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Before You Paint a Room, Here’s Some Must-Do Prep Work

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine

Photo credit: Paint Quality Institute

Painting can dramatically change the look of a space, enhancing its aesthetics and possibly even making it look more spacious. Painting is one of the most popular do-it-yourself jobs of home owners, and while it’s one of the easiest too, there is an art to painting.

The Paint Quality Institute offers up some of the following tips in prepping the walls to make sure a home owner’s paint job doesn’t end up looking like an unprofessional DIY job:

–Repair surface imperfections. Use a spackling compound to fill any cracks or holes so that the surface is smooth before you start painting. You can use a stain-blocking primer to repair any areas that have water stains or discoloration, according to the Paint Quality Institute.

–Clean the walls. Before you start painting, wash the walls and woodwork with a detergent-water solution. Rinse the surfaces and let them dry completely.

–Choose your paint carefully. “Top quality 100 percent acrylic latex paints resist spattering, tend to conceal brush marks, and do a better job of hiding the color underneath,” according to the Paint Quality Institute. “They also are tougher and more durable, with better long-term resistance to fading, yellowing, and staining.”

Also, home owners will want to carefully choose the sheen and gloss level of their paint. In general, the higher the gloss on a paint, the easier the paint will be to clean. High-gloss finishes, therefore, tend to be a popular choice in bathrooms and high-traffic areas. The highest gloss paints may be best reserved for entry doors and a home’s trim.

The downside to high gloss paint is that it can highlight imperfections in a wall. It’s highly reflective so it can makes any flaws much more noticeable.

On the opposite side of the spectrum from gloss are flat paints. These are non-reflective so it can make minor imperfections in walls less noticeable and make walls appear more smooth. They are often popular choices for ceilings or surfaces that a home owner may want to downplay. The big negative to flat paints: They’re not easy to clean and any dirt can easily become trapped in it.

These are the most popular sheen level choices on paint — from highest sheen to lowest: Gloss, semigloss, satin, eggshell, and then flat or matte.

–Use high-quality brushes and rollers. Not all paint brushes are the same. The best brushes tend to have tightly packed bristles, which will help them hold more paint on it. The Paint Quality Institute recommends using brushes and rollers with synthetic bristles and covers when applying latex, water-based paints. These types of brushes and rollers are more likely to maintain their shape, regardless of how much water they get on them.

–Get straight edges. Using “painters tape” may be a good idea in order to make sure you stay inside the lines. You can use tape to mask off areas to also ensure you get a straight line when painting. Take your time taping, however. Also, be sure to press the tape down firmly so no paint can creep in underneath the tape. Once the paint is dried, peel the tape away immediately.

Comments
  1. Kim

    On getting straight edges: If you let the paint dry completely before removing the tape, you risk pulling dried paint off the wall along with the tape. It is safer to carefully remove the tape while the paint is still somewhat wet or, if you wait until dry, use a razor along the tape line (only deep enough to penetrate the paint layer) to make sure removing the tape doesn’t ruin the straight edge

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