The quickest way to change the looks of your house? Paint it. In your eagerness, though, make sure you do the job right.
- Prepare the wall or ceiling properly.
- Scrape off flaking paint and smooth the edges with wallpaper. Check for moisture problems – the signal is paint that flakes off in under two years. In this case, you may need a carpenter or roofer to fix the problem.
- Wash the surface – with a hose, power washer, or elbow grease. A solution of TSP (trisodium phosphate) and water will remove grease that keeps paint from adhering. (Use rubber gloves).
- Fill the nail holes, cracks, and other imperfections. Use the right spackle or putty – exterior for exterior walls, interior for interior walls. Wet the putty knife before putting it in the putty.
- After the puttied areas have dried, sand and paint them with a primer coat. Also sand and prime all surfaces covered with slick paint like enamel. Wear a mask while you do it. Dust woodwork with tack cloth.
- Caulk window and woodwork joints.
- Cover stains, particularly mildew, with a special sealer. If people smoke in your house, prime the ceiling with a stain killer.
- Move the furniture out of the room, or group it in the center and cover it with a drop cloth.
- Take off striker plats, doorknobs, and other objects you do not want painted.
Now you can start painting:
- Prime the surfaces, usually with primer paint. Otherwise you may have to paint the surface an extra time.
- Use the right-sized brush-you need three for most jobs: 1-inch to 1 1/2-inch trim brush, 2-inch to 21/2-inch sash brush, and a 4-inch wall brush. Do not use natural bristle paintbrushes with latex or water-based paint; use one with synthetic bristles instead. If you use a roller, buy a cover with the right nap for the job-the smoother the surface, the shorter the nap.
- Paint a room in this order: ceiling, walls, trim, doors, windows. Paint the exterior of a house one side at a time.
- Do not use too much paint on your brush or roller. Dip brushes only about one-third the length of the bristles into the paint, and do not fill the paint pan for roller painting more than inch inch deep.
- Be neat. Take your time. Every spill and drip is more trouble than the time you saved by being sloppy.
- With a roller, go over the area already painted with up and down strokes.
- Paint safely. Make sure you have a secure ladder. Do not lean over too far-it's better to move the ladder than break your head.