Painting can seem quite a chore if you’re not used to doing it or you just find it difficult. We wanted to make it easier for you and help you get better results, so have put together our top ten tips for successful and stress free painting.
- Clear the Room
Painting a room when it’s full of furniture and possessions just makes life difficult. Clear the room as much as you can so that you have plenty of working space. If you have to keep moving things or stretch over them it’s so much harder. Use dust sheets to protect anything that has to stay in the room. Remember, having done a great job, let everything dry properly before you bring furniture etc back in. Wet paint has a habit of attracting dust which ruins the finish.
- Have Everything to Hand
Before starting any work at all, make a check list and gather together all the tools and materials you need. Having to stop work to go and find something is really counterproductive. If you have an old pasting table, set that up as a workbench and store tools and materials underneath. Knowing where everything is makes life easier.
- Remove Fittings
Remove ironmongery like door handles and window stays before you start. It might be a bit of a pain to do but you’ll be amazed at how much neater the final result will look. It also makes the job easier as you won’t have to fiddle about trying to paint round them neatly. Clean ironmongery first before refitting it when the job is complete.
- Preparation Really Does Make a Difference
Most people hate the preparation work but there’s no getting away from it – the better you do this, the better the end result and the easier it will be. Wash down surfaces if they’re dirty otherwise the paint won’t adhere properly. Rub down woodwork so that it’s smooth – no amount of painting is going to hide rough surfaces.
- Filling and Caulking
Use decorators caulk to fill gaps in corners, around window and door frames, and tops of skirtings. It’s water soluble making it easy to smooth with a damp sponge. It also dries quickly and is easy to paint over. Use filler as neatly as you can so that you don’t end up with masses of sanding down to do.
Some marks and stains will ‘bleed’ through water based paints like emulsion. Stubborn marks can be treated with a stain block so they don’t ruin your work. If there are only one or two stains, a coat of oil based undercoat will do the job and save you some cash.
- Paint and Brush Quality
Buy the best paint you can afford. Some of the cheaper paints really are false economy. Good quality paints often have better covering. If you save a few quid but have to do an extra coat you won’t really have saved anything, and will spend longer doing the job. Good quality brushes make a difference too. Cheap brushes will leave more brush marks in your paint, make it difficult to spread the paint evenly and will likely shed bristles. Flick the bristles vigorously to remove dust and loose hairs before using a new brush.
- Order of Work
Make sure you know what order you are going to paint things in. Painting a ceiling after you’ve painted the walls for example is cruising for trouble. Check out our Painting order article for more information. Painting a panelled door in the right sequence will make the difference between an average job and a great job. There’s more on this here: Painting Doors
- Cutting In
Take a bit of time to practice cutting in paintwork. Being able to paint neatly along edges – between walls and ceiling and around door frames is well worth it. You should use a reasonable size brush and load it properly so that the paint flows smoothly as you draw the brush along. Use the brush so that it almost parallel to the edge rather than at right angles.
- Masking Tape
If you’re painting skirting boards, tape up the edge of the carpet. Use a wide bladed scraper to push the edge of the tape down where it meets the skirting and you’ll get a very neat finish. Let the paint dry before taking it off. Run your hand along the bottom edge pushing the tape down before you remove it and that will break any seal between the two. It’s better not to use masking tape around windows – practice your cutting in skills so that you can do a neat job without. Masking tape left on glass too long can be really difficult to remove.