Painting the exterior of your home is an important part of keeping your home looking its best. Not only does a fresh coat of paint make your home look more attractive, but it can also help protect it from the elements. But when is the best time of year to paint your home’s exterior? When […]
Is your home’s interior starting to look a little outdated? Are you looking at pictures of new and renovated homes, wishing that you had the budget to make a change? Perhaps updating your space isn’t so far out of reach. Painting your home’s interior is a relatively easy and cost-effective way to completely change your surroundings.
Compared to other DIY home improvement projects, painting is something that most people can do. It doesn’t require a license or specialized training, although as with any project, the more training and experience you have, the better the outcome. That’s not to say that someone who has little or no experience with painting can’t be successful at their own DIY project, it just requires extra time and preparation.
If you’re ready to take on an interior painting project, the first step is to ensure that you have everything you need. The last thing you want to do is to open up your can of paint only to realize that you forgot to bring home some stir sticks. Although you are probably anxious to get started, before you put on your painting clothes, read through our list of everything you’ll need for interior DIY painting.
Must-Have Painting Tools
There are hundreds of different types of painting tools and equipment on the market. While many of them can make painting easier, there are only a select few, such as the ones below, that are truly essential.
Wherever you purchase your paint, also look for the paint can openers that are usually around in that area, or ask someone where you can get one. You might have a can opener at home that will work, but picking up one specially made for opening paint cans will make the task much easier.
Even if you just brought your freshly-mixed paint home from the store, it’s always a good idea to give it a good, thorough stir before you dip your brush into it or pour it onto a paint pan. Oils in the paint can separate, and if you don’t give it a good stir, you could end up with uneven color.
Wet Rag or Sponge
No matter how careful you are when you paint, at some point, you will get a drop of paint (or more) where you don’t want it. Fortunately, since most paints used nowadays are water-based, all it takes is a quick wipe with a rag or blot with a sponge to make it like it never happened.
Have you taken a stroll down the paintbrush aisle lately? Choosing the right paintbrush is important, but trying to find the right one among the myriad of options available can be quite overwhelming. The right brush will give you an even finish in less time, while the wrong paint brush will likely result in nothing but disappointment. So, how do you know which one to choose?
You can always ask someone at your local hardware or paint store to help you find the right brush, but it also helps to have a basic understanding of the types available. First, you’ll notice that there are many different sizes. Larger brushes are ideal for wide, flat surfaces while smaller brushes are best for trim and baseboards.
Brushes are also made from different materials, and you’ll want to make sure to choose the right one for your paint. If you’re using latex paint, a polyester or polyester-blend brush is what you want. If you’re going to be using oil-based paint or varnish, natural-bristle brushes are what you’ll need.
If you have a large area to cover – for instance, if you’re painting a large wall or an entire room – you’ll want to use a paint roller instead of a brush. Paint rollers hold on to more paint and distribute it quicker and more evenly than brushes.
Keep in mind that just like brushes, paint rollers also come in a variety of sizes and materials. They also come in multiple thicknesses, otherwise known as the “nap”. In general, the rougher your painting surface is, the thicker the nap you should use.
Trays to hold your paint are another must-have. Consider getting trays that are rigid and durable, as a flimsy tray could easily buckle when you pick it up. Some people also prefer to use tray liners for quick and easy cleanup when they’re finished.
Depending on what you’re painting, you likely also need a ladder. Make sure that the ladder you choose is tall enough to reach the areas you need to paint, safely. If you need to stand on the top step to reach an area, then it’s too short. If you have to purchase a new ladder, keep in mind that some ladders are better for painting than others. For instance, many ladders have a built-in platform that can be used to hold your tray or can of paint.
Take the Time to Prep Before You Paint
One of the best ways to achieve a professional looking paint job is to always put in the necessary time needed for prep work. The following are some of the items you might need to ensure these vital steps get done efficiently and effectively.
Before you even buy your paint, you want to know how much you’ll need. Instead of just guessing and then having to run back to the store later, use a tape measure to determine the amount of square footage you’re trying to cover. A good rule of thumb is that a gallon of paint will cover approximately 400 square feet.
If you have minor knicks, cracks, or nail holes in your wall (and who doesn’t), don’t just try to paint over them. Use spackle to fill holes and fix drywall defects.
The best way to apply your spackle is with a putty knife. Simply dip your putty knife in the spackle and apply it to the affected area using angled, downward strokes. Make sure to remove any excess.
Have a screwdriver handy so you can remove light switch plates and electrical outlet covers.
No matter how careful you are, paint is always bound to get where you don’t want it. Make sure you protect furniture, flooring, and anything else you don’t want to risk getting paint on with drop cloths.
Painting edges and corners can be difficult to do – even for a professional painter. Fortunately, painter's tape makes it easier to stay within the lines. A handy tip for ensuring your tape will separate cleanly from the painted surface is to remove it while the paint is still slightly wet.
Painting Equipment That Make the Job Easier
Some painting tools are more of a “nice to have” than a “need to have”. Here are a few items that you might be able to do without, but you probably don’t want to.
This might be more of a need, depending on what you’re trying to paint, but when painting high areas or ceilings, an extension pole can save you timeby saving you trips up and down the ladder.
Paint edgers can make it easier to paint straight lines and in corners where two walls meet. Some may even say that using an edging tool can replace painter's tape, but using an edger and painter's tape may really be the best option for a clean, precise paint job.
If you’re going to be painting a large area, you might consider investing in a paint sprayer. That’s because they can apply paint much faster and more evenly than any brush or roller. However, buying a paint sprayer shouldn’t be a last-minute decision. You’ll need to do your homework to determine which sprayer is right for your application.
DIY Interior Painting Vs. Hiring a Professional Painter
Now that you know all of the tools and equipment you’ll need to complete your interior painting project, you might want to think twice about whether or not you want to purchase all of those items or just hire a professional to complete the job for you. There are pros and cons to doing either, and you can read about them in one of our past articles titled, “Should I Hire Someone to Paint My Interior Walls?”
Whether you hire a professional or decide to do it yourself, painting the interior of your home is a great way to update your space while also adding value. If you live in the Fort Collins, Loveland, or Greeley area and would like to hire a professional, give Horner Painting a call!