Paint like a pro

Simple tips, tricks and techniques that will give you the perfect paint job–every time

By Jennifer Murray

paint roller

1 comment

Painting is one of the simplest and cheapest ways to change the look of your home. But if your paint job is less than stellar, those drips, washed-out spots and sloppy edges can mean the difference between a room that’s wow and a room that’s whoa.

Dave Tait, a DIYer who parlayed his skills into a career as a Toronto-area housepainter and handyman, shares his tips and tricks for painting success

Tait’s tools of the trade

– Painter’s tape
– 2 or 4mm plastic sheeting, old sheets or drop cloths to cover floors and furniture
– Paintbrushes
– Rollers (choose a roller appropriate to the paint finish)
– Paint tray

Tait says that choosing the right paintbrushes and rollers is essential for the DIYer. Angled brushes and other specialty tools are designed to be goof-proof, so really invest in quality tools. “Dollar-store brushes are OK if you’re painting a chair and you don’t care what it looks like,” he says. “But a pro knows how much paint to put on a brush, whereas a DIYer might not. Specialty brushes make it easier.”

Check out CHW’s top tools to get the job done.

Keep it neat

Cover existing furniture with drop cloths or plastic to keep it clean, and lay down plastic sheeting or old sheets to protect the floors, using painter’s tape to secure them. If you are not painting the entire room, tape around the areas that aren’t going to be painted. “It’s even a good idea to cover windows with plastic, to keep them from getting splattered,” Tait recommends.

Paint pointers

Step 1: Prep

Remove all electrical plates, wall decorations and light fixtures from the room to be painted; if the walls have any cracks or holes, use a putty knife to fill with spackling compound. “Sand down any rough areas such as baseboards,” says Tait, as well as any glossy surfaces. Wash walls with a detergent solution (such as TSP).

Step 2: Prime

Priming is crucial when making drastic colour changes: “For instance, if the wall colour is purple and you want to make it a lighter colour, you definitely have to prime it with a light-coloured primer or else the purple will show through,” Tait says.

Tait’s favourite time-saver is to always tint primer to match the new colour. Even if you are painting a light colour over another light colour, a tinted primer will reduce the number of coats needed to achieve the final shade. In general, you only need one coat of primer; if you are trying to cover a dark colour or are applying a dark colour, then you’ll need an extra coat.

Now that you’ve primed, it’s time to pick your paint. Once you’ve decided between oil and latex paint, there are other options to consider.

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Mar. 17, 2013

4:44 pm

Thanks for these tips.

I alway knew that I would have to prime, but the guy at the store insisted that his paint would cover it all???

Glad I did it your way.

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