Preparation and Painting Tips

Preparation and Painting Tips

Painting: Walls, Ceilings and Floors
Painting is not the chore it used to be. A professional look is now easier to achieve. Whatever your project, talk to the paint experts where you purchase your paint. They are a valuable resource. If you are having a hard time visualizing the colour, inexpensive computer software programs can allow you to try out different colours. Or, there may be a decorating service where you buy your paint.

Brushes and other tools
Ensure the rollers and paint brushes you buy are rated for the type of paint you are using. Better quality brushes help ensure that the paint strokes are less visible.

Estimating how much paint you will need
Measure the height and width of each wall to be painted then multiply to obtain the square footage.For rooms with lots of windows and doors deduct the square footage of the windows and doors.A 4-litre (1 gallon) pail of paint will usually cover 37 square metres (400 square feet).When calculating how much paint to buy, check how well it is expected to cover the surface to be painted. This is called hiding quality. Painting over very dark colours may require using primer as the first coat or more coats of paint.Having the primer tinted the same colour as the finish coat can provide better hiding qualities.Latex based paints should not be stored for extended periods of time as they can go bad. When buying paint look for the most current date of manufacture on the container.

Getting ready
Preparation is the most important and most time consuming part of painting. Usually at least 80 per cent of the time spent on a painting project is spent getting ready and cleaning up.

1. Assess the surface that requires painting for needed repairs. Popped nails in the drywall or wallboard can be corrected by screwing a new screw into the stud either two inches above or below the popped nail. The popped nail can then be nailed in and the holes filled with wallboard or spackling compound. Make the patch on the hole as smooth as possible to minimize sanding. Wear a mask while sanding using no. 100 or no. 120 grit sandpaper if using wall repair compound and no. 220 grit for spackling compound.

2. For larger holes the compound may need to be applied in layers. Each layer should dry before the next one is applied. To help the compound bond to the drywall, apply a layer of glass fibre (mesh) tape. It comes in a roll similar to cellophane tape.

3. Vacuum the whole room and damp mop the floor if possible. Wash the surface to be painted with mild detergent and water. If there are grease marks on the walls, or if someone in the household smokes, you may first need to clean with TSP (tri-sodium phosphate). If using TSP, be aware that it is not a benign product, and should only be used while wearing rubber gloves and eye protection. Rinse well with clean water.

4. For very textured walls or ceilings, vacuuming may be the only pre-cleaning option.

Painting new drywall or wood
Previously unpainted drywall, or plaster must be primed. Previously unpainted wood can be stained, painted or urethaned.

Special considerations

Lead in paint
Lead in interior paint was taken off the market in 1979. Paint in houses or apartments built before that date almost certainly contain small amounts of lead paint. Exposure to large amounts of lead can cause serious illness. Infants and children are especially vulnerable to lead. However, lead paint is not generally a problem if it is not flaking, peeling or blistering. To check if the walls contain lead, you can obtain a lead paint test kit at most major hardware and some health food stores. Sanding or heat stripping lead paint requires safety precautions, including protective clothing, a mask, goggles and gloves. Lead paint in the form of sanded particles are a health hazard. Pregnant women and children should never be exposed to dust or fumes caused during lead paint removal. For further information on lead, order the free booklet Lead In Your Home from CMHC.

Covering water stains, marks and knot holes
Water stains on ceilings, wax crayon marks on walls and previously unpainted knot holes will bleed through most water based paints. A special stain blocking sealer should first be applied sparingly on the knots, stains or marks before applying the paint. For these special situations you may need to use shellac, alkyd or a polyvinyl acetate primer. These products have an odour and therefore should be used only on the affected areas. When using these products ventilate well, preferably by running a fan. Place the fan in an open window and have the fan facing out.

Severely damaged walls
If walls are badly damaged, it may be quicker and cheaper to install an additional layer of new drywall.

Peeling paint
Peeling is usually a result of moisture under the paint, or of using the wrong type of paint. If moisture is the cause, it must first be corrected, then the surface can be scraped and sanded before painting. Covering mold and water stainsMold which appears as dark spots on the painted surface must be washed with soap and water, rinsed and dried before repainting. The cause of the moisture which resulted in mold, if not corrected, will allow the mold to come back.

Painting tips

* Do not excessively thin paints as this decreases their wear resistance and washability.
* If you use solvents of any kind, store the used solvents in an old paint container with a seal and take them to the toxic waste centre in your community. Do not pour solvents down the drain.
* Always paint with a window open and when the temperature is above 10°C (50°F).
* You can remove solvent based paint from your skin by using vegetable oil.
* Smooth evenly painted walls are more readily achievable if you:

1. Sand really well after patching.
2. Use a roller which you have taken a lint brush to, before using.
3. Use a roller designated for the type of paint you are using.
4. Clean the surface to be painted thoroughly after sanding.