February 9, 2011

Be Our Guest: 10 Painting Tips for Beginners

Today, we have a new first here on the J&K Homestead Blog!

When Bailey Harris contacted us a couple weeks ago about writing a guest post for our blog, we were super excited to oblige her request and have her be the first guest author on our blog!

Bailey writes for Area Rugs Online, a retail site that sells brand name area rugs. Here is a little background information from Bailey herself...

I have done a ton of home improvement projects over the years. My husband and I fixed up two of the houses we were renting and helped to restore his aunt's house. We are also slowly but surely redoing bits of the house we bought five years ago. Reading your blog has brought back memories of a few of the projects we undertook!

I've also spent a lot of time painting. My husband worked as an apartment manager for quite a few years. He took care of ten complexes--every time someone moved out, the entire apartment needed to be painted. We got lots of practice over the years!

As you can see, Bailey and her husband have quite a bit of experience in the home renovation and interior painting department. With all this experience under her belt, Bailey is here to share with you 10 Painting Tips for Beginners!

Take it away, Bailey...

Giving your walls a fresh coat of paint can dramatically change the appearance of a room. If you have never painted before, the task may seem a bit daunting. But with a little knowledge and preparation, it can be fun and very rewarding.

1. Buy the Right Paint
There are many different kinds of interior paint. The most commonly used are latex and oil-based. Latex paints are the most popular because they cover better, dry faster, and clean up easier. Oil-based paints are durable and stain resistant, making them a great choice for high traffic areas such as the kitchen.

2. Choose the Right Gloss
Once you have decided on a type of paint, you have to decide on a gloss. Your options include flat, eggshell, satin, and semi-gloss. Flat paint is ideal for the ceiling; it can help hide small flaws but is not very easily cleaned. Eggshell paint is a step up from flat paint; it has a little sheen to it but should not be used in high traffic area. Satin paint is a good choice for bedrooms and living areas of the house. It is easy to clean and has a smooth shine to it. Semi-gloss paint is great for high traffic areas, such as the kitchen or bath, because it is very durable and can be cleaned frequently.

3. Get Good Paint Brushes and Rollers
When shopping for paint brushes, remember that there is no one size fits all. You will most likely need several different styles and sizes. The best paint brushes for latex paint are those with nylon or polyester bristles. For oil-based paints, it is best to use a natural fiber brush.

Large paint brushes should be used to do big areas, while smaller paint brushes are best for detail and trim work. Paint rollers work best for the largest areas. Choose a paint roller with a good amount of nap, especially if you are painting a bumpy surface.

When shopping for paint brushes and rollers, cheaper is not better. The cheaper paint brushes tend to lose their bristles, which then dry in your freshly painted walls. Low-cost rollers are just as bad--they do not cover well and are difficult to clean and reuse. Don't be afraid to splurge to get the best tools for the job.

4. Clear Out the Room
Before you begin painting, a few things need to be done. First you will need to remove the furniture. If you cannot remove it, simply move it all to the center of the room and cover it with a drop cloth. You will also want to remove pictures, shelves, light switch plates, plug covers, or anything else that may be hanging on your wall.

5. Clean the Walls
Clean walls are also essential. Walls should be dusted or vacuumed and then washed with a solution of warm water and soap. If there is mold or mildew on the wall, you will need to add bleach to the water.

6. Make Repairs
Painting over a flaw in your wall is not a good idea. The sheen of the fresh paint will almost always make flaws more noticeable. Most flaws can be fixed with a little drywall mud or spackling and a putty knife. If the hole is big, you may need to replace a piece of the drywall. It is also a good idea to sand all of the patched spots in the wall. The goal is to have a smooth surface that is even with the surrounding area.

7. Tape Things Off
This can be time consuming but is a necessity when painting. You will need to tape anything that you do not want painted, including trim, doors, windows, cabinets, and light fixtures. It is best to use the blue painters tape specifically designed for this job. Masking tape, duct tape, and other types of tape can leave a residue and be hard to peel off. For best results, do not leave the painters tape on any surface for more than 24 hours.

8. Test the Paint
Paint colors can look different in every room. To make sure that you have picked the right color, you should paint a couple of test spots. These spots should be given at least 24 hours to fully dry. This one simple step could save you the hassle of repainting after the color dries and you realize it is not what you wanted.

9. Start in the Right Spot
So you have picked the paint you want, gotten all your supplies around, and prepared the room to paint. If you are painting your ceiling this should be done first. Next, you would want to use your small brush and paint the trim and corners. Make sure that there is plenty of paint on the brush. If you end up with a drip on the wall as you are painting, smooth it out with your brush or wipe it with a damp cloth as soon as possible. When painting large areas with a roller, it is best to paint in a "W" and then "M" patterns to ensure proper coverage.

10. Recruit Help
The best thing about painting is that everyone can do it--no special skills are required. So call your family and friends and ask them to come help you. Offer to buy pizza and drinks, and make it a fun painting party!

Isn't that great advice?! We have put many of the suggestions above to use as we've been painting the interior of our recently-purchased-house the last few months. And Step #10 has come in very handy (as our family and friends know)! There's nothing like a group effort to lighten the load.

We want to give a big thank you to Bailey for sharing such great painting tips with us!

What painting project are you inspired to tackle next?

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