Are your walls looking dingy? Are you sick of that mushroom-brown colour scheme that was there when you moved in? Spring is the perfect time to grab the paint rollers and freshen up your interior.
Repainting is often touted as a quick and inexpensive way to revitalise your home. You don’t need elaborate equipment or expensive materials, and you can do it without moving into temporary accommodation.
However, painting does take some time and skill. If you dive in without the proper knowledge or preparation, your paint job may end up patchy, peeling or just plain shabby.
Here’s how to paint like the pros.
1. Wait for warmer weather
Painting is an ideal spring task because the temperature is on your side. If you paint during the cold damp days of winter, each coat will take substantially longer to dry and the job will drag on. In the height of summer, you might face the opposite problem: paint that dries so quickly you don’t have time to smooth out any bumps.
Check the forecast and pick a series of sunny days to get out the brushes.
2. Preparation makes perfect
Spend some time getting the surface as smooth and clean as possible before you dive in. Surface preparation may feel tedious, but it will save you time when you start painting, so it’s worth it.
If the wall is cracked, peeling or flaking, lightly sand the offending area until smooth. Any holes left behind by picture hooks or furniture should be filled in with putty (large holes will need more extensive repair). You’ll need to sand the area when the putty has dried.
All walls should be clean and free of dust. Wash down walls with sugar soap and wipe it over with a damp cloth to make sure the surface is completely clear.
If there’s anything you don’t want covered in paint, like a window frame or light switch, use painter’s masking tape to protect it ahead of time. Don’t forget to cover carpets and furniture with drop cloths, either. Even the steadiest hands sometimes slip, so don’t leave it to chance!
3. Use good quality paint and products
There’s a truism among professional painters. You’ll end up spending the same amount on paint whether you go cheap or pricey; it just depends how many coats you want to do. Good quality paint does cost more, but goes on more smoothly, with thicker coverage and less patchiness. You don’t need to buy top-of-the-line designer brands, but if you can afford to, a quality brand like Dulux or Taubmans will do a better job than a budget option.
Good quality is also important when it comes to the other equipment you’ll need. Well made painters’ tape does a better job of blocking out drips and comes off easily at the end. Good brushes are less likely to shed bristles into your paint and help achieve a smoother surface. Rollers with a thicker nap are ideal for getting into crevices and providing more substantial coverage.
Ask your local paint supplies store or hardware store for advice if you’re not sure what the best options are.
4. Don’t rush the edging
When painting a room, start with edging around the ceiling, doors and skirting boards. Many edging tools on the market help achieve a sharp cut edge, or you can use a small brush and a steady hand. This step will make an enormous difference to how professional your results are, so don’t rush. Other tips to help with a clean edge are:
• Use a small separate pot and only decant a small amount of paint at a time. This will help prevent you dipping the brush too deeply and causing drips.
• Choose an angled sash brush, rather than a straight-edge brush, for best results
• Use more painters tape to define the line
• Keep a damp cloth on hand to fix mistakes immediately, before they dry
5. Roll it on down
Once your edging is complete, work your roller from top to bottom. Drips are more likely to occur when your roller first makes contact with the wall. If that’s at the top, it’s easy to smooth them out as you proceed downwards. Painting over mistakes as you go is the best way to hide them, as they’re harder to fix once the paint starts to dry.
6. Let it dry
The wall will take between 24 and 48 hours to dry completely, depending on how many coats you’ve applied and how dry the environment is. During this time, be careful not to touch it or you’ll cause the paint to smear.
Only when it’s completely dry is it safe to remove the painter’s tape.
The only thing left? Stand back and admire your stunning new space!