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DIY Painting Tips

DIY Painting

Think you're not-so-great with home improvement but would sure like to be? Painting is a good place to get started on your own journey toward home-grown handiness. Despite what you may think, painting professionals don't possess special magic that enables them to do what they do so well. What they do have is experience using a wealth of tips and tricks to help get everything covered just right. Follow a few simple rules and you'll be painting like a pro (and proud of yourself) in no time!

Pick a dry day

Pick a work day with as little humidity and/or precipitation as possible to get started. Excess moisture in the air can cause paint to take much longer to dry.

Save floors and furniture

No matter how steady your hand is, it is always best to protect your floors and furniture with drop cloths. Even the professionals play it safe, so you should too!

Wall plate preservation

One big mistake people make is thinking that they will be able to gracefully paint around switch plates without getting paint on them. Always remove them before you get started! All it takes it a screwdriver, and we guarantee things will look a lot more professional when you're done. Once your wall plates are removed, tape over outlets and switches to keep them paint-free as well.

Prep the walls

Before you get started, use a long-handled duster, towel, etc. to clear accumulated dust from your walls so paint and primer stick and you don't add unwanted "texture" to your finish. Next, break out the sandpaper or electric sander and smooth out any bumps or other imperfections to make your surface as even as possible. If you have cracked, peeling, or flaking paint anywhere, gently remove it with a scraper.

Use painter's tape

To obtain clean and sharp paint lines where you want them, and to avoid paint where you don't, use painter's tape to cover surfaces. Wait until paint is dry to the touch before you try to remove it. Use a razor to score the paint and assist clean removal if a paint edge begins to peel.

Prime time

Applying a good-quality primer will help to even out the wall surface, hide imperfections, and help your paint adhere to the walls better. If you've just installed new drywall, choose a water-based primer. If you need to cover-up smoke or water damage, or other unsightly stains, purchase a high-quality oil-based version. Oil based primers are also the best choice if you need to cover over any paneling.

Avoid the runs

To avoid runny messes, drips, and short-lived brushes, dip bristles only a quarter to a half an inch into your paint, then wipe one edge along the inside edge of the can. This will help to keep you from using too much paint, which will cause it to drip down walls unattractively.

Best brush bets

All brushes are not created equal, and it's worth spending more on quality ones if you want a great finished product. When oil is your "medium" choose animal hair bristles. Water-based, latex, or acrylic paints will dry out animal hair brushes, so choose synthetic ones when dealing with these paints. No matter what brushes you are dealing with, make sure that they have evenly-spaced bristles. Brushes with "split ends" provide fast and even coverage with fewer strokes, especially when working with latex paints.

Keep brushes clean

Whenever you take a break, be sure to clean brushes and rollers well and allow them to dry. This can take some time as some can hold in a great deal of paint. To make things easier, you may want to use a new brush when you start up again. It is also advisable to clean your brushes after an hour or so of continuous painting.

Foam on the range

For details like molding and window casings, foam brushes can make the work much easier. Because they are tough to clean and not built to last, they are best if used for a single task and then tossed. Fortunately, foam brushes are cheap and plentiful, so stock up on a variety of sizes.

Roll it

When you have large swathes of wall to cover, a roller is your best bet for fast and even coverage. If you are applying latex paint, a foam roller can help give you an even-textured finish similar to that you'd get by using a paint sprayer. If you are worried about good coverage in corners, select a wheel-shaped roller designed for the purpose. High or hard-to-reach areas can be reached using a roller mounted on a long handle. For best results, use a new roller for each session.

May I cut in?

It is best to start out by "cutting in" using a brush to paint corners, ceiling edges, and trim. Let this dry and then tackle large surface areas using a roller.

Paint from dry to wet

To minimize the appearance of roller marks and brush strokes, maintain a wet edge and be sure to paint from dry to wet. You will get a much more seamless and professional look this way.

Use long strokes

Coverage will be most even when you use long and continuous strokes. Dabbing or using short side to side strokes can give your paint job a hesitating and blotchy appearance.

Layer it

While some paints claim coverage in a single go, you are likely to get a better result by adding at least a second coat. Some darker colors may look best after three applications. Always make sure to let each coat dry entirely before beginning another.

Posted by: Ahmed Muztaba
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