If you’re thinking about giving your home’s interior a fresh coat of paint, there are important tips that will help you save you time, money and mistakes. Whether you want to change the paint color in your bedroom or tackle the entire house, following these helpful guidelines will guarantee best results.
Once you’ve decided on the color, determine how much paint you need and what type of paint is best. For faux finishes and decorative painting techniques, rely on the manufacturer’s guidelines.
How Much Paint? – Calculate the square footage of the room you’re painting by multiplying its length times its width. (20 feet long x 15 feet wide = 300 square feet). You’ll need one gallon of paint for every 400 square feet. Rough, unprimed or textured surfaces may require more paint.
What Type of Paint? – Determine if your existing paint is latex (water-based) or oil-based. Apply rubbing alcohol to a white cloth and rub in on the wall. If paint comes off on your cloth, it’s water-based. If not, it’s oil-based. Never apply latex paint over an oil-based paint and vice versa without sanding walls first.
Tip: Look for eco-friendly paints with low or zero-VOCs (volatile organic chemicals). Many types of paints can release toxic fumes into the air for years after painting.
Prep work has a big impact on how well your paint job turns out. Don’t skip necessary home improvement prep work before you paint.
Cleaning – Paint doesn’t adhere well to dirty surfaces. Clean all surfaces you plan to paint with soap and water, rinse, and let dry overnight before you paint.
Repairs – Fill any holes or cracks with spackle, let it dry, then sand and smooth dry spackle before painting.
Protection – Use a painter’s drop cloth to cover floors and furniture. Avoid plastic, as it can be very slippery.
Tip: To speed up the job, remove outlet and light switch covers before you paint. Tape the screws to the cover, and tape over the outlet or light switch to keep paint off of wiring.
Just as prep work is key to a good paint job, choosing the right paint tools will prevent drips, runs, uneven coverage and costly mistakes.
Rollers – Large surfaces like ceilings and walls should be painted with rollers for more even coverage and fewer drips and runs. For smooth surfaces, use a roller with a nap that’s 3/8 inches or less. For textured surfaces, larger nap rollers will spread paint better and reduce the number of coats needed.
Brushes – For latex paint, nylon and polyester brushes will guard against messy drips and runs, as they don’t absorb much liquid. For oil-based paint, natural bristle ox hair brushes will hold paint better. Foam brushes and angled brushes work best for trim and straight lines, but foam brushes can only be used once.
Tip: Allow at least 24 hours for paint to dry thoroughly, and at least 30 days before washing new paint.