One of the greatest return on investments to your home is a good quality paint job. Regular exterior painting is crucial to avoid over exposure to the elements, which, if neglected can result in costly repairs on top of the paint job.
The same goes for interior painting jobs. The main thing to remember is that preparation is key to a good paint job, and preparation is virtually always the majority of the work. It’s a good thing to remember when acquiring bids if you are going to hire someone to do the work for you. Remember that a lot of the cost is surface preparation. Your local handyman can help you in many ways as well, from prep to clean up and every thing associated with getting the job done efficiently and in a timely manner.
Some handymen are very good painters. If your handyman wants to offer a paint bid to you, you may find your price will be a little lower than a full-time painter’s. It’s probably a good idea though, to ask for references.
Interior paint jobs begin with surface preparation. How well your walls, trim and ceiling paint work turns out will be a direct result of what goes into preparing them for the final paint. Drywall changes over time. Protruding nails can show up as small bumps, cracks from foundation settling and other causes can slowly but surely deteriorate the appearance of a once-beautiful paint job. Depending on your time and money budgets, an entire house painting project can be devoted to weekends which can easily turn into several weeks or even months of headaches, or your entire interior painting project can last a week or two as a full-time endeavor.
Pound in protruding nails and use drywall mud to repair the resulting broken texture. A little on your finger usually takes care of these small problems. Larger cracks from a shifting foundation will take more time and effort, and possibly a new texture “patch”. Just be sure and spend the time it takes to prepare the surface for a new coat of paint and your final product will be far better than just a coat of paint on top of an uneven surface.
1. Create a plan. The total cost of a paint job is far greater than the cost of paint. You’ll need sandpaper, brushes, rollers, drop cloths, ladders, primer, drywall mud, and so forth. Unless you already have a good grasp on costs or don’t care what the cost in time and money will be, sit down and write out everything you’ll need.
2. Seriously consider neutral tones, especially if you plan to sell your home. Neutral tones are exactly that: neutral. They are most appealing to the eye and enhance the beauty of your furniture. Very light pastels work great too.
3. Unless your existing paint has a flat finish, it will require some sort of primer so the new coat will adhere properly. You can use the new paint as a primer and final coat, but remember that latex enamel will not cover oil-based paint. Oil-based paint will, however cover enamel. Flat finished paints will cover better than reflective finishes and while priming is a great idea, you can use flat paint as a good primer.
Plan your job accordingly. It may be that only some areas need to be primed. A good primer/sealer is not a bad idea. Consult with the painting pro at your local home improvement store, but be careful, free advice is not always the best advice. My experience is that they are pretty well trained overall and can be a great source for basic home interior painting tips at the very least. I have picked up a wealth of information from the guys and gals behind the counter over the years.
4. Remove all electrical cover plates, curtains, curtain hardware, doors and door hardware before beginning. A clean canvas will give you the best job. Unless you are extremely skilled, you will get drips and over-paint on these items no matter how hard you try not to slip. Besides, painting the bare wall first, then adding elements like cover plates and drapery hardware will give you a professional looking final job. You can organize your screws and plates and such in zip-lock bags which will also help keep you from losing any pieces. Use a magic marker to label the bags if you need to.
5. Start with the ceiling. If you are rolling it, get an extension for your roller and practice with it until you’re comfortable using it. Move in about 6 foot square sections and be methodical. Overlap your paint a couple of inches as you move across the ceiling. This will help your progress and your paint thickness will remain the most uniform. It will not be a problem to allow the top inch or two of your wall to get painted along with the ceiling at this stage. Just make sure your corners and the ceiling right next to the top of the wall gets good coverage.
6. Painting walls: Before rolling the walls, I always brush in the top edge of the wall, next to the ceiling. This requires some practice, but as you move along the wall, you’ll get better and faster. This is known as “cutting in” and it takes just a little practice to get the corners to look just right. If there is not a great tonal difference between the wall and ceiling colors, small “flubs” will be unnoticeable in the final job. You can always touch up the ceiling later as well. If you just can’t create a nice clean corner, you may need to consider buying a cutting tool or masking the ceiling with painters tape. Try a freehand style first, you may just surprise yourself and you will save a lot of time. All that said, always remember that the final job is a good one or a great one depending on the DETAILS!
7. Baseboards and trim: Unless your are very skilled, you may need to mask the walls before doing your trim. Remember that the edge of your masking will be the edge of the paint so keep it in mind as you tape. Look at it. You should be able to visualize the final edge. Remove doors. I know this is a job in itself, and I’ve seen a lot of hinges painted over, but painting over hinges is sloppy and you can never get all the cracks and crevices properly. I think it’s about the same amount of work to remove the doors and rehang them later as it is to paint over everything and keep touching up. Removing doors before painting gives a far superior finished job. A good question to ask is, do I want a good paint job or a great one? If you are dealing with hardware that has been painted over previously, you may want to consider buying new hardware.
8. Final touch ups: Don’t be afraid to touch up any areas that need it at the final stage. I’ll state again, the difference between a good job and a great job lies in the details. Compared to the entire time it typically takes a DIY’er to do a room, spending an hour touching up is minor and can make a huge difference.
9. Doors: A great trick I’ve used is to screw two 1 x 4 boards, about 3 feet long to the bottom of each door after it’s been removed from off it’s hinges so they will stand up by themselves. You can roll or brush the entire door at one time that way and save a lot of time by avoiding leaning the doors against a wall. Painting doors does not have to be hard work.
It is not unreasonable to paint an entire medium sized room in less than a day. If you’re doing more than one room, do wall preparation in all the rooms first.
You’ll save time.