Brush up on paint­ing 101

Con­sid­er­ing pick­ing up a brush and giv­ing your liv­ing room a fresh lick of paint? Here’s what you need to know to get the best pos­si­ble re­sult, writes Bea Tay­lor.

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Make sure you get the smoothest fin­ish and the best colour choice with these six tips.

The right colour

Be­fore you touch a paint roller, you’ll want to make sure you have the per­fect colour.

Un­for­tu­nately the lit­tle 5x3cm squares in a colour chart aren’t the best indi­ca­tor of what it will look like on your wall. To avoid leav­ing patches of test pot paint all around your liv­ing room, Sarah Gre­gory, Re­sene colour con­sul­tant, rec­om­mends paint­ing an A2 piece of card with two coats of the trial colour, leav­ing a white bor­der around the edge of the card. ‘‘We rec­om­mend do­ing this as colour is a chameleon and changes when next to an­other colour,’’ she says. ‘‘The white bor­der al­lows you to see the true colour.’’

Place the card up on the wall op­po­site a win­dow to see it in full light and un­der the win­dow to view it in the shade.

Asses the colour in the morn­ing, af­ter­noon and un­der ar­ti­fi­cial light in the evening to see how the colour changes in dif­fer­ent light sit­u­a­tions. ‘‘You’ll also want to bend the card so you can see what the colour will look like in the cor­ners of the room when it re­flects off it­self,’’ Gre­gory sug­gests.

Know your gloss lev­els

Paint comes in a few dif­fer­ent gloss lev­els; flat/matt, low sheen, satin, semi-gloss and full gloss.

Gre­gory sug­gests us­ing flat for ceil­ings, low sheen on in­te­rior walls, satin for weath­er­board or plas­ter, and semi-gloss or high­gloss for trim. Us­ing the cor­rect gloss level is im­por­tant as it can af­fect the fi­nal fin­ish.

How much paint?

Bryce McDer­mott from Re­sene says this is the most fre­quently asked ques­tion he re­ceives.

He sug­gests work­ing within the cal­cu­la­tion of 12 square me­tres per litre.

Mea­sure the length and height of a wall and mul­ti­ply these two fig­ures to find out the square me­tre of that wall. Di­vide that fig­ure by 12 to find out how many litres you will need.

This fig­ure will need to be dou­bled to al­low for two coats of paint for the wall.

‘‘Don’t for­get that you will also need to do mea­sure­ments for the trim and ceil­ing too,’’ says Gre­gory.

Don’t for­get to prep

‘‘Cor­rect prepa­ra­tion is the most im­por­tant step of paint­ing be­cause it will af­fect the fi­nal fin­ish,’’ says Gre­gory. ‘‘Fill­ing holes, sand­ing and prim­ing are not to be skimped on.’’

McDer­mott’s rec­om­men­da­tion for ba­sic prep in­volves clean­ing down sur­faces with a broom to get rid of dust and cob webs. If the wall is dirty, a quick wash down with mild sugar soap might be nec­es­sary, fol­lowed by a wipe down with clean wa­ter and a damp cloth.

If the wall has any holes and dents it will need to be filled, al­lowed to dry, sanded and spot primed with pig­mented sealer.

Paint­ing the wall

Start with the ceil­ing, that way you won’t get any paint on your freshly painted walls. After the ceil­ing, tackle the walls and then the trim; skirt­ing, win­dow frames, ar­chi­traves and doors. If you have a steady hand, skip the tape and use a an­gled brush to ‘cut-in’ around the trim. Hold the bris­tles rather than the han­dle for bet­ter con­trol, and use gen­tle pres­sure to fan them out slightly to help cre­ate a straight line.

When us­ing a roller, load the paint on and work it well into the tray, says McDer­mott.

Roll the paint onto the walls un­til you get a me­tre sec­tion done and then go over this sec­tion with­out re-load­ing your roller.

To even out of the sec­tion you have just done roll the roller from the top of the wall to the bot­tom in one go. Re­peat this method for the whole wall.

Get­ting the per­fect fin­ish

To get a per­fect fin­ish you’ll need at least two coats. Wait the cor­rect amount of time be­tween coats.

‘‘All prod­ucts have a dif­fer­ent dry time and over­coat time, it’s im­por­tant to al­low the prod­uct to com­pletely dry be­fore adding an­other coat or the paint could fail due to in­cor­rect cur­ing,’’ says Gre­gory.

Darker or brighter colours, or a dras­tic colour change will re­quire a third coat to get a per­fect fin­ish.


Get to know your gloss lev­els. For in­te­rior walls, try a low sheen gloss.

Test colours in a cor­ner to check how it looks re­flected on it­self.

Large win­dows can pour light onto your wall and high­light im­per­fec­tions.

Doors can take a high or semi-gloss and should be painted last.

Ceil­ings should be painted first.

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