Painting Interior Walls – A Guide on Materials, Tools and Preparation

Painting interior walls is one of the easiest ways to add new life to a bland space and can be accomplished by even the most inexperienced person with advice in this article, written by  a skilled professional. Once you implement this information and in effect build up a new confidence, you will be able to tackle more advanced painting projects around the house. Now let’s get you on your way to creating more enjoyable spaces and possibly adding a little equity to your home in the process. Step 1: Preparation, the key to a successful paint job is to take the correct steps when preparing the job. Preparation for this article, has two parts, the first part is wall prep. The walls you are going to paint may have nail holes or imperfections that need to be filled before you paint. The proper way to fill them, if they are smaller is with water putty, by simply forcing a little bit of the putty in the hole and breaking it off flush with the surface. For larger depressions, use a drywall compound or spackle, which may require a second application to fully fill the indentation and make the repair/”patch”  flush with the wall.Once the drywall compound/spackle has had sufficient time to dry, you will need to lightly sand the surface of the repair to smooth out any ridges that may have been caused while “coating” the patch. Once you have the surface sanded smooth,  take a wet sponge or cloth and, by lightly washing/rubbing,  blend the outside edge of the drywall compound/spackle back into the wall.  For a smaller repair,  you can wash away the excess drywall compound, leaving only the compound/spackle only in the area where the indent was filled. For a larger hole, after filling, sanding and using a wet sponge to blend the outside edge of the compound back into the wall, it may be necessary to texture the area in order to give the smooth patch the appearance of the existing wall.There are many different kinds of textures, a smooth wall -which is really a “non-texture,” will only need to be sanded and the outside edges sponged before painting over it. Hand texture which is easily reproduced by applying drywall compound with a drywall knife and troweling the compound on the patched area to simulate the existing wall texture. A rolled on texture is applied by rolling on some thinned down drywall compound or dry mix that water is added to  -the thickness of the compound or dry mix will determine the heaviness of the texture. Some variations of roll on textures have a rough sand granule appearance and both dry mix types can be purchased at most local hardware stores, large hardware depots or at local paint stores, where you will also be able to find spray cans of orange peel or knock down texture.  Always make sure to shake the can for a couple of minutes, then test out the spray pattern on a piece of cardboard or scrap sheet of drywall before trying to simulate it on the wall. Orange peel is just sprayed on and left to dry, you will need to experiment so you can adjust the spray nozzle to simulate the texture as close as possible to the size/pattern of the existing wall.Knock down texture is basically a orange peel that is sprayed on and allowed to “set-up” for a minute or two then gently “knocked down” by running a 6″ drywall knife over it, “knocking down” the surface of the texture. Although knock down is a flattened version of orange peel, I suggest you do not use a spray can of orange peel, the knock down comes in its own spray can and the results are much better, again experiment before spraying it on the wall.  However, If ever you apply any of the textures to the wall and are not satisfied with the results, wash the texture off immediately before it dries, then allow the wall to dry and try it again. Once you have the texture applied to your liking and you have allowed it to dry, you may want to paint the patches a couple of time before painting the entire wall, especially for walls where the paint to be applied will have some sheen.  Multiple coats on these areas will make them blend in, unnoticeable, with the rest of the wall. You will know if the patches need more coats of paint, because the patch/texture will have absorbed the paint causing the spot to look duller than the rest of the existing wall.The second part of preparation is surface prep, it addresses covering the surfaces you do not want to get any paint on. A little plastic sheeting will go along way to keeping paint off of floors, window coverings, handrails, cabinets, counter tops, etc… And, if you are not confident with your ability to paint a straight line next to door casing, baseboards, cabinets or hardware protect these surfaces using masking tape. There are two basic types of masking tape white/yellow and blue. The white tape sticks to surfaces better but, can pull off finishes on cabinets or stained woodwork. Blue tape usually will not pull off finishes but, does not stick as well, this will probably be the tape to use for most applications. Always wipe down or dust the surface you will be masking to assure the best tape adhesion possible. If you use blue tape you may need to re-rub down the tape before painting next to it, only mask off areas with blue tape that you will be painting for a given day. With either tapes, do not assume the are a force field that paint will not penetrate, use them as a reference and dry brush the paint next to the edge of the tape and avoid soaking the edge of the tape with a lot of paint, this will cause the paint to “bleed” through giving you an undesired look.  If you will need to apply multiple coats of paint, on the first coat, paint as close to the tape as you can, not really getting paint on the tape. With the second coat or a one coat application, you can use the tape more of like a paint barrier and get a little more paint on the tape if you immediately remove each section of tape after painting the section, this will keep the paint from sitting on the tape and “bleeding” behind it. Also, if you get a lot of paint on the tape it is not good to let the paint dry on the tape because some paints (especially the glossier paints) will peel if allowed to dried, with the tape when it is pulled off. White tape should not be left on for longer than a couple of days and I suggest not leaving it on more than a day in areas that receive long periods of direct sunlight. Blue tape can be left on for days, if it will stay on, there again it does not stick as well and may need rubbed down again immediately before painting up next to it.   Step 2: Materials and their application, every paint manufacturers paint will vary. If you are freshening up old walls and painting back to the existing color, the product doesn’t have to be high end or have good coverage.  If you need to paint  a dark color over light color or light color over dark, you may want to consider purchasing a top quality paint to avoid multiple coats. I suggest Valspar, Pittsburgh or Benjamin Moore top of the line wall paint. These brands work well for straight out of the bucket use and are application friendly.  Sherwin Williams is not my first choice because the coverage is poor and you will have to apply multiple coats but, it does apply, fluently. If you find a  product does not apply well, maybe it is to heavy and/or sagging on the wall, you may need to thin the paint with a little water, this will reduce the coverage but make the paint flow better and lay down nicer on the surface. I do recommend latex paints for all applications, these days a good high end latex is as good as oil paint and your tools clean up much easier, it will also be less harsh on the respiratory system. The only situation I recommend oil paint, is as a primer/stain blocker over stains that  “bleed” through the paint. You can get a stain blocking oil primer in a convenient spray can and spot prime any trouble areas before painting and in the case you need to prime all of the wall due to smoke or water damage, I recommend getting it in gallons and rolling it on where the stains are present. Don’t forget proper ventilation and/or a respirator when using the oil based primers!Proper brush technique: When “cutting in” with a paint brush you should dip the brush in paint and tap the sides of the bucket on each side of the brush, leaving a good amount on the brush so you are able to minimize the times you will need to dip/load the brush. Next, take the brush and make a one foot to two foot line down the wall about an inch or two away from the trim or surface you are going to paint up next to, this is much like taking a knife full of butter and spreading it across an entire slice of bread. After, spreading the paint over the section, go back and even the paint out evenly across the section and cut up next to the trim with the brush. You want to paint up next to the trim or surfaced to be cut-in with the paint brush after you have released most of the paint on the wall,  it is easier to cut in with the tips of the brush exposed and not loaded with a lot of paint.Proper rolling technique: When rolling paint on the wall, get the roller skin evenly loaded with paint and make a V,N or M pattern on the wall, this is to spread the paint across the entire section you will be rolling, then roll back across the section and even out the paint. To properly “lay off” each section,  make a final pass of the section applying light pressure to the roller frame arm end of the roller skin and bringing the nap mark (mark created on the pressure applied side of roller skin) across from the beginning of the section to the end of the section, and just repeat all the way down the wall.The V,N or M pattern, will be determine by how far the paint will spread, a V is for less spreading paint and M is for farther spreading paints. Do not  “dry roll”, which means trying to roll to much of a section at once with very little paint on the roller. Just as important, do not apply to much, if you find you are applying to much, increase the size of the section you are painting i.e. from a V pattern to an N or a N pattern to a M.* TIP* -It can be easier to roll first and then you will know exactly what you have to go back and cut-in with the brush. If you will need to put a ladder on the wall, then cut-in first and roll after you use the ladder to prevent marking the finish painted wall with the ladder. If you are using darker paints colors with a lot of tint/colorant, It will look better if you cut-in first and roll up as close as possible to cover up as much of the brushed/cut-in mark.This will keep the shadowing affect that shows between the cut-in and roller, down to a minimal and thus less noticeable.  Step 3: Tools, there is a wide variety of brushes and rollers to choose from, it is critical to select quality tools and maintain them. We will discuss brushes first, I use and recommend only Purdy brand brushes, they will give you the best results in terms of coverage and make the project go much easier and quicker. A Purdy brush is a little more expensive but if kept clean promptly after each use and stored properly, it will last for years and many projects. Most any other brushes out there, especially the cheap ones, are made of far inferior hair and I liken them to using a hand (or whisk) broom to paint with. Using lower quality tools will only frustrate you and lead you to assume that you are incapable of painting. You are capable! and the proper tools, materials, and advise are all you need. If your painting project will be on going for a couple of days, you can wet the brush with paint, wrap the brush up in a plastic sandwich bag and tape the plastic bag to the handle above the metal ferrule. Sealing it up will keep it from drying out, storing it flat will maintain the shape and permit you to use it for a couple of days without cleaning it. Because, after a couple of days or if it has had extended use on a hot day, it will loose its shape and start to collect a lot of dried paint on the hair, you should clean it with warm water and a wire brush. Once you have ran some water through the brush hair, the wire brush will then be used to remove the dried paint from the hair. Always run the wire brush down the entire length of the hair and never across it, to prevent crimping and damaging the hair. After you get the brush clean, spin it between your two hands, shedding as much water as possible from it. Then, using the wire brush again, comb the hair, shape/style the hair with your hands and lay it flat to dry. Once dry, if you will not be using the paint brush again soon, protect it by storing it in the paper shuck/cover that it came in and it will be like new the next time you use it.The correct roller to use depends on the texture of the wall. On smooth walls you will need a 1/2″ nap and on textured surfaces it will be more like a 3/4″ – 1″ nap depending on how rough the texture is. I always recommend a lamb skin, it will lay the paint off the best and provide maximum coverage. A roller pole is also great for saving your back, shoulder and arms from repetitious bending over and extension. If you will be using the roller for a couple of days, the same rule applies as with the brush, seal it in plastic completely to preserve it for the next day. Do not leave the roller submersed in paint or water over night, this will cause premature failure, by releasing the skin from the hardboard backing it is attached to. If you will be rolling a rough texture, like a stucco, make sure to purchase a roller frame (arm) that is sturdy and will hold up to constant applied pressure.*Final tip* -Always have the right height ladder for the job, stretching to reach a wall is dangerous and will fatigue the back, arms and shoulders. Select a ladder rated for the amount of weight you will be using on it. If you don’t feel confident on a ladder it’s probably not safe to be on it.Now, armed with useful tips and practical information, you are ready to get your paint on and make those grand home improvement ideas, reality. Go put on some old clothes from the closet that you have been meaning to give to Goodwill, the looser the better to allow for maximum movement and reach. Make sure and have a couple of rags handy, these could be some old cut up t-shirts. Plan out the process, have all your tools and equipment gathered together, keep steady at the project (and on the ladder) and don’t leave any open buckets in the way to be accidentally knocked over. Please visit and join our blog or offer feedback to this article or any other subject.

Discover the Best Application Techniques For Applying Acrylic Paints

Simple Techniques You Can Use To Create That Professional Looking Finish When Painting Your Home. Acrylic Paints are by far the easiest painting products to work with. Acrylic is easy to clean up, it dries quickly and doesn’t run or sag, unless you apply crazy amounts or unless moisture and cold weather gets to it. It’s really easy to apply, spread out and work with. So really, how hard can it be?To be honest, for most who have never been taught the basics it can be really difficult. I often cringe when I see non qualified people painting. Maybe it’s a pride issue, I don’t know and I don’t mean to be harsh, after all they are trying their best, but some of the techniques they use leave a lot to be desired. Painting the correct way isn’t hard, it just takes a bit of practice, but first we have to see what bad habits you have picked up and what your application techniques actually are. Then I can show you the correct way.Once you get a few of these basics down and had a little practice, then painting with acrylic will quickly become easy and you will be applying paint with a professional, quality finish every time.1) – First things first – To paint acrylic well, you have to paint like you aren’t paying for the paint! If you want a nice paint finish then you need to apply the right amount of paint. You should never spread paint out thinly because you want to save some money or for any other reason. It simply doesn’t work, it will leave you with a coat of paint that you can see through, looks scratchy, has an uneven finish, or is simply very ordinary looking. To paint well, forget about the cost of the paint and apply a nice, even, thick coat. Of course not too think or else it will all end up sagging off your wall, but we will get to how much is the right amount as we go.2) – How to apply acrylic paints correctly using a brush When I was taught how to paint I was made to do everything with a 3 inch (7mm) brush. This includes cutting in, painting windows, Glossing off wood work, everything.Now, while I don’t expect you to have the same control over a brush that this exercise taught me, it will help you to understand some of the differences between the over all finish that a DIY person using cheap, little, fiddly brushes will get versus a painter taught the correct way using the correct equipment. The number one reason for being taught this way is that you can achieve a much nicer finish with a bigger 3 inch brush than what you can with a little brush. The second reason and it is also a big factor is that it’s much quicker once you develop the skill required to cut in with a bigger brush. Good quality little brushes have their place for fiddly work but the majority of your acrylic painting should be done with a 3 inch brush.So what is a good quality brush then? Painting with a bargain shop $2 or $3 brush is going to produce a really crap finish. Use these types of brushes for washing engine parts!As I have stated before in other articles, I favour the Purdy range of brushes. They are fantastically constructed, they narrow down to a thin point for cutting in at the tip of the bristles, they hold their shape extremely well and usually come with a nifty storage cover designed to hold the shape of the bristles during storage. This is so that you don’t set about to start painting, pull out your collection of brushes from the shed to find the bristles are now bent in all directions except a usable one. But here is the best part about the Purdy’s! With the proper care and correct use these brushes last for years! I have been using one of these 3 inch types just like the one you can see on this page for 8 Years!!! That’s the same brush not different brushes! 8 years, now that’s a good quality brush!!! Get yourself a decent brush it’s essential for creating a good painting finish.Method for painting acrylic with a brush: Now when it comes to applying paint with a brush, I find that most people dip the paint into their pot and then straight away wipe it all off again on the side of the pot??? The next problem is they like to use very short stokes with the brush and go back and forth. Hmm. This is how to do it properly. Lets presume that you are painting a wall and you have your painting pot, paint and a 3 inch brush ready to go.Fill the pot up with only about 100mm or 4 inches of paint leaving enough room up the side of the pot to “tap” your brush against the side.Next you dip the bristles of your brush no more than 1/2 way into the paint tap both of the flat sides of you brush 2 or 3 times against one side of your pot (this keeps your pot relatively clean.)With either of the thin edges of your bristles as the leading edge( or pointing in the direction you are going to move the brush. Apply straight to the wall about 50mm or 2 inches from the surface you intend to cut into and wipe the bristles about 1 arms length across the surface.Next you are going to spread the paint up towards the line you are going to cut into. Once you have cut in a nice straight line, which just takes practice. Then finish off the entire arms length stroke with a light even pressured stroke. That’s it just one stroke over the whole surface you have just painted two max. This leaves a nice even finish making sure that you haven’t left any “fat” edges or stop start marks which look horrible when the paint dries. if you have any fat edges left after this, then just wipe over them again with your brush in long strokes.The whole length of your cutting in should be about 100 – 150mm or 4 – 6 inches wide and about one arms length long with no fat edges and a nice even finish free of stop start marks. Its important To make sure that you remove all stop/start marks ensure that the finishing stroke goes back in the direction of your previously painted surface, not towards the direction that you are about to paint next. always go back into your work with a long stroke to finish off.3) – How To Apply Acrylic Paint Using A Roller Again there are many bad habits when it comes to using a roller to apply acrylic paints and also the tools that you use will make a huge difference too.These are the tool that I suggest you use for your painting project. Thickness of the roller – For interior acrylic paints on a normal wall/ceiling – 11mm nap/pile (that’s the length of the wool – I only use the wool roller sleeves I can’t stand foam or the man made fibres) Length of the roller sleeve. – I always use the 270mm roller sleeves which is the largest sleeve and frame combo that you can buy. Why waste time with a smaller one?The type of roller tray that you use is a big factor on how easy your job is going to run. many of them are just rubbish and cause you more spillage and headache than anything else. there are a few different one that painters use. My personal favourite, and unfortunately I can’t supply with a photo so you will have to put up with my lame description is a curved well type. From the side on view where you pour the paint into looks a bit like a “C” with a tray coming of the bottom of the “C”. I will take a photo of a nice clean new one and post it here for you to see. This type reduces the spills and accidents immensely plus it has a handle underneath so that when you pick it up all the paint sits in the Well and doesn’t spill everywhere. They are great!!Extension Poles – they are a must! Using an extension pole is essential for creating a professional finish to your wall. If you don’t use them it will take you all day to do a 5 – 10 minute job and the finish will be uneven and very amateurish. The bottom line if you want nice even & professional finish to your newly rolled surface get yourself a good twist lock or extendable roller pole.The Roller Frame that you use isn’t overly important but there are a few things to keep in mind. With the cheap roller frames often after a bit of use they start to bleed a grease that mixes with the paint and causes grey splatters of tainted grey paint on your nice new wall. While this is really annoying it can be avoided most of the time by getting a better quality roller frame. Apart from that I don’t have a favourite type that I would recommend.Method for painting acrylic with a roller: Make sure you are wearing old clothing & have remove any nice jewelry that you don’t want spattered with paint, you have a good quality drop cloth down on the floor and covering your furniture. Rollers tend to spray lots of little paint flecks so cover everything up. Now after stirring your paint, pour some into you tray but don’t fill it right up to maximum capacity. You need to have a little bit of room to work with, so just full up the Well of your tray not the flat tray it self. Next rinse the roller sleeve under some cold water and spin out excess water this is just to dampen the wool which stops the paint from drying hard at the base of the wool fibers.attach the extension pole and adjust to fit your size. When rolling you want to stand about 1 metre away from the wall and be easily able to reach all the way up to the ceiling without stretching and all the way down to the top of the skirting boards without bending over. Now load up your roller with paint. Start by placing your clean sleeve on the flat tray and role into the paint coating smaller amounts of the sleeve at a time until full (should take about 5 or 6 dips to do this) Never just plunge the entire roller sleeve into the paint nor do you roll back towards you on the tray, always roll towards the paint well this will keep the paint from dripping over the edge of the tray and making a big mess.once the roller sleeve is nice and evenly coated all over then apply to the wall. Start about 200mm or 8 inches away from the corner of the wall and about knee height and roll up wards until you get about 3/4 of the way up the wall. leave it for the moment and re fill your roller and apply in the same fashion starting about knee height and about 150mm further across the wall from your last roller full. Next you want to spread it out evenly. After the 2nd applying roll, take your roller off the wall go back to the starting point of your first roll. Applying a firm even pressure roll up towards the cornice but this time roll it a bit closer to the cornice but not up to the final height yet, stay down about 150mm for now. Then roll down and across to the starting point of your second applying roll, again rolling it up to the cornice again staying down about 150mm from it. then roll back down and across to the starting point and down to the skirting board.Now that the majority of your paint is spread out you need to push it out the the edges of your wall. so roll the paint gently out to about 30mm above the skirting board edge of your wall and the same up below the cornice. The trick is to avoid fat edges so lighten the pressure you are applying to the roller as you approach the edges and finish with a very light pressure as you rebound and roll back in the opposite direction. So – As you roll down to the skirting board start lightening your pressure about 300mm or 1ft above the skirting board and as you get to the bottom it should be just the weight of the roller on the wall as you stop your downwards roll and start rolling back up the wall.When spreading the paint to the outside edges or as you are pushing the paint into the corners of your wall you want to make sure you aren’t pushing copious amount o paint into the corners to make fat edges. For the edges of your wall make sure the side of your roller frame that the sleeve slides up against or the side that disappears into the sleeve is facing away from the wall. (you should always lead with the edge. that means have it facing the over all direction that you are painting) Now push gently and tilting the pole away from the edge that you are rolling into (this will lift the pressure on the edge of the roller closest to the internal corner of the wall and reduce the risk of creating a fat edge in that corner). Roll gently taking your time not to get too close to the other wall.Now that the paint is evenly spread across the wall and all the surfaces are covered you need to apply the finishing roll. This is other wise known as “laying it off” with your now emptied roller start about half a roller width from the corner of the wall at about waist height. Again make sure the part of your frame which going inside the roller sleeve is facing towards the direction that you will applying your next roller full to. Now again slightly tilt the roller pole making your trailing edge of the roller sleeve light to avoid leaving a line of paint. Now roll up and into the top corner of your wall then roll down along the wall taking care again not to get it on the other wall. Once at the bottom roll up to the cornice this time slowly moving your roller as you go about half a roller sleeve width away from the internal corner once at the top. Do this movement over the whole rolling stroke don’t lift off and reposition or slide over then start again for this lay of technique your roller should never lift off the surface. Once at the top go back down again moving 1/2 a roller sleeve over on your way down then at the bottom do it again and keep doing this until you have gone over the entire surface you just applied paint to.Have a quick look to see if you left any lines of paint down your wall form uneven pressure or incorrect technique if it all looks good the start with the applying technique again. if not re do the laying off method until you are happy with it. For the rest of the wall it is exactly the same method as before. only you treat the previous laid off surface as the internal corner of the wall, except for when you get to the spreading it out part and when you lay it off. This time you will go back into your previously laid off surface about 1/2 a roller width when spreading it out and 1 full roller width when laying it off. Again with your laying off technique, start away from where your laying off stroke that goes back into your existing work will finish and at waist height roll up to the full 1 roller distance into the previously laid off surface roll straight down and then start the up down 1/2 roller at a time movement across the wall until you cover all the newly applied paint.For all surfaces that you roll its the exact same technique. on ceilings though it is worth me mentioning that you start against one edge and work across the ceiling walking backwards. but you apply and lay off the paint exactly the same way. put it on spread it out and roll to the edges then lay it off and you’re done! Painters tip: Remember to lighten the pressure that you are applying on your roller pole when you are about to change directions to avoid leaving a build up of paint where you changed the direction or other wise known as a “fat edge”.