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.
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.