Sunday, March 22, 2009

Painting: Tools

Whenever I engage on a painting project, my first reaction is that "I really hate to paint", actually, I don't think that is true...I think I really enjoy painting. I don't like the prep work and the mess! The reason I do it anyway is because I always love the result.

Some of things that I have learned to make my job easier:
  • Have the right tools. The first thing everyone does is to buy a paint roller and paint pan. If you are using a roller, especially if you are buying it in a kit, make sure it is right for the project. If the walls or ceiling are heavily textured, you want a thick roller. If not, a thinner one. They hold a LOT of paint.
  • I like to use a paint "pad". They come in all sizes and shapes. I usually use one about mid-size, perhaps 4"x6". The reason for I choose to use this rather than a roller: the roller gets heavy when filled with paint, it also splatters paint back on me. I personally feel that the pad gives me more control on how much paint I am applying, it doesn't splatter, and cleans up easier. I also find that when cleaning it, I am rinsing out a lot less paint.
  • A paint stick for stirring the paint.
  • A container for pouring my paint without a lot of mess. These can be purchased. A lot of paint now comes with a "pour spout" or you can simply take a funnel and a old plastic milk carton (clean) and pour your paint in it. By doing this, I don't have paint dripping down the side of the can or caught in the grooves of the lid. I can pour some paint in my pan, put the top tightly on my container. I find I don't dump as much paint into the pan and having it dry out.
  • Good Brushes. Buy a couple of good brushes, they really make a difference when painting. It is really annoying to do all the work and see brush strokes when your done or to have bristles stuck in the paint. Just remember to always clean them well and you can keep them for many painting projects. My personal favorites are the smaller ones, 1" - 2". I also like them to have a slant, but that is less important than the quality. I feel I have better control of the smaller brush when doing detail work like painting close to moldings, or edging areas like where the wall and ceiling meet.
  • Artist brush. I like to have a very fine brush also - similar size to a watercolor brush in a children's paint set. Actually, just a bit larger with good bristles. The reason I use this is for my final touch-ups, usually where the wall and ceiling meet and it is sometimes hard to be perfectly straight.
  • Latex gloves. I buy a box of latex disposable gloves. They are really inexpensive. Know matter how hard I try, I get paint on me! If I wear the gloves, they are so thin that they don't interfere with my work. I don't get paint on my hands and inevitably touch something and get paint on that too. If I take a break or change tasks, I can pull of the gloves. Sometimes, I can put on the same pair, but if they are "messy", I use a new pair.
  • Blue painter's tape. The blue tape is "painter's tape". I'm all for saving money, but not here. It is so important to tape off any areas that you don't want to paint, or to "edge" a ceiling, or protect a molding from paint. Be sure when you tape, that you run your hand over it so it is absolutely adhering to the surface. It is so much easier to prevent a mishap than to remove paint (even if it is water soluble). Believe me, I HATE to tape, but I have learned when it is important to use. I have also tried using "masking tape" or other types if I've run short or because I had it on hand. A definite mistake....not only will I have paint "seepage", but removing the "other" tape can really mess up my work.
  • Drop Cloth. You can buy may sizes and types of drop cloths. I have had room -size ones that prevent the paint from "soaking in" if spilled. They are great, not terribly expensive and especially good if you are doing a lot of painting. Of course, they will last forever! Removing spilled paint from a carpet, could mean new carpet. If you have hardwoods, tile or vinyl it is simpler, but still "a pain in the butt" job that you didn't need! If you don't have a drop cloth of this type, or don't want the expense, look around your house---don't just leave the floors uncovered and left to fate! Personally, I prefer a cloth that is not room-sized, they are just easier for me to work with. I prefer to use smaller ones, sometimes more than one or move them. If I haven't had the cloths, I've used really old towels and sometimes large pieces of cardboard or "Kraft" paper.
  • A ladder. Unless you play for the NBA you will need some type of ladder, preferably one with wide steps because you will be on it often. It is amazing how you can feel muscles you didn't know you had because you've been balancing on a ladder for most of a day. If you are going to paint every room in a house or a "foyer", you may have to rent scaffolding. Actually, in some houses "with fabulous entries", the ceilings are so high and some areas almost impossible to paint. I would strongly suggest hiring a paint contractor. This kind of do-it-yourself project is neither fun or safe without the proper equipment. Falling off a tall ladder or stretching to reach the impossible can and often does end up at the hospital!
  • Zip-lock bags. I always have plastic bags by my supplies when I paint. If I need to break for awhile or even overnight, I can place my brushes, my paint pad, roller in a plastic bag. When I am ready to go back to work, I just remove the bag.
  • Screwdriver. It is just simpler to remove all the switch plates, etc., around the room than to tape around them. The details are important to the quality of the paint job. If it can come off, or down without a great effort, it is often easier than avoiding getting paint on it.
  • Old clothes. No matter what I paint or how careful I think I am going to be...I will get paint on my clothes! So because I am no longer kidding myself, I wear clothes that are comfortable and don't matter!
  • Slip-on shoes. I usually don't wear shoes when I paint, but rather keep shoes by the door of the room I am working in. This is entirely personal preference. If I step in paint on my drop cloth with my shoes on, I probably won't notice it and then track it elsewhere. If I am wearing socks or barefoot, I will usually feel the paint on my foot before I track it somewhere else. With my shoes by the door, I can slip into them to walk to other parts of the house...if I do have paint on my sock, it might be in my shoe, but not all over my carpet!
  • Radio. I really like to have a radio on so I can sing along while I work. I have tried the tv, but I never look at it and it just becomes noise. Music on the other hand, makes the time go quickly and me "upbeat".

OK... so remove everything you can from the room. If you can't remove it, cover it. Before you think about opening the can of paint, be sure your the surface you are painting is clean and dry! No point in doing all the work, if the paint can't adhere to the surface.

If your surface has been painted in a bright color such as a red, you will want to use a primer to keep the old color from "bleeding" through to your new color. It is always nice to use a primer, but really not necessary if; for example, the walls are a neutral color.

1 comment:

  1. I love the idea of leaving slip on shoes outside the room you are painting!