Get It Right the First Time: Interior Painting Tips for Beginners

Painting a room can be intimidating, especially if you have never painted before. If you follow some simple steps before you start painting, however, you can create a great new look at an affordable price.

The first and most important step is choosing the right kind of paint. Oil-based paint can be applied over water-based (also known as latex) paint, but not the other way around; applying latex paint over an oil-based paint will result in peeling. You can test your current paint by cleaning a small area with soap and water, dipping a cotton ball or rag into rubbing alcohol or acetone, and rubbing the cotton ball on your painted surface. If the cotton ball removes the old paint, the paint is latex. If it does not remove the paint, the paint is oil-based.

If your current paint is latex, you want to stick with a water-based paint moving forward. Latex paint is easier to clean up and dries more quickly than oil-based paint. This ensures an easier first-time painting experience for you and/or your family.

Next, it’s important to pick the right paint color. Talk to your local experts to find out what colors will work well over your existing paint. Though dark paint may cover pre-existing shades more easily than lighter colors, it is important to remember that you may need multiple coats. Picking the right color can help you get great results with only one or two coats of paint.

Finally, you want the right sheen for your home. Paint comes in different finishes or sheens. They not only look different, but wear differently as well. The shinier the finish, the easier it is to clean. Most people, however, prefer a flatter-looking finish on their walls. If you’re looking to make clean-up a breeze, we suggest eggshell or even satin for walls, especially in high-traffic areas. On woodwork, we recommend using satin or gloss finishes. Flat finishes give a great look, but should be saved for low-traffic areas.

You will also need the right supplies, some of which will depend on the condition of your walls. Here’s what we recommend:

  • TSP Wall Cleaner
  • Sponges
  • Spackle
  • Spackle Knives
  • Fine Grit Sandpaper
  • Paint Brushes
  • Rollers
  • Roller Covers
  • Extension Poles
  • Tarps
  • Painting Tape
  • Paint Stirrers

The texture of your wall makes a difference. Consult with painting professionals to figure out what nap you should have on your rollers and what brushes are the best-suited to your project. While it is not necessary to buy the most expensive painting supplies, you shouldn’t buy the cheapest ones at a big box store either. You want quality supplies that will not lose their bristles as you paint.

Start by thoroughly cleaning the walls. Paint adheres better to clean surfaces, so it’s important to make time for this step. A TSP-based cleaner will do the job.

Next, check the condition of your walls. Fill any holes using spackle and a spackle knife and smooth the surface as much as possible. Allow it to dry, then smooth it completely using fine grit sandpaper. Once you have sanded, clean that area again.

Now you’re ready to prepare the area. Use painter’s tape to keep paint from getting onto other surfaces. Make sure your lines are neat and that your tape is secure. Usually, you will tape all of the trim and all along the adjacent ceiling. Then, place tarps in the room. Paint will splatter, so it is crucial that you protect the floor and furniture.

Do your walls need a primer? Many modern paints contain primers in them, so you can paint and prime in one step. If your paint does not include a primer, then you will need to use a primer as your first coat. Primer ensures that the paint adheres to the surface and provides the best coverage.

Now you are ready to open your paint. When you buy paint from the store, they mix it in a special machine that is designed to blend it thoroughly. However, the pigment will settle quickly so we recommend using your paint stirrers to remix it. If your paint has been sitting for a while, take it back to the store where you purchased it. Most stores will re-shake the paint for you, so you can start with a thoroughly blended product. If you have multiple cans of paint, you may be surprised to know that they can be slightly different colors. You can combine them in even parts in one container to make sure you are getting a consistent color throughout your room.

To save time and effort, use a roller for most of your painting. With a roller and roller cover, you can paint most of the walls, especially if you use an extension pole. If you’re painting a large area, you may want to roll it into sections. After you have rolled the bulk of the wall, you can tackle the perimeter. This is called cutting in, and it helps blend the paint. Cutting in while the paint is still wet will make the finished product look like a single coat.

Clean up quickly after you finish painting. Wash your brushes and rinse them thoroughly. A gentle detergent works well for this. Let brushes and rollers air dry before storing. Wash your other equipment the same way.

Let your walls dry before removing the painter’s tape, but do not let it sit longer than 24 hours after your project is complete. While modern painter’s tape is designed for easy removal, the longer you let it sit, the greater your chance of pulling away new paint when you remove it.

Ready to get started? Contact us today with any questions, concerns, or ideas. At Heiler Painting, we are here for all of your painting needs.

Find out why Heiler Painting is considered the best house painting contractors in Philadelphia. Our proven process ensures your painting project will be handled properly and your home will be treated with the care it deserves.

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