How to paint like an expert
Gemma Cheney, a specialist in interior finishes, on where to start and how to make your redecorating job as professional as possible
OK, so you're finally ready to paint. That still doesn't mean picking up a paintbrush right away. Like Melinda says, preparation is everything. So first set up a big (covered) table and lay out the following tools on it: your dust mask, filling knives and filler, paint scrapers, dusting brushes, a mixing board made of MDF, sandpaper (which, of course, comes in different grades - I use 180 for a rough wall, 120 for a normal wall), masking tape, paint brushes (Purdy brushes are a good brand) - and last but not least, your paint (including white emulsion for the "miscoat"). You can get this all from any good DIY shop.
Wear your favourite old painting clothes and some old trainers too (shoes get spattered as well). Move most of the furniture out of the room and roll up the carpet/rugs. Push the remaining furniture into the middle of the room and cover it with a dustsheet. Put newspaper down in the area you are painting.
Assuming you are painting the walls of a room, you could take the radiators off the wall so they don't get in the way. Make sure you turn off the heating system and let it cool down, then turn off the valves at each end of the radiator and drain it before trying to remove it. If you're less fussed about what's hidden behind your radiators, simply invest in a radiator roller set.
Use masking tape to tape skirting boards to the floor and around the windows, door frames and ceiling.
Before painting, I use decorators' caulk to fill in any gaps between the skirting board and walls, and down the side of window frames.
Then prep the walls by rubbing them with sandpaper and dusting them off with a brush - try to get one with a lily bristle. Work methodically, so you can keep track of what part of the room you have done. If you are sanding the ceiling, use a pole with a pad on top, covered with sandpaper. Or use a tall ladder to get up close..
After sanding, I like to apply a miscoat of white emulsion (like a white wash) to the walls, which gives a blank surface to start on and see where to fill any imperfections. For the miscoat, take an empty bucket and one part emulsion to three parts water. To fill any holes, mix up your powder filler on the wooden board, make a hole in the middle, add water and mix it into a paste. After the filler has dried, sand the wall down and then dust it off. Use the filler to help when painting edges, too: run filler along the edge at the top and bottom of walls, then rub it down. You're left with a nice clean edge to brush in.
Top tips to finish like a champion
1. Cutting in
When you are painting the internal corner of a wall, where the wall meets the ceiling at a right angle, it's best to use a painting technique called "cutting in". To cut in, paint along the top of the wall in a horizontal line, keeping the edge of the brush tight to the ceiling using firm and steady strokes to give you a nice straight edge. "This technique is particularly handy if the ceiling is one colour and the wall another" says property developer Phil Turner, who has appeared on numerous DIY programmes. "It prevents any paint spilling over and gives you a nice edge to paint the rest of the wall from. Use the technique along skirting boards and windows too."
2. Pantyhose preserver
You'll find when you open a tin of paint that a top layer of skin has formed. Remove this by straining the paint. Place a piece of old stocking, cheesecloth, tights material or pantyhose over your paint bucket and strain the paint through. You can also try turning the paint upside-down for a few seconds while it's still in the tin, (obviously with the lid on tight).
3. Nap selection
In roller speak, the nap is the thickness of the sleeve. When buying your paint roller, follow this rule: for rough and uneven surfaces use a greater nap.
4. High roller
Before you begin painting the ceiling, it's worth buying an extension handle for your roller. These are easy to get hold of. Being so high up, you won't want to lug a heavy paint tin up the ladder, so transfer some of it into a smaller container (eg, a big yoghurt pot).
5. White magic
White paint can be tricky because it's hard to keep track of where you've painted. Luckily there is such a thing as magic white paint. It goes on pink and then fades white as it dries. Try Dulux Magic.
6. By George
A paint shield, or George as its known in the trade, helps to protect the skirting board from any sprays of paint. Hold it against the skirting while you paint above.
7. Paint spills
Surprisingly, cat litter soaks up spilled paint a treat. Try to contain the spill first, then pour a generous amount of cat litter on to it. If the paint has dried into the flooring, pour paint thinner on to the stain before throwing on the cat litter. Wait overnight and then clean up the spot.
8. Look after your paint
Keep your paint overnight in an airtight container. Make a note of the colour and room it is being used in so you don't get confused. Don't store paint in your garage; it will get cold in winter or too hot in summer and paint doesn't survive well in extreme conditions. Stop your paint from drying out: cover the tin with a layer of clingfilm, before putting the lid back on and store upside down.
9. Don't throw it away
Never pour leftover paint down the drain. Instead, donate it to a recycling scheme such as communityrepaint.org.uk. Take all paint donations in a sealed paint tin, and make sure you write the colour of the paint on it if the label is no longer visible.
10. Spruce up your brushes
Rub excess paint off brushes on to newspaper. For emulsion paint, just use soap and water for the brushes, rinse them under clean, warm water and pat dry with a paper towel. For oil paints use white spirit to rinse the brushes through and then press them dry with paper towels. For any hardened paint, try dipping the brush in paint remover to soften it. Don't allow the brush to soak for too long or you could damage the bristles. Repeat as required then rinse the brush in hot soapy water and hang up to dry, bristles downwards. For long-term storage, wrap brushes or rollers in clingfilm or baking foil.
· Carlene Thomas-Bailey
Paint pad ...
Flat, rectangular decorator's tools, with a foam front to spread the paint. They create less mess than rollers, giving smooth, even coverage, but you have to dip them in paint more often. If you do use a paint pad, pour paint in the applicator tray and the in-built roller to load up the paint and remove any excess. It's best to start in a corner and work in strips.
A common tool for covering large areas. When using the roller, dip it in paint tray, don't overload it, apply with a light, even pressure.
If you want to use a paintbrush, dust it against your palm to remove any loose bristles before painting. Dip it in the paint, to cover one-third of the bristle depth, rub it against the side to remove excess and then apply to the wall.
You can find the original article here: How to paint like an expert