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Less stress, less mess painting

It may seem like a simple exercise – but painting is not as easy as it looks and there’s plenty of “tips of the trade” that a professional painter brings to the table. Doing the painting yourself can, however, save you big bucks that may be needed elsewhere in the renovation. Here we brush up on the best way to paint a room with a full palette of tips!

Colour. The first step is paint colour selection. It's a good idea to try a small sample on the wall or hang up a paint colour swatch to see how light affects the colour at different points in the day. Most paint manufacturers make it even easier for you by providing sample pots in small sizes so you really can try before you buy.

Sheen. After deciding on colour you will need to select a sheen. Every level of sheen has its own set of benefits, for example flat, or matte finish is frequently used in new construction and on ceilings because it hides flaws extremely well (but is more difficult to clean). Low sheen is very washable and perfect for high-traffic areas. Satin finishes can withstand moisture, making them ideal for kitchens and bathrooms while semi-gloss and glossy sheens create a bright, shiny look. They are both durable and aesthetically pleasing. Glossy sheens do, however, show nearly every imperfection in a wall or ceiling’s surface, meaning it’s best to use them on walls with unmarred surfaces.

Calculate. Determine the amount of paint you'll need by measuring the height, depth and breadth of the room. Be sure to subtract the measurements of the doors and windows.

Prepare the room. Remove or cover the furniture. Make sure it's away from the walls so you have room to work. Remove switch plates and outlet covers, and tape hinges, doorknobs and other small items you don't want painted. Cover your floors with a drop cloth or plastic sheeting (or both). Items that should not be painted (such as securely attached window valances and ceiling fans) should be completely covered with plastic sheeting or masking paper. Repair any holes or dents in the walls. Remove any loose debris from the damaged area using sandpaper or a lightly water-dampened rag. Using a putty knife, apply a thin layer of patching material to any cracked or dented areas, feathering the patching material one to two centremetres away from the repaired area to blend the surface evenly. Allow to dry. Sand finished area with finer sandpaper, blending the patched area evenly with the surface. Scuff sand glossy surfaces.

Application. Once you get the paint home, stir it thoroughly. Use a high-quality, nylon/polyester brush. Dip a third of the bristle length into the paint. Remove the excess paint from the brush by tapping the bristles against the inside of the paint can. Apply paint to the perimeter edges of the project area with a brush prior to rolling. Start at the top and brush the paint from the non-painted area to the previously applied areas. Reload the brush as necessary to maintain a wet edge, approximately every five inches. Once the perimeter of the wall is done, pour the paint into a paint tray or a five-gallon bucket. Dip the roller cover completely into the paint, covering the entire roller cover area. Remove excess paint by rolling onto the ribbed section of the paint tray or bucket grid. Starting in an upper corner of the wall, place the loaded roller cover approximately three to four inches away from the painted perimeter. Working in a three-by-three-foot area, roll a "W" onto the wall. Roll back into the previously applied paint to maintain a uniform finish. Continue the "W" technique three to four inches away from the last section applied. Work from the top down, until the wall is completely covered.

Cleanup. Remove all tape and coverings. Take drop cloths out of the finished room and shake off dust and debris. Reattach switch plates and outlet covers and any hardware that was removed. Vacuum the floor, re-hang pictures and mirrors and put furniture and decorative accessories back where they belong. Wash brushes, rollers and pans in warm, soapy water. Work the cleaning solution throughout the brush bristles or roller cover, rinse twice in clean water. Allow to dry.

Sit back and enjoy your beautifully painted room!

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