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Paint Like A Pro

Thursday, 16th September 2010

Nothing beats a fresh coat of paint for giving a room a whole new look in a flash, and with so many enticing effects and finishes now available it's temping to simply rush out and get started this second. But a professional-looking finish requires more than just slapping a bit of paint onto the walls - you need to prepare the walls properly, get the right brushes, and select the right finish for the job.

Choose the right paint for the job
There are so many different paint types to choose from - matt, silk, high-gloss - each suited for different uses and areas. When deciding on your paint finish, think about where it will be used, and how much wear and tear it will receive. As a guideline, the following finishes are suited to:

- Eggshell - a perennial favourite for its very soft sheen, this finish suits an area of mid to low traffic such as a dining room.
- Low sheen - suitable for busy family homes, this paint is washable and has a very soft, light-reflecting sheen, plus it's moisture resistant so it suits kitchens and laundries.
- Flat finish - this very matt finish looks great in low-traffic areas such as bedrooms. It is totally non-reflective and tends to scuff easily, but it hides a multitude of sins.
- Satin or semi-gloss - The perfect choice if you like a glossy look, but don't want to go all the way, as it has just a little bit of sheen. It's easy to apply, wipeable and moisture-resistant.
- Hi-gloss - this finish requires immaculate preparation as it will show up every little imperfection in your walls. Once applied, it's smart, durable and wipeable.

Acrylics vs enamels
Water-based acrylic paint has traditionally had fewer toxins and is easier to mop up than oil-based enamel paint. Acrylic paint is generally used for walls, while enamel is used for woodwork such as doors, window frames and skirtings. You can now source low-emission enamels which are far kinder to the environment.

Take a good look at colour
It's impossible to tell what a whole room will look like in a certain colour from a tiny paint swatch. Buy a tester pot, paint an inexpensive canvas from the newsagent or art supply shop, and prop it up against the wall for a few days. This way you'll see how it looks at different times of day and under different light conditions.

Eco paints
Painting your home has traditionally been a pretty smelly business, with toxic fumes entering the room for years after application. The new generation low- and no-VOC (volatile organic compounds) and low-odour paints have little or no smell, few or no toxic baddies, plus they're far kinder to the environment. Look to companies such as Porters Paints, Dulux, Aalto, Wattyl id and The Natural Paint Company for low-tox paints in a range of finishes. 

Preparation preparation preparation
The success of your outcome largely depends on the work you do prepping the walls beforehand. Before you put paintbrush to wall, you'll need to:

First, clean the walls thoroughly with liquid sugar soap, and make sure you wipe off all residue as soap will prevent paint from adhering properly.
Next, use a scraper to remove any loose or flaking old paint.
Prime the walls to maximise the sheen once they're painted, and make the whole job look far more professional.
Fill in any cracks, gaps or holes in the walls, then smooth it all down with sandpaper. Vacuum the room thoroughly once the dust has settled.
Apply your undercoat.
Once it's dry, you're ready to paint!

Get the room ready
Remove whatever furniture and accessories you can from the room. Whatever you can't take out, push into the middle of the room and cover with drop sheets. Also cover all floors.
Put masking tape up on any windows or trims.
Remove all the room's hardware - doorknobs, hooks and window latches - pop them in a zip-lock bag and label exactly where they're meant to go back.
Don't forget a ladder to reach tricky places. You'll need a pair of ladders with a plank between them if you're dong the ceiling, or a roller with an extendable arm.

Don't forget brushes

Buy the best quality you can afford, as better brushes mean a better paint job. They're easier to clean than cheap ones, and will see you through many paint jobs.
Use synthetic or nylon brushes if you're painting with water-based paint. Use natural bristles for oil-based paints.
Look for unfinished wooden handles as they're easier to hold, and tapered or angled bristles to reach awkward spots.
Rollers are great for large areas - lamb's wool ones give the best finish, although they're more expensive than synthetic ones.
Always run your hand through the bristles of a new brush to loosen them before you start painting.

Follow the right sequence

First, start by stirring the paint very well with a paint stirrer. Once you've tipped out the quantity you need into a tray, replace the lid so paint doesn't dry out.
Start by painting the ceiling and work your way down. Paint a 30-40cm strip all around the edge of the ceiling, then use a brush or roller to paint in strips across the shortest dimension.
Then paint the walls, doors and windows, followed by architraves.
Paint the walls in 1m strips in a broad M or W pattern, starting with an upward stroke. Then fill in the gaps and smooth over with up and down strokes, always painting into the wet edge of the previously painted area.

And when you're finished...
Take off the masking tape before the paint is dry or you risk it chipping.
Don't forget the practicalities: it's a good idea to paint doors early in the day so that they dry by evening and can be closed.
Wash your brushes: those used in water-based paints can be cleaned with water, and oil-based paints in turpentine. Always store your clean brushes hanging face down.

Now stand back and admire your handiwork!


Georgia Madden

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Comment from Marsha E on Sunday, 22nd January 2017

Through new paint to the entire house that will enhance your house beauty and the number of peoples is hire someone professionals who have great skills in painting. The paper writers professionals use such techniques and color combination to paint house which enhances room beauty. Those ideas are really helpful for someone who wanted to paint their house.

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