There are many ways you can add value to your commercial or residential property. Painting is among the simplest and the most affordable ones. Your property will look better immediately once you have painted the exterior. It will also bring about a positive environment. Well-painted and maintained homes in the neighborhood bring about a different feel, and appreciate value too.
Exterior painting can be simple or complicated. It all depends on how you are doing it. It can be a daunting job however, depending on several factors, such as access, underlying condition of existing finishes, types of masonry used in construction. Then there is compliance to local codes and restrictions to certain types of listed buildings. Local climate conditions and pollution levels will demand specific choices of paint to ensure a long lasting finish. It is essential that you have the right information and the right tools.
Listed below are the procedures we use to ensure a professional finish on every contract. It is worth your time reading through what we actually, so you can get an idea of the thorough approach we take.
Professional Painters are a firm of experienced and highly skilled painters and decorators serving London and the Home Counties. We always aim to ensure that each of our clients is completely satisfied with the finished result.
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There are three steps in the painting process. They are,
We’ll take a look at each of these processes for interior walls, exterior walls, metal surfaces and wooden surfaces.
It is essential that the repairs are thoroughly undertaken before doing any painting. The most common problem with exterior walls, particularly old constructions, is cracks in the wall. Putty or filling compound are not up to the task when painting the exterior surface. Cracks must be filled with a 1:3 sand mixture and cement.
It is also vital to check all external drainage pipes for leakage or rusting.
We usually check the roof as well, looking for cracks close to the edges. Waterproofing makes the paint last longer.
This is generally how we approach all external preparation for exterior paint jobs.
We are very experienced in working on premises with metal exteriors, such as warehouses, distribution centres and factories. Outlined below are the steps we take.
Always ensure that the surface you’re painting on is free of dust, dirt, rust, grease and moisture. Cover the area you are not painting with paper, a masking tape, and cloth.
Painting (For New Wood):
Painting (For Pre-Polished Wood):
THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PAINT APPLICATIONS
Brushing is the oldest method of paint application. It can work in all types of situations and conditions. It’s still the most popular and the best method for painting large complex objects. Brushing allows the paint to penetrate very well. Wastage is also very less.
Roller Application – Hand Rolling:
Hand rolling is usually done for maintenance and decorative painting. Roller coating works well on broad and plain surfaces. The covering material for the roller can be plastic sponge. Roller can be used for floor painting when there is a long handle extension. You can reach inaccessible areas easily.
Roller Application – Machine Rolling:
Machine rolling is used almost exclusively for coating metal containers like tins and also for some drums, kegs and barrels.
The main advantage of machine rolling is minimum losses, high product rates, controlled film weight and thickness.
It works on a jet of fluid paint subjected to a stream of air. The correct balance between paint and air is essential for atomization, which makes the spray painting successful. The system required for spray painting consists essentially of a source of compressed air, oil and water, filter for removing dirt, and a container for the spray gun and paint.
TIPS ON EXTERIOR PAINTING
Painting your property can be a great way to protect your investment, beautify your home, and add value to it, especially if you are thinking of selling it for a profit.
Some companies can charge a small fortune, but a rush job using the wrong paint can leave your home looking worse than ever. Painting your home gives you the chance to make repairs, and do the job carefully to not only improve its appearance, but repair, refurbish and protect against future wear and tear.
The secret to painting is not just in the physical act of painting, but in the amount of preparation work that needs to be done prior to it, and the various ways that you will want to protect your external appliances and fixtures and fittings throughout the property.
Overall, the preparation will take more time than the actual painting. If painting the exterior of a residential property, you should plan one weekend for preparation, and one weekend for painting. We can also provide an out of hours service in case you want minimal disturbance to the day to day running of your business. This, though, is usually only an issue with interior painting contracts, where disturbances to office staff, retail areas etc., might cause a problem.
If you have a very large property, the prep time and painting time may take a little longer. This will also be true if you have an older property that is showing signs of wear and tear.
THE MATERIALS YOU NEED TO PAINT YOUR PROPERTY
Most people focus on the brushes and rollers, but the most important item you will ever buy is the paint. Only then you need to buy the right items for every step of your paint job.
Here is a list of all of the materials that you may need, with an explanation of what each will be used for.
Paint Rollers and Sleeves
Paint Roller Grid
Plastic Sheeting/Drop Cloths
Stir Sticks or Stir Attachment
Caulk and a Caulking Gun
Scrapers and Blades
Dust Brush/Sweeping Brush and Pan
Paint Can Opener and plastic spout
Roller Spinner for easy clean ups
You will need two ladders, one extension ladder if you are painting the exterior, and at the very least, a step ladder for painting the interior. You may also need a six foot ladder. This is more than a ‘reach’ issue, it is also a safety issue. Never try to replace a ladder with a table or a chair or other piece of furniture which moves easily.
For your standard step ladder, you might like to get one that is equipped with a plastic tool and paint shelf/tray. It will be ideal for placing all of your essentials on before you climb up the ladder and stop you from dropping things or forgetting them and then having to go up and down a lot for various items. The more you go up and down, the more risk of slips, trips and falls. It will also mean a lot of wear and tear on your knees and back.
These are special trays designed for paint rollers, to help coat them with paint, but without the paint then dripping and splattering everywhere. The washboard-type ridges on the tray will help prevent spills and spots.
Paint trays are reasonably cheap, and you should have several, especially if you will not be the only one painting, and if you plan on using more than one color.
You can also buy pan liners that pop into the tray so that the tray can be used again. But the pans themselves are so cheap and can be recycled, that you will probably just want to buy several pans instead, and throw them away when you are finished with them. A sturdy plastic tray can always be washed out and stored for future use.
Your bushes will be used for edging the walls, windows, ceilings and anywhere else the roller can’t get or where you need a precision tool to do the job.
Your brush choice will be one of the most important choices that you make. Do not try to be too tight with your budget with regard to your brushes.
You can save some money by getting a pack of good natural brushes in varying sizes. Look for ones with a chisel tip (they should not look too flared at the ends. Good brushes can cost anywhere from £5 to £15 each, and you need at least three different sizes to cope with your tight spots in the house.
Paint Rollers and Sleeves
Most of the painting is done with a roller. The roller consists of two parts. The actual metal or plastic roller is the first part, with a round barrel and handle. The sleeves or roller covers go on the barrel of the roller.
The roller is then rolled down into the paint you put in the paint tray. You will roll off the excess paint on the tray and then apply the paint onto the walls.
The roller handle should come with grooves for you to screw in an extension pole so that you can reach the ceiling and out of the way places.
Roller sleeves are made of different materials, ranging from inexpensive foam to more expensive sheepskin. Sheepskin will be the most durable and easy to work with and can work well on a variety of surfaces, including rugged exteriors. Avoid really cheap ones as they can leave debris behind and not give a good finish.
Professional painters use paint sprayers, but they tend to be expensive and require a certain amount of skill in order to be able to get the paint evenly on the walls. If you are planning to paint the outside of your house, and especially if the outside is textured with stucco, a sprayer can be perfect for the job.
Paint roller grid (paint screen)
A paint roller grid can be used with a 5 gallon paint bucket so you do not need to use a tray. It is ideal for painting more quickly by dipping the roller into the bucket, rolling off the excess on the metal screen, and then applying the roller to the wall. Note that you will have to pour off about half the paint in the bucket to stir it all well and then put the screen in for best results.
You will need a large number or rolls of masking tape for your preparation worn around windows, doors and the woodwork.
Masking tape for painting is usually low-stick so that you can get it off easily once you are done. Using painting masking tape in a high-contrast color will make the tape easy to see and also easy to peel. The tape should be about two inches wide so you can get in close with the rollers and then finish things off with your correctly sized brush.
Plastic Sheeting/Drop Cloths
Plastic sheeting is used as drop cloths to cover the floor and furnishings that can’t be moved out of the room, carpets and more. Plastic sheeting is cheaper than cloth and no paint is likely to seep through.
Paint buckets in small and medium can help you pour out some of the paint from the tin and then stir both it and the paint remaining in the bucket well. This will help you mix the paint well and avoid spills and splashes.
You may want to mix and stir several times to be certain the paint is mixed well, especially if it is a dark color or you have left the paint sitting unused for a few days since you had it mixed in the store.
A smaller bucket is ideal for brush work, especially when you are going up and down the ladder. Choose one that will fit nicely on the little shelf at the top of the ladder if you have bought one equipped with this feature, and don’t fill it too full, to avoid spills and fatigue in holding it while you work.
These are simple wooden sticks that are used in order to stir the paint in the can. Paint must be stirred up from the bottom, and usually, when you buy paint, the store will give you a supply of stir sticks for free.
Stir attachment for your power drill
You can buy a stir attachment for your power drill to save time. Again, decide what you can afford and how much use you will get out of it. Still use the stir sticks to stir the paint up from the bottom and loosen any sediment that might have formed, then pour out some into a paint bucket. Use the stir attachment to stir both. Do not lift up out of the tin or bucket to avoid spatter and to prevent air bubbles.
You will need 120 and 220 grit sandpaper, coarse and fine. Sandpaper is used to smooth any rough spots on the surface that you will be painting. You will also use it and sometimes more coarse items like steel wool to help smooth down rough surfaces and any patches or caulk you might have to apply to patch up holes.
Caulk and a Caulking Gun
Caulking will be used to seal some areas, such as where joints meet, corner boards, and window frames and door frames. Once the caulking is dry, you can paint right over it. It can also be good for filling in deep holes in the wall left by picture hangers and rawl plugs.
This is used to fill holes left in the wall from nails and to even out and smooth rough surfaces or chips in the plaster. You definitely want to fill these holes before you start to paint. You might also need some if you are painting a wall that had been papered previously, to smooth it out. This can be time consuming, but give your house a fresh modern look and painting is a far easier do it yourself job than papering.
This is used for wooden pieces, such as baseboards and door frames, to fill in dents and holes that occur over time. If you are getting ready to sell your house, it will pay to spend time checking these sorts of areas and fix any problems long before the surveyor ever comes and lowers his evaluation of your property based on little tell-tale signs that the house has not been maintained well.
Joint compound is usually used to cover the point where two pieces of drywall meet. But it can also be used in preparation work to fill any dents in the drywall, or even in wooden pieces in the same way that wood dough would work. The consistency will be different, with the dough, as the name suggests, able to be molded into different shapes instead of just used as patch or filler.
Joint tape is used with Joint Compound. The tape is applied first, and then the compound is applied over it. If you need to repair your dry wall at the edges, get the tape.
Mesh can be purchased in ready-made patches of different sizes that can be cut up or used as is to repair larger holes that might not hold compound that easily or holes that go straight through to the other side of a wall. Apply compound, insert the mesh and then apply more compound until the hole is filled in. Then you will need to let it dry well and use sandpaper to smooth it all over into a nice even surface ready to paint.
In most cases, you can’t paint over a stain, since it will more than likely show through the new paint. Instead, use oil-based or alcohol-based stain sealer on the stain first to seal it, and then it will be ready to paint over without the organic matter eventually working its way through the paint.
Paint thinner is used to thin paint in order to help it go on more easily, especially on walls with some texture, or for easier clean up. Take a small bucket from your supply and pour some paint thinner into it. Soak your brushes overnight to get all of the paint out of them and keep them supply and ready to use again.
Always use paint thinner in a ventilated area and keep out of reach of children and pets.
Paint thinner is not usually needed with modern paints, since they are latex-based, but if you have any older paint in the house you are trying to use up on various projects it can make it easier to work with.
Paint strainers are used to keep debris and lumps out of your paint. When you add paint to a paint pan, you should pour it into the pan through a strainer. If you are pouring paint from the pan back to the can, again, use a strainer.
Scrapers and Blades
Scrapers and blades for the scraper are used primarily for exterior prep work, because all of the old paint must be removed from the exterior before adding fresh paint if you want the best results.
Overall, scraping is the biggest job for exterior prep work, so buy extra scrapers and get other people involved if possible. These are also handy items to use if you need to patch a hole in a wall or ceiling.
Use a putty knife to smooth any putty or compounds that you use during the prep work. They are good for finer work than the scrapers.
If you have old towels and tee-shirts in the house, these can be a great starting point for dusting and cleaning rags to use when you preparing to paint, and for clean up once you start.
If you do not have any old rags around, buy several packages of cheap cloth towels, J-cloths and other absorbent types of cloth good for wiping down walls and wiping up messes.
These are cloth and can be washed, but you probably won’t want to bother putting them in the laundry. You will most likely throw them away when you are done with them, so make sure that you don’t buy expensive ones.
You will use a water hose for exterior preparation and clean up work. You can also use it whether painting inside or out. You don’t want all those messy paint supplies splattering up your kitchen sink or tub.
If you are painting an apartment, you won’t have this luxury, in which case, try to confine your clean ups to one location in the house, preferably the tub or shower (not the kitchen sink, where you prepare food and wash dishes).
If you have a shower hose in your shower or tub, so much the better. It will help you wash out paint trays and buckets and the tub or shower area thoroughly when you are done with your great paint job.
Dust Brush/Sweeping Brush and Pan
You need a good stiff brush to get the dust and dirt out of corners and off of baseboards. A small speck of dust can literally ruin all of your hard work so make sure the baseboards are well swept.
You will need to use the claw of a hammer to remove nails from the wall. Even if you plan to hang your pictures right back where they were when you are finished, you still need to remove those nails before you paint, otherwise you will be in danger of a lot of unsightly drips from the roller and will not be able to roll it smoothly if you are trying to work around nails, hangers and so on.
Paint Can Opener, Pliers, and Splatter Cloths/Paper Towels
Paint cans are not easy to open. There are special openers that can help you get the lids off easily without spilling or hurting your hand. The large multi gallon tubs of paint will sometimes come with a pull tab. In other cases you might have to pry the lip of the lid upwards. Pliers will be handy for opening these kinds of tops. Have a splatter cloth at the ready, or some paper towels, for opening and closing the cans.
Flat head Screwdriver
Some people will pry open the tin with a flat head screwdriver. You can also tap a couple of holes into the rim of the paint tin on the opposite side of the handle. Use the handle to pour the paint out. Then when you turn the can upright again, any paint on the rim will drip back inside the tin instead of sit there or drip down the sides.
Paint can spout
This is a little plastic clip on item that looks a bit like a duck’s beak. It will also hel you pour out the paint without splattering it everywhere.
You will also need a utility knife handy, in case you need to cut anything, such as joint tape or masking tape.
Screw drivers are used to remove light switch covers and outlet covers prior to painting. All of these will need to be removed during your prep work. Check your covers to see which type of screwdriver you need. A flat head screwdriver is needed for screws that have just one slit in them, while a Philips head screwdriver is needed for screws that have crossed slits.
Be sure to keep track of which light switch covers go where, and do not lose the screws. Also be sure to tape over the lighting fixture lightly in order to be sure it does not get spattered with paint as you use the roller above and below, or the brush while you paint between the door frame and the fixture.
These are not required, but they will make it easier to clean yourself up when you are finished. If you have tender skin, gloves will also prevent blisters from the paint roller and allergic reactions to the paint.
Goggles are an essential piece of safety equipment to help keep paint, paint thinner, and dust out of your eyes as you work.
This is not required, but it will keep the paint out of your hair. Don’t assume that you can be careful enough to keep the paint off of you. There is nothing sillier than heading back to work after a paint job with all sorts of new streaks in your hair.
This should be used whenever you are doing a job that will stir up a lot of dust, dirt, old paint and so on. A mask will help you avoid breathing it all in.
This is definitely needed if you are painting a room that does not have proper ventilation, such as one with no windows, or you are using particular kinds of paint that give off a lot of fumes. You will also want to consider using one if you have asthma, other respiratory conditions, or you are health conscious and do not want to damage your lungs in any way.
The respirator will filter the air that you breathe so you do not inhale paint fumes.
A roller spinner can help you clean rollers and brushes quickly and easily. Again, check your budget and the size of your paint job to see if it is worth the expense.
CHOOSING YOUR PAINT
There are various types of paint, in a rainbow of color and appearances, such as matte, gloss, and semi-gloss. You might also need primer, especially if you are moving into a new home.
There are different brands, different types of paint, and of course different colours. Some people take weeks or even months choosing the colours that they want to use. This is only natural, since the correct paint choice can make all the difference between a room you will love to walk into, and one that you dread entering. Or the difference between a room you have to paint only once every few years, compared to every year. Your paint brand can also make all the difference between pleasure and torture when it comes to using it, clean ups, and final result. Paint qualities can vary significantly, so working out your budget and then buying the best paint you can afford within that budget will be key.
Fortunately, there are a large number of resources online that can help you choose your paint, including reading reviews. It is not our job to endorse any one particular brand of paint, but the more famous the brand, the more expensive the paint, particularly if they offer designer or theme colors (such as Disney or Laura Ashley). The paint may not necessarily be easy to work with, though, so look at what professional painters have to say about the brands you are thinking of buying. Some paint is a pleasure to work with and glides on easily. Others are torture and don’t give the best results for all your efforts, so comparison shop within your budget and read the reviews. Your brand of paint will naturally be the most important part of your painting process so get the best value you can for your money.
Let’s start with choosing the color, since that will be the biggest decision that you face. If you are painting the interior, you obviously want to use a color that matches or compliments your furnishings, unless you haven’t purchased furnishings yet, in which case you can choose any colors you want. But ideally, you will stick with a main color that complements your furnishings, and a trim color that complements the main color.
A new trend is to use three colors, with one wall painted a darker contrasting colour, the other three walls painted a lighter colour, and then the trim painted yet another colour. While this may look nice, if you are on a budget, the cost and also the clean up will make this an expensive option.
Couples should obviously try to agree on what colour they want in which room, but again, all you can do is try to agree based on your personal tastes.
Before you both get completely carried away by swatches, you should remember that paint dries darker than it looks in the can or on the paper. Darker colours will make a room or house look smaller, and light colours will make homes or rooms appear to be larger than they are. Darker paint will highlight accents better than lighter paint, but it can also be harder to work with because every little mistake will show.
Then there are warm colours and cool colours. Even white comes in a variety of shades with a hint of colour that can affect the atmosphere of the whole house.
White is the easiest colour to use and agree upon without anyone getting offended or it clashing with the furnishings, but it can be a bit too plain for some people. It varies from eggshell, with a hint of yellow, to whites with a hint of blue, green, even purple.
White makes everything look fresh, clean and new, as well as airy and spacious. It also works well with any other colour so long as you take the underlying colour of the white into account.
The paint stores have made it very easy to choose colour schemes with all their little sample cards from each of the manufacturers. Ideally, you should choose all of the colours that you will use that are on the same sample card, as these are complementary colours to each other and the paint manufacturer is therefore putting them together for a reason.
For the best results, when you are at the store, ask the salesman to mix the paint of the colour you have chosen, and then paint a little on the back of the sample card and let it dry before you leave. Then go home with that dab of paint on the back of the sample card to hold it up to the wall or your furniture to see how it will look.
When choosing exterior colours, pay attention to the surroundings and your roof. Your roof colour can’t be changed without getting a new (expensive) roof. The paint you choose should look in keeping with your roof colour.
But you will also need to a bit further than that, unfortunately. You will want to choose a colour that is in keeping with what is complementary to the rest of the houses in your area. In some parts of the world, in fact, people are only allowed to paint their houses certain colours in order to be sure they blend in and do not stand out too garishly. Bright pastels may not fit in well in a neighbourhood that is full of darker coloured homes or brick homes. Dark red or green may not suit a very urban setting.
Once you’ve chosen your colours, you need to choose the type of paint that you will use. Your choices are Flat (or Matte), Glossy, and Semi-Gloss.
Flat paint is obviously not glossy. Flat paint is more dry-looking and is used for several reasons. Flat paint is often used on the exterior and on the ceilings.
Glossy paint is usually far too shiny to be used in most places except possibly the kitchen and bathroom. Glossy paint will show any imperfections that are on the wall or are caused by a poor paint job, including brush stroke marks.
However, glossy paint is easier to clean so it is worth considering for high traffic areas like the bathroom. You can even get special kitchen and bathroom paint that comes with mildew retardant.
You third choice, semi-gloss paint, is ideal for most interiors because it won’t show perfections like glossy paint, but will still be washable. You will also want to use it on doors and base-boards and so on for easy cleaning, and around windows and doors. It tends to glide on more smoothly and easily than flat paint and dries to a warm, glowing sheen.
You will also buy your paint based on whether you are planning to paint the interior or exterior. Be sure you read the labels carefully. Exterior paint will be too heavy for interiors, and interior paint won’t hold up on exteriors.
The brand matters a great deal in terms of not just price, but how easy it is to work with, clean up, smell and so on. This is where reviews of the paint and how easy it is to work with (or not) will come into play.
You will have your own idea about which brand is better, but in the end, so with what the reviews say, recommendations from friends or family, what the professional painters say, and what you can realistically afford within the budget you have set for yourself. If you are just painting to freshen up the place with a view to selling your home, for example, you will probably not wish to spend a lot, but you could end up spending more time than you wish because the paint is difficult to work with. On the other hand, even a dollar or two per gallon can really start to add up to a significant price difference if you are painting the whole house.
When we recently went shopping for our own painting supplies, in some cases we find the price difference to be twelve dollars a gallon. That means if you shop carefully to get the best deals on the best brands of paint, you can save hundreds of dollars on the paint alone.
Before you buy gallons of paint, start small. Buy one pint of paint, and take it home. Paint an area of about two feet by two feet to get the best idea about what that paint is going to look like.
Don’t worry about messing up your wall. You can do this on the wall behind a piece of furniture so that you can easily hide it until you have chosen your paint. Just be sure that you will be able to view it in natural light once it dries.
Once you are sure you have the right color, it will be time to start your calculations regarding how much paint you will need.
You will need to get accurate measurements. Find out how many square feet the room or house that you are painting is. When you get there, read the cans, and they will tell you how many square feet a gallon of paint will cover.
There are also paint calculators online so you do not overbuy and end up with a lot of excess paint that will only dry out.
Some paint brands will give far better coverage than others. Check their website for a calculator and estimate on the side of caution. Then buy at least one extra gallon of each colour. Those ‘guesstimates’ on the back of the can aren’t always right, and you will want a little extra for touch ups later on.
When you do get home with your cans, create a file in your computer or get a piece of paper and write down all the information about each paint and put that information in a safe place. You may need more paint later on and will want to be able to match it as best you can.
Again, choosing the paint colour is the hardest part of shopping for materials. Paint is expensive, and you don’t want to buy gallons of paint, paint your room, and then have to start all over because you hate the colour, or the colour was slightly ‘off.’ Buy a pint and do a test, and keep repeating this process until you have found the perfect colour or colours for your house or room.
So, to recap, your paint choices again are:
Determine your choices based on the size and function of the room (kitchen and bathroom paint) and what part of the room you will be painting (ceiling, baseboards).
For instance, there are some brands of ceiling paint which start out pink and the turn white. This is to help you see easily any mistakes that you might have made or any spots you might have missed. They will cost a bit more than the other brands, but can be worth it if you are not an experienced painter and don’t want to spend a lot of time worrying if you’ve missed a bit or not.
Some paints will work better with primer than others, and some paints just have an easier feel and go on without any trouble at all. Professional painter recommendations can help you find the right job at the right price.
All of this can be a lot to think about if you are a first-time painter, but there are a great number of valuable resources online that can help you take the guesswork out of your decision making to a certain extent. There is also software that can help as well.
Let’s look at a few of these resources now before you make the all-important decisions about which paint, in what colour, how much to buy, and how much you are going to spend.
PAINTING SOFTWARE AND RESOURCES TO HELP YOU PLAN AND ORGANISE YOUR PAINT JOBS
It seems we use our personal computers for everything these days, and painting your house is no exception. There is a variety of software that can help you do a better job when painting your house and making the correct calculations as to how much to buy. Some of the top websites can also give you an idea of what your room or house would actually look like once you applied your chosen colour/s.
Your decisions as to colour will be based on personal taste, furnishings, what the neighbourhood looks like in terms of other exteriors, and what you can realistically afford.
Your decision as to how much paint to buy will not just be according to the dimensions of the room or the surfaces that need to be covered, but also the coverage of the paint.
Online calculators can help you come up with an approximation of how much you will need for each colour. Then add one gallon for spillage and so on.
Calculating the ceilings also needs to be taken into account, as do baseboards and door and window frames.
The type of paint will also affect its level of coverage, with gloss and semi-gloss stretching the furthest and flat paint the least far.
One other major consideration will be whether the walls are new, primed, or have been painted previously. A new house is wonderful, since there will not be a lot to do to maintain it, but speaking from personal experience, the walls will drink paint. I ended up applying 4 coats to my first home, and still barely saw the color on the walls.
You might also need to take this into consideration with respect to how deep the shade is going to look on a newly plastered wall, even if it has been primed.
Friendly and knowledgeable staff at all of the home improvement stores or a specialist paint store can help advise you about all of these matters depending on what brand of paint you are interested in, and what colours you are thinking of using, but you don’t want to get talked into anything too expensive or you are not sure about. The best brands are not always the most expensive. By best we mean a paint that is easy to work with, lends itself to easy clean ups and gives good coverage, even with one coat.
Therefore, it is important to know before you go, or at least have a good idea of what you are looking for any why.
PAINTING SAFETY TIPS
Before you start a house painting project, make sure that you learn and adhere to all safety precautions related to painting, some of which we have already touched upon when we were reviewing all of the items that you will need.
Painting can be more dangerous than you imagine, especially if you are attempting to paint the exterior of your house from several feet off the ground. But by learning the safety rules, and enlisting helpers and ‘spotters’ to aid you as you would, you can paint your house without running into any serious mishaps.
The biggest safety hazard when painting is falling off a ladder. This is a common occurrence if people are not using a sturdy ladder on an uneven surface. This can be avoid by never trying to use furniture, chairs or tables as ladders and making sure that the ladder is on a steady surface, or you have one person spotting you with their foot on the lower rung of the ladder.
You should also make sure that one hand and both feet are firmly planted on the ladder, and that you do not overextend your reach to the sides of the ladder. You should paint facing forward, or at the worst, in easy reach of your natural arm length.
When using extended ladders, make sure that it is leaning against a solid surface, and that the base is on level, secure ground. Also be sure you have a spotter for helping to keep it steady as you go up or down. Get them to hold the ladder, and have another helper available to hand things up to you. You should keep one hand on the ladder at all times. If you are using a paint brush and bucket, this can be difficult, but don’t overfill the small bucket, and loop it over the wrist of the hand that will remain steady on the ladder. Use your other hand to paint with the brush.
If you are using a roller on the exterior, you will not be able to juggle a paint tray and roller at the same time, so have the person hand you up pre-wetted and tamped rollers instead.
Working outdoors or indoors, you will want to be careful of the air you breathe when painting. Many of the products used for priming, painting, and paint thinning and even clean up are toxic.
Keep all products out of the reach of pets and children, and avoid getting those products in your nose, eyes, or mouth. Use goggles, a face mask and a hat with a peak on it, like a baseball cap to also help protect your eyes.
Read the potential health hazards on each product that you use, and make sure that all products are used in well ventilated areas. If you have to paint an interior area with no windows, or have any breathing problems like asthma, use a respirator.
Most products will also be very flammable. You should not be smoking at all, but if you are still persisting in this foolish and extremely expensive bad habit, do not smoke in or near the area that is being painted.
Avoid storing leftover paint in hot areas, such as near a stove or boiler or heating closet/airing cupboard, as some paints are combustible at certain temperature.
For safety reasons, don’t throw away rags that are soaked in paint or paint thinner, but burn them instead safely in a metal container. . Have a water hose nearby in order to put out the fire or in case it gets out of control.
If you cannot burn them, fill an empty paint can with water, place them in that can, and seal it – and throw the can out with the trash.
Lead paint is a problem that still exists in many older homes. Make sure that you remove every bit of old lead paint, and wear gloves and a mask when doing so. You don’t want to breathe any of it in or leave chips behind that a child or pet might eat.
Asbestos is also a serious problem in older buildings. You should have had a complete survey done of the property you purchased, which would have raised concerns like these and called for it to be removed. However, if your home is over 60 years old and you don’t really know what is in the wall or was used to clad the pipes in the house, in doubt, get a surveyor to come check your property.
When painting the exterior of your home, watch out for power lines. Call your electric company and ask them to come out and put a protective cover on power lines that are near your home.
In reference to the inside of your house, remember that after you remove light switch covers and outlet covers, these switches and outlets are dangerous, especially if you touch a light switch with wet hands. Keep children away from them, and be careful not to get paint inside them when you are working. Also be careful when removing or putting back the plates. Also be careful painting around any ceiling fixtures with your roller or a brush. You will want to turn off the power at the mains to avoid any electric shocks while you paint that part of the room and the outlets.
Finally, in addition to the personal protection equipment, gloves, goggles, a mask or respirator and a hat that we have already mentioned, consider the conditions that you are working in with regard to the climate and time of year. Additional PPE may also be required, such as a hard hat, sunscreen, and insect repellent.
When working, always be aware of safety issues and hazards. By being aware of the main ones, you can take precautions to avoid any accidents, such as falling off a ladder, getting paint in your eyes or getting an electric shock. Safety first when you are working around the house.
So, now that we have got you prepared for the big event of painting your house, it is time to start preparing the room or the house itself.
Remember, it is vital that you not attempt to start painting until all the preparatory work has been done and surface you plan to paint is ready. You would be surprised at how many people rush home with their paint and start slapping it on the walls, only to find that they have wasted a great deal of money on paint to have a room or home that looks like it was painted by a two-year old.
While there are similar preparation steps for interior and exterior painting, there are aspects that are special to each type of painting.
PREPARING FOR EXTERIOR PAINTING
Preparing the exterior of your home for paint can be a much bigger job than preparing the interior. The amount of time it takes depends on how large the home is, and of course on how much repair work needs to be done on the outside.
Exterior painting can also be harder because the elements will not really offer the opportunity of having a totally clean and prepared surface for painting unless it is a clear, dry day with no wind. You also need to look up the right time of day and weather conditions in your area in order to determine when will be the best time to paint, depending on where you live in the United States, or other countries. Check the weather for the next ten days before you plan any exterior painting projects in earnest.
The first thing to do is to make any needed repairs. Remove mildew first. Almost all homes will have areas of mildew on the outside. Replace any rotten or decayed wood. Fill big dents and holes in wood with filler, and of course, use joint compound around window and door casings, as well as caulking to seal the exterior of your home from the elements as best you can. Even a small crack in a wooden window frame can lead to big damage later on.
Go over the exterior carefully and make sure that you smooth these areas with a putty knife, plus sand the area after it has dried.
Check for power lines near your home and any electrical sources around your home. These can be a serious safety hazard. If there are power lines attached to your home, call your power company. Tell them that you are about to paint your home, and you would like to have a protective cover placed over the lines for the sake of safety. They should do this free of charge.
Remove shutters and storm doors. These can be painted separately, and removing them will make the entire job much easier. Also remove rain gutters, and any type of moulding that can be removed. Store these items in the garage for the time being. Remove all window screens as well so you do not get paint on them.
Cover porches, steps, and decks with drop cloths. If your home is a mixture of brick and wood, cover the brick work as well.
You should also cover flower beds with drop cloths as best you can, since the chemicals in the paint may kill the plants.
Because wind may be a problem at some point, secure the drop clothes with tape if possible to prevent them from moving out of place, or put a brick on each of the four corners and then one on each edge to keep it in place.
However, keep in mind that while drop cloths can be protective, they can also be dangerous. Do not place your ladder on them, or indeed anything other than a flat surface.
Use a dust brush on all of the nooks and crannies around the outside of the house. You will not be able to remove every speck of dust from the exterior, but you can remove a great deal of it by getting in there with a stiff brush.
You will need to wash the outside of the house as well, and should do so several days prior to other prep work, since the wood will need time to dry. You can wash it with a water hose, or use a sprayer with a solution of bleach and water. Again, make sure that you do this several days in advance of priming and painting, because the wood must be absolutely dry before you start or it will not hold the paint.
Scraping off old paint will be the biggest part of the job if you have a wall with no texture on it. You will want to scrape to even out the surface that you plan to paint, but don’t overdo it. Remember that that old paint is protecting the wood, so the best method is to scrape one side of the house, and then prime it. The primer will protect it until you can get paint back on the surface. So, scrape, prime, scrape, prime, scrape, prime, scrape, prime.
You do not have to scrape all of the old paint off, just the peeling and cracking paint. Work on the shaded side of the house at all times, if possible, moving location as the sun moves, and again, prime as soon as possible after scraping.
Look for nails that are driven all the way into the wall. Make sure that they are not rusted, and if they are, use sandpaper to remove the rust before you prime those areas. Often, after priming an area, you will be able to see imperfections that you could not really see before you primed. Repair those areas, making sure that you prime them again after they are repaired.
You do not have to prime the entire exterior. You only need to prime the areas that are bare of paint because you have had to scrape them. However, if you are moving to a lighter color paint than the existing paint, it either all needs to be scraped off, or it must be primed before applying the lighter colour. Otherwise, the darker colour will bleed through.
Ask your paint dealer to try to match your primer to the colour of the paint that you will be using. In many cases, they can do this, and it won’t cost any extra to have it done. This is especially important if you are repainting the house the same colour, as the primer may actually change the colour of the paint slightly.
Your house is ready to be painted. Conduct another walk around just to be sure that you have made all of the needed repairs, removed what you could remove, that you have scraped and primed all the areas that need attention, and that you have sufficiently covered areas that are subject to paint spatter before starting to paint.
Again, on the exterior, it is just about impossible to create an ideal surface for painting. You are going to be subject to the elements and the texture of the walls. There is going to be dust, pollen and all sorts of other things blowing around. You just need to do the best you can.
If this really bothers you, once you have painted, however, and the paint has dried, you can lightly sand areas that have a lot of noticeable debris to help smooth them out. On a wall with stucco or other rugged surface, your main concern will be good coverage of the whole house, including the nooks and crannies.
HOW TO PAINT THE EXTERIOR
Once you have make repairs, scraped and primed, and are ready to paint, there is one more task you need to take care of before you can paint. This will be taping.
Before you start painting on the exterior of your home, you will need to use masking tape around or on sections that you do not want painted, such as trim work.
Unlike the interior, you only need do a little taping at a time. For example, you might tape on the side that you are currently working on, and wait to tape the other sections when you get to them.
Exterior painting is different in other ways too. When painting an interior, you start with the main colour, and save the trim work for last. This isn’t so when painting an exterior. You start with the trim, and then paint the main portions. Paint window sashes, overhangs, window casings and door casings. Paint any other type of trim work that you have. If you aren’t sure, paint those things that require the least amount of paint (the contrast or trim colour) first.
Next move to the main colour, and paint the flat surfaces of your home. This is done the same way that an interior is painted. You get close to the edges with a brush, and then use a roller on the larger surfaces that must be covered. For each strip that you paint, make sure that you overlap the last wet strip by about one inch.
If your walls are stuccoed, you will need to use a paint sprayer and apply very wet rollers and brushes to get even coverage.
Just as you did when preparing the exterior for paint, paint on the shaded sides of the house.
For some exterior material, you may be able to cover the majority with a roller, but then need to use a brush for fill-ins. A perfect example of this are homes with shingle sidings that overlap each other – a brush may be needed to get paint up in the gap between the shingles.
No matter what you are painting on the exterior, remember that it isn’t good to start painting next to already dry paint. Apply wet paint next to wet paint. For best results, break the painting up into sections, and paint an entire section at one time. Don’t stop for a break until an entire section is finished.
Plan your sections and try to work your way around the house in a logical order. You don’t want to have to lean a ladder up against wet paint.
Ideally, you will move in one direction, clockwise or counterclockwise and paint as you go, always leaning the ladder against portions of the house that have not yet been painted.
Often you will work directly above the ladder, and other times you will work to the side of the ladder. Start at the top of each section, and work your way down, until that section is complete. You may find going up and down the ladder is the hardest part of the job. Take frequent breaks to avoid fatigue, which can easily lead to a loss of concentration, and possible accidents. Never go up and down an exterior ladder by yourself. Always have at least one person nearby to steady the ladder and another to hand up what you need.
Avoid reaching too far down or twisting too much at the waist to reach for the things you are being handed. Also avoid reaching too far over to the left or right to paint, as you can easily overbalance and fall off the ladder.
Check the weather before you ever start an outdoor paint job and recognised that depending on the size of your home, it may take a couple of days to get the entire exterior painted. If a second coat will be needed, you can choose to apply the second coat after each section has dried, or after you have applied the first coat to the entire house.
You may find that you save time by painting a section, painting the next section, then applying the second coat to the first section. You will be able to re-place the ladder quickly in the best places without having to go around the entire house twice.
Work in two clear sections, and allow the first section time to dry while you paint the second section. By the time you finish the second coat on the first section, the second section will be ready for its second coat. Then you start the whole process over again with two more sections.
If you are using a paint sprayer, you will want to work in a similar manner. The temptation might be to blast the whole house as if you had a machine gun, but it is far better to work in small sections to ensure good, even coverage, especially if you are dealing with a textured surface such as stucco.
Remember that you need to paint in the shade when you are working, not only for health reasons, but also to keep the paint from drying too quickly while you are still working on a section. This will prevent brush marks from appearing on a smooth surface, or lumpiness on a more rugged surface.
When the sun moves to a side that you have finished painting, make sure that you stop to take a look at it. You can see problems more easily in sunlight than you can in the shade. Do whatever touch-ups that are needed, and move on.
Work your way methodically around the house in this way rather than trying to do the whole house, unless you are sure that you will only need one coat.
Even if you are only doing one coat, check carefully in order to be sure that all the surfaces have been covered. This is likely to take more than one day. Once you have finished the painting for each session, you will need to do some clean up.
As with interiors, remove masking tape while the paint is still wet and check for imperfections. Inspect everything closely, to ensure that you haven’t spattered paint on surfaces that you didn’t intend to paint.
Sometimes paint drips, so be sure to check surfaces where more than one color was used to ensure that there are no drips of darker paint on lighter paint or vice versa. Fix mistakes or problems as soon as you find them.
At the same time, however, remember that if you let every little imperfection stop your progress on the exterior of your home, you will be trying to get it repainted for weeks or months. An imperfection on the exterior isn’t nearly as noticeable as an imperfection on the interior.
Since it may take more than one day to paint the exterior, depending on the size of your house, you will need to clean up at the end of each painting session. Make sure that you stir the paint again when you start back up with the job. It will settle after several hours, so if you end up taking any meal breaks, start your painting process again with a good stir.
If you need to stop for more than an hour, you will need to put your roller sleeve and brushes in water so they do not dry stiffly, but you will not be able to use them again that day. Therefore, either plan to work uninterrupted, or have at least two sets of everything and alternate between them.
When you are ready to stop at the end of each day of painting, be sure that you soak your brushes in paint thinner for an hour or so while you tidy up the other items and check your work.
If you have any paint left in buckets or trays, pour it back into the can using the strainer so that debris doesn’t get in the can of paint. Be sure to replace the lids on the paint cans tightly to stop the paint from drying out and prevent a skin from forming. Also remember to give the paint a good stir the next day.
Once your brushes have soaked for an hour, rinse them well with water in a bucket, using your fingers to separate the brush strands gently without tugging on the bristles. If you are rinsing your rollers, work your fingers up and down the length of the roller sleeve, especially if it is sheepskin. You may have to change the water a couple of times as the paint continues to come out. Finally, rinse everything individually under the tap or hose until the water runs clear.
Once you have rinsed them, make sure that you blot them well with absorbent towels or paint rags to get out any excess water. Then lay them out to dry on a piece of clean plastic, such as the corner of a plastic drop cloth.
The brushes and rollers will need to be completely dry when you start painting again, though not too stiff either.
At the start of painting the next day, check the rollers and brushes to see if they are dry, or use your second set and save the others for a third day of painting. Stir your paint well, and then pour into buckets and your paint trays once more and get started again.
On your final day of painting, once you have finished the entire house, you will want to paint any trim that you have removed, and allow it to dry well.
When everything is dry, start replacing trim and hardware that you have removed, until it is all replaced. Again, check for errors and anything that needs minor touch-ups.
Dispose of your drop cloths and used brushes and paint pans. Get everything cleaned up, and even consider mowing the grass and weeding the garden to make your home look perfect.
Once you are all done, if the weather is still nice, you can fire up the barbecue, sit on your deck or in your yard, and admire all of your hard work. You and all your helpers have earned a good rest.
HOW TO PAINT UNUSUAL SURFACES
We have discussed interior and exterior walls thus far in this guide, but these days, with all sorts of popular do it yourself programs on the television, a lot of people are learning how to freshen up their house with a little paint used on a variety of materials.
Tile, panelling, old wood, and cabinets can all be given a whole new look with a bit of paint. You can even paint appliances to help make them look brand new again. It is all a question of knowing about the particular surface, how to prepare it properly, and which primer and paint will work best for each job.
Below we will look at painting:
Outdoor items in the garden
Painting over Tile
Start by cleaning the tile thoroughly. Allow the area to dry completely. Apply a block out/under coater to the tile. You may want to lightly sand the tile before applying the under coater to help it grip the tile better. Allow four hours for the under coater to dry, and then apply an acrylic gloss enamel in the colour of your choice.
You can also use a ceramic acrylic, satin enamel, or flat finish paint depending upon the design effect you are aiming for. If needed, apply a second coat. The under coater and the enamel can also be applied using a spray version if you like, but this will be more extensive and you will want to make sure you are working in a well-ventilated area with a mask, goggles and a mask, if not a respirator to protect against strong fumes.
If using a brush, use a chisel tip one with natural bristles and throw it away after use.
Painting over Panelling
To paint over panelling, you will usually want to sand it down to get rid of any unevenness, nicks, dents or scarring, or any natural features that can affect the way the paint shows, such as knot holes in the wood.
Then you will want to use a good primer, such as Kilz. Allow the primer to dry, and then apply paint as usual. For best results, apply two coats and pay particular attention to any natural, uneven spots in the wood.
Painting over Old Wood
Old wood can be painted the same as new wood, with a brush and any paint you choose that is suited to wood and to the appearance you would like to create (such as a glossy finish).
If you are painting old wood, however, it is important to remove all old paint first. Once all paint is removed, prime it with an oil based primer, and paint it with oil based paint. This is due to the fact that older wood was probably originally painted with oil based paint and so water based paint will not perform as well. Again, be sure to pay special attention to any natural features in the wood that might cause the paint to go on unevenly.
You can get a whole new look for your appliances with a bit of special paint. To start, sand the entire surface to roughen it up to be able to hold the paint. Use special epoxy paint to cover the surface. Make sure that you tape portions of the surface that you do not want painted. For best results, use a paint sprayer to apply the epoxy and apply even pressure and long smooth strokes as you spray. You can use a brush, but will want to beware of brush marks and uneven coverage.
Your kitchen and other built in cabinets in your home can get a whole new up to date appearance in a matter of hours with the latest fashionable colours. You can even get a stainless steel look with some of the paints on the market these days.
As with painting any interior, the prep work will be key. Before painting, remove all doors and hardware and save all the items and screws in a safe place. The doors can be painted before you re-hang them. Remove the paint, prime the cabinet doors, and the frames, and then apply two coats of paint, waiting for each coat to dry before applying the next.
Painting concrete is one way to help keep it fresh and new looking and protected from wear and tear and spills in areas like the garage. You can also take an unfinished concrete floor and make it look like tile if you paint it a solid colour and then paint a series of lines in white or a similar colour, using a small brush and a straight rule to mark off ‘tiles’.
You can find special paint for concrete in a variety of attractive colours and explore the different effects they can create on your concrete floor. If you want to transform your basement into a finished one in a hurry, this might be one fast method for doing so.
The concrete will have to be swept, washed well, and allowed to dry thoroughly. You will need to tape up any baseboards or wall edges wish to protect. Start painting in the corner furthest away from the door — do not literally paint yourself into a corner. Allow the paint to dry thoroughly and then decide if you need another coat of paint, or additional paint to add certain artistic features. If the weather is humid when you are painting, you might want to allow at least a couple of days to dry and wait a day or two longer before putting anything heavy on it like furniture. Avoid dragging furniture over the surface. Try to lift and place instead whenever possible.
Painting Outdoor Decking
Outdoor decking can be a thing of beauty or a peeling cracking nightmare depending on what you use on the surface. Any outdoor surfaces will need to be treated with care and proofed against the elements, so never try to use interior paint on your exteriors. Again, there are main different types of stains, varnishes and paint that are suited for this task, but you will need to scrape off any old paint and start with a smooth, sanded surface whenever possible and read the instructions carefully on any product you buy. Avoid painting in direct sunlight or on a very windy day.
Painting Outdoor Items in the Garden
Many people are putting up more ornamental and shading items in their garden now, such as gazebos, pergolas and more. In some cases, they will be standalone items, while in other cases they will be used as the support for growing plants in the garden.
Therefore, you will want to look for green paint whenever possible — no, not the colour, but the ecologically friendly paint that will stand up well to a variety of weather conditions but not harm the environment or any of the plants that might come into contact with the paint or varnish.
Start with a smooth, sanded surface and read all the instructions carefully on how to use the product. Have a variety of sizes of brush ready to hand and lots of drop clothes to protect against drips and stop any splatters from harming your lawn or the soil or plants.
As you can see, almost any material can be painted upon to give it a fresh new look. It is just a question of using the right products, and preparing the surface properly before starting. Now, when you decide to repaint your kitchen, you don’t have to worry about matching the paint to your appliances and cabinets. You can actually match the appliances and cabinets to your paint.
FINAL TIPS FOR PAINTING YOUR HOUSE
We want to cover some of the most important things to remind yourself of when it comes to paint your home, so that you do not get dazzled or overwhelmed by the task.
Always paint from the top to the bottom – not the bottom to the top, or the middle to the bottom then the top to the middle. Bottom to top only.
Use semi-gloss, or gloss for trim and woodwork. Use satin paint on walls. You can also use flat paint if you don’t want a sheen on the walls.
Don’t do anything in a hurry or incompletely. Take the time to thoroughly prep the area before you paint and paint methodically.
Make sure that all surfaces are dry before painting, including surfaces that have had a coat painted, and areas where you have applied compounds.
To prevent tracking paint from drop cloths throughout the house, place new papers on top of the drop clothes. The paint that hits the newspaper will dry very fast. If the drop cloths are plastic, the paint will stay wet.
Never paint on rainy or very humid days. The paint will not dry well nor adhere well to the walls.
Paint along wet edges. Paint a strip, and then paint the next strip beside it, with the edge of that strip overlapping the last strip. Don’t paint over dry edges, or you will have brush marks.
Remember that you get what you pay for. Don’t purchase very cheap brushes or roller covers. Buy quality products. Cheap products leave fuzz and streaks behind.
If you are painting with latex paint, stir your brush in water before you start painting. If you are painting with oil based paint, stir your brush in mineral spirits. This will help make the paint easier to use and assist with quick clean ups.
For paint jobs that are not finished, you can avoid cleaning your brush each day by wrapping it in plastic and putting it in the freezer. Then you can thaw it out for about 30 minutes the next day and it is ready to use.
There is a right order and wrong order for painting interiors: ceiling, walls, trim, cabinets, and then doors. Start with the ceiling, end with the doors.
When you scrape paint, a good way to tell if the paint actually needs to be scraped before repainting is to apply a long piece of duct tape to it (about six inches to a foot) and jerk the tape off. If paint comes off with it, scrape the area. Sand the area after scraping.
Use low-stick masking tape, instead of ‘regular’ masking tape, to help peel it off quickly. This is sometimes called blue tape and is often blue, though it comes in other colors as well.
Don’t paint directly out of the can. Pour the paint into a separate container, but just pour what you know you are going to use in a short period of time or else it will start to develop a hardened skin on it. Replace the lid on the paint can. If you don’t replace that lid, the paint in the can will become thick and unusable.
Never put your brush directly in the can. If you do, you are also placing debris in the can.
When returning paint to the paint can, pour the paint through a strainer. Don’t pour it directly back into the can or else you will be placing debris back into it.
Opening paint container can be very frustrating if you are using a screwdriver and trying to keep the place neat. Get a paint can opener. Look for one with a magnetic back, so you can stick it directly on the can and it won’t get lost.
Again, pour the paint that you will use out of the can, and replace the lid tightly.
If you don’t or can’t wear gloves (many people are allergic to latex), coat your hands with lotion before starting. If you get paint on your hands, it will be much easier to wash off.
When you stir paint, stir all the way to the bottom of the can to get the paint that has settled there mixed back in. Unstirred paint will be thin on top, and thick on bottom. Stir both the can and the bucket you have poured the can into, put it back into the can, decant more, then stir again a couple of times, to get an even consistency.
If you want to save your paint pan, but save time on cleanup, use paint pan liners. If you want to save money, however, use tin foil to line the pan, pressing it down firmly until it molds to the pan. When you are finished painting, just toss away the foil.
For touch up jobs, filter old stored paint through a strainer before using. Do this even if the can has never been opened as it will have settled and clumped. Stir well, and mix in both the can and bucket several times until you get an even consistency.
When painting outdoors, you can prevent insects from flying into your wet paint by adding insect repellent to the paint before you apply it, or you can spray it on yourself and the tray. This should deter even the smallest of pesky critters.