DIY painting: 7 handy hints for homeowners


Painting is one of the cheapest and easiest ways of adding cosmetic value to your home, making it look more modern, clean and fresh. But for maximum impact, there are a few integral steps you need to follow.

Here are our top seven tips on how to paint like a pro.

1. Choose the right kind of paint

Start with the easy things first to narrow it down:

  • Do you want the cheapest paint available, or the top of the range?
  • Do you want gloss, matte or semi-gloss?
  • Is it essential that it’s hard-wearing or fade-resistant?

If it is a bathroom, it needs to be oil-based, and if you’re doing the ceiling, then it is advisable to use low-sheen paints. Paint for bathrooms and kitchens should also have the right additives to prevent mould and mildew buildup. If you are unsure on what type of paint to use, ask the paint experts at your local DIY store for advice.

2. Picking the right colour

Prepare to be overwhelmed when deciding to go for DIY painting a room! There are thousands of shades from many different brands, so be aware that it could be a long process to find the right colour for your home.

If you think you might be selling your home in the near future, choosing a modern/on-trend colour could be a good idea, as this will make it more appealing to buyers. But if you are planning on sticking around for a while, then don’t worry too much about what is currently ‘in fashion’; it’s better to select something you know you will enjoy living with for years to come.

Take a few test pots home and paint a couple of coats onto some large pieces of cardboard, leaving an unpainted border around the edge (this allows you to separate the old paint from the new colour). Make sure you move it around different rooms in the house at different times of the day so you can see how it works with the changing light and your furnishings.

If you are doing significant renovations, make sure that the colours you bring home also match up with other materials. Warm white tiles up against a cool white sink, for example, can look strange.

3. Good tools are key

Want to get good coverage and a nice finish? Brushes are key. You’ll need ones for cutting in (for corners and around edges of windows): these are angled, and have either natural, polyester, or polyester/nylon bristles, and are very different from regular paint brushes. Make sure you have the right kind to go with the paint you use.

For large surfaces, rollers are great and relatively easy to use. But again you need to select the correct product to go with the kind of paint you buy, and surface you are painting, as they all achieve different finishes/textures.  For example, you should use a dense tightly woven dacron 8mm material roller for walls, ceilings and plasterboard to achieve a smooth finish and reduce roller splatter.

This information will usually be provided with the roller itself, but if not, you may want to check with the paint experts at your local DIY store. It can make a big difference and save you lots of time and money

4. Prepare your surface correctly

Follow these steps to prepare your existing walls:

  1. Wash the surface with sugar soap or other appropriate product.
  2. Scrape away any chipped paint or rough edges.
  3. Apply filler to any holes or gaps.
  4. Leave to dry.
  5. Sand the surface flat and wipe dust away with a damp cloth.

Your wall should now be prepped and ready to paint!

5. Don’t cut corners in preparation

Move all the furniture to the centre of the room (or somewhere else), taking down curtains, curtain rails and light fittings (or at least covering these with protective plastic). Tape up windows, skirting, architraves, powerpoints, light switches and anywhere else you want to get a straight finish, and avoid paint splatters.

Keep this in mind if you are painting the outside of the house as well — buyers won't be impressed by your garden or pavers being spattered like a Jackson Pollock painting. You should also take a minute to consider your overall landscaping look for the garden and make sure your aesthetics don’t clash.

Priming the surface will also help with achieving a long-lasting, smooth finish, as it sticks better to old paint than new paint does.

6. Take your time

Painting a house can be a long process. Dry times and cure times can vary from one paint type to another, so you need to be considerate with your approach and not try to rush any step—this includes the prep, the primer and the minimum two top coats.  Airing out the room or hiring industrial heaters are an option if you want to speed up the drying process.

If you try to do anything while the paint is still drying, the finish won’t be good quality, and you might have to start again. It is worth noting that you should always complete a whole wall before taking a break. Stopping half way through will mean the paint doesn’t blend properly as it dries, and it will leave visible dark spots on your final product.

7. Know the right technique

There are basic techniques to DIY house painting that are worth noting to get the best results. For example, hold cutting in brushes like a pencil, only dip it halfway into the paint, remove the excess by tapping gently against the top of the can and then make sure you paint with the tip of the brush, not the sides.

When using a roller on a wall, the first strokes should be an M shape—or a W on a ceiling, and the metal side of the roller brush should be facing away from the wall to avoid banging into any drying paint. Knowing simple techniques like these can really help you achieve a professional finish while on a DIY budget.



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