Proper prepa­ra­tion key to good paint job

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - By Pe­dro Ar­rais

ON the sur­face, paint­ing seems like an easy thing to do. Af­ter all, any­body who can move their arms back and forth can paint.

It’s a nice idea, but house paint­ing — like any skill — takes a lot of prac­tice be­fore you can achieve the same re­sults as a pro­fes­sional. Still, it is pos­si­ble for do-it-your­selfer home­own­ers to paint like a pro.

We asked the ex­perts for some tips for suc­cess, so you can avoid the pit­falls that plague hasty home­own­ers.

“The most im­por­tant ad­vice I can give is to use the right paint for the job,” says Ja­son Lehman, branch man­ager for Cloverdale Paint. “When cus­tomers come in, I try to get as much in­for­ma­tion as pos­si­ble to get the right paint for their project.”

The choices for the unini­ti­ated can be daunt­ing, with paints com­ing in sheens from flat and eggshell to semi and high gloss. A pro­fes­sional will au­to­mat­i­cally know to use semi-gloss paint for the kitchen, for ex­am­ple. A room chil­dren use reg­u­larly would be best painted in an eggshell with a low sheen so that it can be eas­ily cleaned and marks to the paint touched up.

But the se­cret to a pro­fes­sional-looking room is not the paint but the prepa­ra­tion done long be­fore a drop of paint touches the wall.

“The paint­ing is the re­ward,” says Lehman. “You can see it trans­form the room in front of you. But the proper prep work needs to be done.”

Paint­ing a room is not as sim­ple as paint by num­bers, but here are nine tips for a pro­fes­sional-looking paint job. 1. Keep it clean Paint does not ad­here to grease. Wash kitchen walls with TSP (trisodium phos­phate), a heavy duty cleaner. This cleaner is also rec­om­mended for walls that chil­dren have marked with crayons. Oth­er­wise it is a good idea to use a mild de­ter­gent to re­move dust, smoke and other dirt that may be on the walls and ceil­ing. 2. Know your sur­face La­tex paint won’t ad­here to a sur­face pre­vi­ously painted with an oil-based paint. If in doubt, sand and prime the sur­face be­fore ap­ply­ing wa­ter-based paint. Oil paint, on the other hand, can be painted over wa­ter-based paint eas­ily. 3. Prime Win­dow sills and walls with mould and mildew stains should be first cov­ered with a shel­lac-based primersealer. This prod­uct seals, primes and blocks out stains.

When paint­ing over a dark colour, it is best to prime the walls with a tinted primer first. With the proper base, the dark colour will not bleed through and re­quire mul­ti­ple coats of the new colour.

Al­ways prime walls that have been patched. Oth­er­wise, the patched area will show through the new paint.

If an un­fin­ished spray tex­ture ceil­ing (some­times re­ferred to as a pop­corn or stip­ple fin­ish) is to be painted, itGs best to use an oil-based primer in­stead of la­tex. A wa­ter-based primer might dis­solve and wash off the tex­ture. 3. Tape it up Use painter’s tape (usu­ally blue in colour) in­stead of or­di­nary mask­ing tape. Reg­u­lar mask­ing tape leaves a residue and, more of­ten than not, peels dried paint as well when re­moved.

When mask­ing around base­board mould­ings, use low-tack tape on the floor. Th­ese del­i­cate tapes, some­times called 14-day tapes, are ideal for longterm mask­ing jobs. Tapes with stronger ad­he­sive can rip up the fresh polyurethane fin­ish ap­plied on floors. 5. Dust is the en­emy Clean­ness is a virtue. It’s a good idea to clean and vacuum the room be­fore paint­ing. Mov­ing about kicks up dust and that dust will find its way onto wet sur­faces. 6. Use bet­ter equip­ment Some­times the main rea­son a pro­fes­sional’s job looks bet­ter is be­cause they use bet­ter equip­ment. Good-qual­ity brushes de­liver a smoother fin­ish and make paint­ing tasks eas­ier.

Don’t buy $2.99 brushes and ex­pect a pro­fes­sional fin­ish. Buy higher-end prod­ucts be­cause they won’t leave lint and bris­tles be­hind. While pricier, a good-qual­ity brush can last for many years with proper care. 7. Use bet­ter paint Cheaper paint just means you have to paint a lot more coats. They tend to drip and have less hid­ing ca­pa­bil­ity. While prices are the largest driv­ing is­sue for con­sumers, pre­mium paints clean up eas­ier, are more durable and, if dam­aged, touch up bet­ter.

“There is tech­nol­ogy in the can,” says Lehman. “Ev­ery­body wants a good prod­uct at a fair price. But when you fac­tor in the price dif­fer­ence you pay over time, it’s not sig­nif­i­cant enough to set­tle for the lower grade.”

8. Don’t be afraid to use oil-based paint

Many peo­ple avoid us­ing oil-based paints be­cause of the need of sol­vents to clean the brushes and their strong smell. Some man­u­fac­tur­ers have re­sponded by in­tro­duc­ing low-VOC (volatile or­ganic com­pound) oil paints.

“There are times when oil-based paints are su­pe­rior for the task,” says Lehman. “It’s the only prod­uct for bare wood as wa­ter-based paints cause wood to ex­pand.”

He sug­gests peo­ple who dis­like us­ing paint thin­ners to clean their brushes pur­chase dis­pos­able ones in­stead. Also, en­sure you have good ven­ti­la­tion. 9. Clean it up Use ra­zors in­stead of scrap­ers to clean up paint on win­dows. Use a painter’s drop cloth or old sheets to pro­tect fur­ni­ture and floors for eas­ier cleanup.

— Canwest News Ser­vice

Paint­ing is made eas­ier by us­ing the right prod­ucts and the right tech­niques.

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