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Problem Solvered Painting Tips

31 painting tips to make your next painting job easy!

  1. Provide pizzas and beer and ask a couple of mates around to help you with your painting project. The job will be finished in half the time and you won’t hear any complaints. Problem Solvered!!!
  2. When using masking tape, choose a painters blue tape instead of normal masking tape as it won’t buckle up which allows paint to run underneath it, is easier to remove, wont damage the underlying surface and doesn’t leave a sticky residue.
  3. When masking up, use a putty knife to press the edge of the tape down to achieve a good seal. This will prevent the paint from creeping under the tape and spoiling the clean edge.
  4. It is always best to remove masking tape as soon as possible after painting and before the paint dries by gently pulling the tape away from the wall to avoid peeling the fresh paint off with it. If the tape cannot be removed straight away, run a sharp blade between the tape and the painted surface to break any seal before removing.
  5. Always use canvas drop cloths. Thin bed sheets won’t stop spills from seeping through to the floor. Plastic sheets are great for covering furniture but used as a drop sheet they are slippery, they don’t absorb the paint and the paint stays wet for a long time. Invariably the paint finds its way to the bottom of your shoes and gets walked through the house.
  6. Wash roller sleeves before their first use to remove any loose fibres that would inevitably come off into the paint, leaving a rough, unsightly finish. Wash the sleeves with water, running your hands up and down to remove the loose fibres. Spin out the excess water before painting.
  7. It is important to use the right equipment for a given painting project. There are many different types of paint rollers, brushes and paint products that are suited for different applications. Using the right product and equipment will enable you to achieve the desired finish in a shorter time. Taking shortcuts, using the wrong product or low quality equipment could produce an unacceptable result that costs you more money and time in the long term.
  8. Always mix your paint before you use it with a paint wacker or broad paint stirring stick using a circular, upward motion. A screwdriver or piece of dowel will not mix the paint sufficiently and may result in unsightly colour, coverage and gloss variations in the dried finish.
  9. Don’t allow brushes to soak in water, thinners or paint for extended periods of time as the brush will swell and lose its shape. The bristles will absorb the liquid which can then drip out of the ferrule (the metal strip that holds the bristles in place) when they are used.
  10. When loading a paint brush, only immerse the bristles to half their length into the paint then tap the brush against the top edge of the can to remove the excess paint rather than wiping the brush on the can lip.
  11. When rolling walls, use an extension pole attached to the roller handle so that you can apply the paint to the full height of the wall in a single stroke. This will eliminate the need to constantly climb up and down ladders and will enable you to maintain a “wet edge”, eliminating lap marks.
  12. To achieve an extremely smooth professional finish free of brush marks on trim work, mix a wet edge extender such as Penetrol, Floetrol or Hot Weather Thinners into the paint. This will slow down the drying giving you longer working time to overlap painted areas and allow the paint to “level out” so that brush marks are virtually eliminated.
  13. Finish one wall before starting another. This allows the brushed and rolled areas to blend together. All cans of paint are slightly different colours. Never use a different can of paint to cut in and another to roll the walls. Never change paint cans halfway through a wall.
  14. “Cutting In” around cornices, architraves and skirting boards takes practice. A long handled cutter brush provides better control than a wall brush. Load the brush and start brushing several centimetres away from the cut-in edge. As the brush unloads, work the brush up to the cutting in line and slowly drag the brush along. You may need to do this several times to achieve coverage. This technique will prevent too much paint being applied in the corners or along the trim that will invariably run.
  15. When rolling up to the cutting in at a cornice, turn the roller frame and run it parallel to the cornice with the open end closest to the ceiling, rolling as closely as practicable to the cornice. This will eliminate the texture difference between the brushed and rolled area which can appear as a colour or gloss difference.
  16. Avoid painting in direct sunlight, especially during summer as the heat in the surface being painted and the sun itself will cause the paint to dry too quickly, resulting in unsightly brush marks and brushes becoming clogged. Always start in the shade and work around the house so that you remain in the shade. Adding a wet edge extender to the paint will assist with paint workability.
  17. Painting the top and bottom edges of exterior doors and doors in wet areas will prevent moisture and condensation from being absorbed into the timber through the exposed end grain. This will significantly extend the paint coating and protect the timber door from swelling and the need to replace it.
  18. No matter how careful you are, accidents can happen. Keep a damp sponge on hand to wipe up any mistakes or spills straight away.
  19. If doing a small touch up or repair, apply the paint with a brush using a dabbing action to mimic the look of a roller to blend the repair into the rest of the wall or ceiling.
  20. Paint will not stick to dirty surfaces. Before painting, remove dust and dirt with water and mild dishwashing liquid and rinse clean. In kitchens and bathrooms, sugar soap will remove the grease and soap scum more effectively. Make sure you rinse surfaces with clean water before applying the paint.
  21. If you are waiting for the first coat to dry, wrap your brush and roller in glad wrap to prevent it from drying out. If you have finished for the day, wrap your brush and roller in glad wrap, place in a plastic bag and store in the fridge overnight.
  22. Painting from a 4 Litre paint tin is heavy and it has a double lip that traps paint making it difficult to reseal the can after use. It is much lighter and easier to use a smaller, custom designed paint pot with a handle and brush holder.
  23. Pouring paint directly from a 4 Litre container can be really messy. Use a paint pourer to prevent spills and eliminate paint from collecting in the lid lip.
  24. Use a disposable paint liner in your roller tray. They are inexpensive and save time on cleaning up
  25. After you’ve cut in the edges at the ceiling and skirting boards, apply the paint using a roller from the middle of the wall in an up and down motion. Any drips or runs that occur will be painted over as you move down the wall. Once the paint has been spread out, always “lay off” from top to bottom to avoid lap marks and thick edges. Don’t press too hard, rather allow the weight of the roller to even out the paint.
  26. Roller sleeves can hold a large amount of paint. Scrape the excess paint from the roller sleeve using a circular roller scraping tool before you wash it. This will save paint and make it much easier to clean
  27. To determine whether the surface you are painting has an oil based or a water based paint coating on it, wet a cotton ball with methylated spirits and rub it over the surface. If the paint is removed, it is a water based.
  28. Many old homes used paint that contained lead based pigments. These coatings can not be sanded as the dust generated will contain lead which extremely toxic. To determine whether paint contains lead, use a lead test kit before commencing any work.
  29. Remove door knobs, light switch and powerpoint covers and curtain rod brackets before you start painting. It is much easier and faster to remove these items and reinstall them rather than trying to work around them and the overall finish will look more professional.
  30. Never try to paint over an area that has partly dried as the brush or roller can pick up the first coat resulting in unsightly brush marks and uneven roller texture
  31. Conventional paints only have a limited ability to mask surface imperfections. Don’t underestimate the importance of preparing surfaces thoroughly to achieve a smoother, more even finish. Between coats you may need to sand off any bumps or re-fill any imperfections before applying the next coat.
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