Tuesday, May 22 , 2018, 9:16 pm | Fair 59º

 
 
 

Make a Fresh Coat of Paint Your First Step in a Room Makeover — and You Can Do It Yourself

To make the job easier, follow these tips from paint professionals, then enjoy the change in your interior outlook

Following a few basic steps can make painting easier, but success depends at least as much on preparing as on painting. Click to view larger
Following a few basic steps can make painting easier, but success depends at least as much on preparing as on painting. (Dave Bemis / Noozhawk photo)

Whether you’re planning to sell your home or live in it for a long time, a fresh coat of interior paint can make a world of difference in a buyer’s first impression or in your own satisfaction.

Sometimes it’s enough to paint even one room. If you decide to do it yourself rather than hire a professional, a few tips from Christine Egan at realsimple.com are a useful guide.

First, decide whether you want to use oil-based or latex (water-based) paint. Oil bases are known for their durability and sheen, but the odor and cleanup hassle can be hard. As latex paints have improved over the years, offering fast drying times, soap-and-water cleanup, and plenty of sheen and durability, they have become the most popular choice for amateur painters.

According to Phil Hursell, manager of Vista Paint at 516 E. Gutierrez St. in Santa Barbara, the choice of latex paint is a no-brainer except in rare situations. The technology of paint has come so far, he adds, that many paints labeled “oil-based” are actually hybrids that clean up with soap and water.

Next, do some quick measurements of your walls to determine how much paint you need. In general, one gallon can cover about 350 square feet. If you want to be more precise, you can find calculators online or at paint stores that will also ask you about the dimensions of all the windows and doors.

Whatever you decide, buy one additional quart, if only for touch-ups later. If you’re using a mixed color, buying another batch later won’t guarantee that it matches exactly.

Decide whether you need primer. Some painters insist on using an undercoat every time, but Egan says primer isn’t necessary unless you’re painting a light color over a dark one or the walls are badly stained or pockmarked with spackled holes. In these circumstances, you can buy a separate primer to create a smooth, even base for your paint, or buy a more expensive all-in-one mix of primer and paint.

Hursell echoes the advice about covering dark colors or damaged walls with primer, but he says the biggest concern is adhesion, which “would depend on what’s on the wall now.” If the existing paint has a flat finish a primer won’t be necessary, but anything with a sheen can present a problem for painters.

“If they’re painting over semi-gloss, we do recommend a higher-adhesion-type primer,” Hursell saids. “If it’s shiny at all, I would recommend they take some sandpaper ... and scratch the surface. It gives it a ‘tooth’ for the paint to grab onto.

“And any time you’re repainting over anything, primer or not, make sure it’s 100 percent clean,” he added.

Egan also emphasizes proper preparation, because a successful result depends at least as much on preparing as on painting. Clean the baseboards and get cobwebs out of the corners, especially where the walls and ceiling meet. Apply painter’s tape to mask the areas that won’t be painted. Put down drop cloths. Use a brush to “cut in” the corners where a roller won’t reach. Then paint the room from top to bottom, starting with the ceiling, then walls, then trim.

Speaking of the ceiling: Think hard about it before you start. Is it in good enough shape that you can skip it this time? Walls take much more of a beating, and nothing is harder and messier to paint than that overhead surface.

If you do paint your ceiling, Egan recommends buying specialty ceiling paint that is thicker with an ultra-flat sheen, which drips less and hides errors well. And don’t paint directly over your head. It’s hard on your neck, makes it difficult to see what you’re doing and, well, did we mention those drips?

Noozhawk contributing writer Dave Bemis can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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