Professionals, whether they are painters, singers, footballers or even baristas, make what they do for a living look easy. So much so that us mere mortals often fall into the trap of thinking we
can do it just as well.
Taking on a DIY painting project, whether to freshen up a room or finish off a renovation definitely falls into this category. It looks easy; it often feels easy while you are doing it. And then the paint dries and it looks nothing like you intended. Or within a few months you have paint peeling off the walls and discoloured patches appearing.
Our advice would be to always use a professional painter, but we know many of our clients are keen to take on this stage of a project themselves. So here are a few tips to help DIY painters achieve the best result possible.
Clean or Sand the Existing Paint
Your interior walls might look clean, but there will be a build up of dust, dirt and even grease in kitchens and adjoining areas that will have accumulated, often over years. Paint over it without cleaning or sanding the walls properly, and you could be left with unsightly ripple marks, discoloured patches and peeling surfaces.
Good old-fashioned sugar soap solution is the best cleaner to use for removing grease and oil stains, and the walls will need a really good scrub with it. For unstained areas the walls will benefit from a light sand down to give the new paint a good bonding surface and give a flatter surface. If the walls have been wet from cleaning – make sure the surface is dry before applying new paint.
Filling Holes and Imperfections
This is the bit that professional painters do with energy as soon as they start the work. Nothing gets applied until the walls are smooth and all damage repaired, nail & screw holes filled and the wall is ready for painting.
A fresh coat of paint will highlight any imperfections in your walls. Make sure to patch any holes, gaps or cracks with the appropriate filler for the job (your local hardware store will be able to advise on this) and then once it is dry, sand down with the appropriate grade of sanding paper – usually 120 grit paper does the job – to match the original surface.
For a quality paint job, remove all door furniture, handles, locks, striker plates etc so that painting can be carried out and then refit afterwards. This makes a big difference to the final appearance.
The importance of primer
However tempting it might be, don’t skip this stage. A quality undercoat ensures that your paint sticks to the walls and doesn’t peel or flake off. It also ensures that your paint is the same colour on your wall as it was on your sample card.
Painting older homes
If you are re-painting an older home it is really important to find out what kind of paint you will be painting over. Fortunately this is now relatively easy. If you take a few flakes of the existing finish along to a decent paint shop they will be able to identify it and advise on the best primer and paint to use.
This is an important step – paint technology has moved on considerably in the last decade. Painting over older oil-based finishes with some modern acrylic paints can result in discolouration or peeling if the wrong (or no) primer is used.
Finally, you are ready to start painting. But first remove or cover all your furnishings, and use canvas drop sheets on the floors. Furniture cam be covered with light weight plastic drop sheets (available from hardware stores) – use plenty as they are less than a dollar each. This might sound a bit extreme, but is necessary. Paint splatter and droplets travel a long way in every direction.
If your are feeling brave, are a patient individual, and have a lot of time on your hands, the tips above should definitely help you on your DIY painting journey. Alternatively, obtain a range of quotes from the professionals. And another tip – usually the cheaper quotes will be the ones where less preparation has been accounted for.
All the best, Martin
Categories: Home Repairs and Maintenance