

Purchase paint pan liners 5 for about $5. Once your done simply throw the liner out saving your paint pan and also giving you the opportunity to change paint colors without having to clean and dry the pan.

Have plenty of newspaper around.

After you clean your brushes wrap them in a plastic bag

Treat yourself to a good lunch and forget the diet. It is amazing what some pizza or a good burger will do for the afternoon painting push.

Store your leftover paint in plastic Rubbermaid beverage jugs or other plastic seal-able containers. Paint left in the can always gets funny after time. Either the can isn’t properly sealed of it gets exposed to extreme heat or cold. I like to store my paint inside where the temperature is controlled.

Take your time there is no rush. There is nothing wrong with having your project take a couple of weeks.

Don’t ask friends to help you paint. Basically, you are asking them to give up their day off to save you money. You don’t want to be first on the list when your painting buddy hits you up to help him move do you?

Use the painting project as an excuse to give your home a thorough spring cleaning and get rid of any clutter.

Painting ceiling does not require premium paint. You can use flat $15 to $20 ceiling paint. I use Sherwin Williams PRO-MAR 200. Painting ceiling requires a lot of physical work and plenty of drop cloths. If you are not up for the challenge or have very high ceilings contacted a professional will prove to be a smart move.

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