Helpful painting steps

By the Paint Quality Institute

Prior experience is essential when tackling many home improvement projects. But not so with interior painting. Even first-time painters can get super results when painting their newly purchased house, condo or apartment…and have a lot of fun in the process. Whether personalizing an entire new living space or updating one room at a time, paint is the do-it-yourselfers best decorating tool.

“Like building a wardrobe, selecting a paint palette for your living space is a great form of personal expression. But be aware that the shade of paint you see on a color card – or even in the paint can -may look a lot different when applied to an entire room,” shares Debbie Zimmer, PQI’s color and paint expert. To avoid surprises, follow these handy tips:

1. Don’t make your final color selection in the store; instead, take color cards home so you can see them right in the space that will be painted.

2. Evaluate the paint colors in daylight and under artificial light at night. Colors can change quite dramatically in different lighting conditions.

3. Remember that colors tend to intensify when applied to a large area. To compensate, it is often wise to choose a lighter value of a color, rather than a darker one.

4. When you go to purchase your paint, the counterperson will likely ask which “gloss level” you’d prefer. Paints come in a variety of sheen or gloss levels ranging from “high gloss” (the shiniest) to “flat” (virtually no shine). Those with higher gloss reflect more light, so they can make a room look brighter. On the other hand, higher gloss paints also tend to highlight surface imperfections, so if your walls and other surfaces are not in the best of shape, a flat paint might be the better option.

5. Color and sheen aside, the most important decision you’ll make in the paint store is the quality of paint you purchase. According to Zimmer, top quality paints provide superior adhesion, offer better stain resistance, and resist yellowing. They also are tougher and more durable than ordinary paints, so they’ll keep a paint job looking great for a longer period of time. Bottom line: Don’t skimp on quality.

6. Before you leave the paint store, make sure that you have the right tools and brushes to do the job. Here again, quality counts – high quality brushes and rollers apply the paint more smoothly and evenly than economy-grade equipment. In addition, quality tools apply a heavier coat of paint that will help hide the color below, be more durable, and stand up better to cleaning and scrubbing.

7. Once you bring your purchases home, you’ll be tempted to start painting right away, but most walls and woodwork need to be cleaned first to help the paint adhere better. You can remove dust, dirt and grime with a simple detergent and water solution, after which you should rinse the surface clean and allow it to dry. If nail holes are present, they can be plugged with filling compound. Small cracks can be filled with a quality acrylic latex caulk.

8. Applying paint to interior walls is as simple as “framing” them by painting the outside edges with a brush, then filling in the center with your roller. An effective way to do this is to roll on the paint in a large “W” or “M” pattern, then fill it in, working in various directions.

9. When you’re done painting, protect your investment in the brushes and rollers by cleaning and storing them properly.

10. Always take safety precautions while painting. That means, among other things, not climbing a ladder any higher than the third rung from the top, making sure all stepstools are sturdy and locked into position before use, and wearing the proper eye and skin protection while preparing the surface and painting.

For detailed information on paint, painting, and color selection, visit, where a great paint job begins.

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