DIY Home Improvement: How to Apply Paint to Your Walls

Painting is the one job that the home handy person is more likely to tackle than any other job around the home. It ís the one where the least amount of things can go wrong, right?

Before You Get Started

But there are some things that can go wrong and you won’t know it until a few months have passed. Imagine your shock and horror when those layers of paint come flaking off, just a few months after all that hard work. How could this be? It ís simple; you didn’t wash the wall down properly first. There is mostly a layer of grease or scum that builds up on walls, particularly kitchen and bathroom, so paint will not adhere properly to the wall unless it is removed. Washing down with the proper ingredients may seem unnecessary, especially if the walls look clean, but it is one of the most important tasks.

But wait! First you must buy the proper paint. External paint for all outside painting including the covered-in veranda or deck and windowsills that get lots of sunlight; special paint for wet/steamy areas like bathrooms and kitchens. Ceiling paint for ceilings that is thicker and won’t splatter as much. Keep away from cheap paints. This is hard work and you want it to last as long as possible.

So scrub, then rinse if necessary. Allow to dry, and then fill any cracks or holes with putty. Sand the putty smooth when it is dry. Also sand back where there is any loose paint. If there are patches where there is no paint, dab those spots with a sealer/undercoat combo along with the putty spots. Place masking tape along edges where the paint is to finish and along light switches and window/door frames. If this takes all day, don’t sweat it, just do it. Many people prefer to remove the light fixtures and doorknobs completely.

Starting to Paint

Only when everything is properly prepared can you start to paint. Make sure there is plenty of air in the room; leave the doors and window open. Set the can of paint and the tray on layers of newspaper. Of course, you will have removed all the adornments such as pictures before you started. Cover all furniture that cannot be removed from the room with plastic or cotton sheets. Cover the flooring with plastic sheets. Bring in the ladder if you need it. Use a roller for large areas and a brush for the edges. Buy a good quality brush or you’ll end up with brush hairs throughout your paint. Leave the first coat to dry. If you are using a water-based paint this will only be a couple of hours, but an oil-based paint requires longer drying time.

If the original paint was in fairly good condition, you may only need one or two coats of paint, depending on the color. If you are changing the color scheme from dark to light, you may need more. Allow the paint to dry before removing the tape and replacing furniture and bric-a-brac.

Tip: If you’ve used the ladder for outside jobs, the feet may have a build-up of dried mud or dirt. Clean it off before you take it inside.

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