Painting a room right the first time

Painting a room right the first time

You've thought about painting the spare bedroom or bathroom for some time, but so many paint and equipment choices can be daunting. Here's what you need to know about getting it off your list, and getting it right the first time.

A pound of preparation

Though not the most exciting part of the process, surface preparation is key to a quality result.

  1. Examine the walls for bumps, cracks and holes.
  2. Knock off any protrusions with a five-in-one tool.
  3. Fill cracks and holes with quality interior Spackle. To apply the Spackle, use a flat-bladed hand trowel and wipe off any excess with the tool edge.
  4. Allow the product to dry for about one hour and repeat if necessary.
  5. Using 125-grit sandpaper attached to a sanding block with a swivel head, gently sand all the surfaces you plan to paint. Sanding improves paint adhesion.

The big brush off

Should you use a natural or a synthetic bristle brush? Paint type makes all the difference. Use natural bristles only for alkyd (oil-based) paint, and if you prefer oil paint you should consider hiring a professional painter. Growing environmental concerns about volatile organic compounds (VOCs), coupled with advances in the quality of latex (water-based) means the average homeowner will be using latex, so you'll want a synthetic brush.

Invest in a quality brush. For a project like a bedroom, a 2.5-inch brush is the recommended choice. The purpose of the brush is to cut-in, which is the practice of putting paint on a surface with a brush instead of a roller to avoid touching other surfaces, like the ceiling or baseboards. Buy a sculpted brush because the bristle ends are angled to make cutting in easier.

To tape or not to tape?

You want to tape, or "mask" areas where you don't want paint (like around windows, doors and baseboards) by applying painter's masking tape.

Generally speaking, the more expensive the tape, the less tack it has, making it easier to remove and less likely to lift the edge of any new paint. While professional painters often are skilled enough to skip the taping, this is not recommended for weekend painters.

Rolling right along

Next, you need to purchase primer and your finish coat. For a 10-by 12-foot room (excluding ceiling) you'll want a gallon of primer and two gallons of finish coat.

You have a host of choices when it comes to paint sheen, from flat (no shine) to hi-gloss, but a satin or eggshell finish is your best option. Higher sheens should be left to the pros because every imperfection on your wall will be highlighted.

Since paint appears darker once applied, a good rule is to pick your color and then have your retailer half-tone it. Most paint suppliers can match almost any color, meaning you don't have to buy a particular brand to get a specific paint shade.

Another excellent tip when painting with latex paint is to use it like it were free: Apply liberally.

Once you have your walls prepped, surfaces taped and some old sheets on the floor, you're finally ready to start.

Begin applying paint by first cutting in all the edges with your brush and then rolling on your primer on with a smooth up-and-down motion. Start at the edge of one wall, use a light touch (too firm will leave tracks) and find a pace that minimizes splatter. Try to do one complete wall before stopping because this gives the most even finish. One primer coat should be sufficient.

Once dry (about four hours), lightly sand then cut in and roll your first finish coat, allow to dry and repeat. Once your final coat is dry, remove your tape. Use a utility knife and run it along the edges carefully to prevent pulling paint off the wall.

The bottom lines

A standard 10- by 12-foot bedroom will probably run you $100 for all the needed equipment.

For product, you get what you pay for. Talk to your paint retailer, and you should be able to get a quality paint with a good warranty for around $40 per gallon.

You may want to consider hiring a professional painter if you are trying to paint an area that has been smoked in, has numerous nooks and crannies, multiple windows or if you plan to repaint with more than one color.

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Subject: Murals

Thank you for your help. I have one wall that has a mural on it and a corner of the next wall with a continuing of the same mural. I do not want to paint over the murals. The old under i.e. beneath paint is now a faded white. So do I paint in a radius method as in scoring a oval or try to paint in to the mural without worrying about the old faded paint reflection? Thanks again Clayton

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