A primer on interior painting – Metro US

A primer on interior painting

You wanted a den. Your spouse wanted a utility room. When you sat down with the builder to pick room colours, it was agreed a neutral colour might suit both purposes, so you went with their recommendation. Now, it’s a few months later and a new decision has to be made; should the nursery be pink or blue?

Life has a way of just happening no matter what we plan. But it doesn’t have to be so complicated when you are about to re-paint the room you fretted over before you moved in.

Interior painting is about preparation. The more you prepare, the smoother the job will go. The first thing to do is to move all the furniture away from the walls. This will give you easy access to all surfaces. If the room is being totally changed, such as a transition from a den to a nursery, take the furniture out of the room. Not only does this make the walls easier to paint, it eliminates having to cover furniture with a drop cloth.

The walls should be cleaned and, if necessary, patched. A little mild soap and water will remove any oils or dirt from the walls easily. Remember that gouge made when the desk was brought in? Patch that with some drywall repair compound, sand and let thoroughly dry. Make sure any nail holes are filled and the caulking around any windows is in good condition.

Next, you should calculate the amount of surface that you are painting. A good quality paint will cover about 250 to 350 square feet per gallon depending on the roughness of the surface.

Before actually starting to paint, make sure you know what type of paint is currently on the wall. You can find out from your builder and then paint accordingly. There are essentially two types of interior paint. Latex, which is water-based paint, and Alkyd, which is oil-based paint. The rule of thumb is to never put water over oil. You can, however, put oil over water.

You might want to put on a compatible interior primer coat to help if you are painting from one colour extreme to the other. A good primer coat will save you money when you don’t have to put on a second or third coat.

The tools you use will enhance your painting experience if you choose the right kind. Cheap brushes, rollers, ladders and drop cloths only serve to slow down the process, while a rickety ladder actually puts you in danger while you work. Ask your local dealer to recommend equipment that will do the job you have in mind and still be usable for other projects.

Masking tape will be your best friend. Tape all the spots you don’t want painted. This may include window and floor trim, ceilings, walls or floors. Remove light switch and electrical outlet covers instead of taping them.

Paint from the top down, starting at the largest surfaces first. This will give the job some flow. When painting around the edges, doing the trim work is a good place to start. This will save you the aggravation of having to clean up paint runovers onto surfaces you didn’t want touched.

Once the project is done, make sure you clean all your tools thoroughly. Latex paint cleans up quickly in warm water, but you still have to make sure that your brushes are thoroughly cleaned if you ever want to use them again.

The longer you live in your new home, the more changes you will make to reflect your changing life. Painting your home is just one of the things you have to do, and doing it right will make it much easier.

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