Did you know you can paint just about anything? It’s by far the cheapest way to update and refresh just about any item in your home and it’s super fun because you can brag that you did it yourself! If you’ve got a paint project on your mind we’ve got you covered with a few tips and your most frequently asked questions!

Painting isn’t hard, but you do have to make sure to use the right technique and type of paint to get good results. If not you could end up with a colourful mess on your hands :P.

I’m assuming here that you already have an idea of a project you’d like to take on and of which colour paint you’ll be buying. Also, that you’ll be doing the painting yourself as opposed to hiring a professional painter. Again, it’s not hard to paint, but it does require a bit more elbow grease then just putting some painting clothes on and buying a roller! You’ll want to make sure you’re picking the right paint, properly preparing the surface, and know how to best apply the paint.

Paint Tip #1: Paint per surface – There are two main types of paint you should be aware of: Latex or water-based paint and Alkyd or oil based paint. There are other types of paint, but those are usually reserved for special materials such as ceramic tiles and acoustic panels so I’ll skip explaining those right now. You also have a wide range of tints, stains and clear finishes out there! If you are painting the walls of your house you’ll most likely just use Latex paint but here is a list of type of paint to use per surface.

Paint Tip #2: Glossy or Matte? – After having picked the paint colour and the paint type, the next most important thing is to pick the finish. The finish is essential how shiny or glossy the paint is. Without getting into technical details, this affects the durability of the paint, how washable it is, and of course the look. As rule of thumb, the glossier the finish the more durable and easier to wash it is. Paint finish names vary from one manufacturer to the next, so you’ll want to take a look at their ‘paint finish scale’. You’ll normally see names like ‘flat’ or ‘mat’ for very low gloss paints, ‘eggshell’ for a low medium and ‘pearl’, ‘satin’, or ‘semi-gloss’ for medium to high medium gloss or sheen. Any surface that will be exposed to grease, heavy wear, and water, such as a kitchen, bathroom of furniture are better with a glossy paint.

8 Pro tips for your next painting project!

Paint Tip #3: It doesn’t pay to be cheap – Buy high quality! It doesn’t pay to skimp on paint because it won’t go on a smoothly and won’t be as durable. Higher quality paints may cost up to twice as much as the cheaper one, but with the right paint and the right quality you’ll need less paint to cover the surface. Another way to check the quality is to read the label to see what the paint is made of. For latex paint you’re looking for one that has 100% acrylic resin for the highest quality. Next comes Vinyl acrylic, followed by vinyl resin being the lowest in quality.

Paint Tip #4: A gallon or two – How much paint will you need? The best way to know this is to measure the wall you’ll be painting and read the label on the can of paint to see how much it covers. Different paints will vary, but if you want a rough estimate, most paints cover 400 square feet (or 37 square meters) per gallon. To get the square footage of your walls add the width of each wall then multiply by the total height. For example, if you’ll be painting the four walls in the room and the room measures 16 by 20 feet and 8 feet in height then I need enough paint to cover 576 square feet (16+16+20+20 x 8 = 576). You’ll then have to subtract the surfaces that won’t be painted such as doors, fireplace, windows, etc. Use the same method of measuring as for the walls (multiply the height by the width of each object). If the surfaces that won’t be painted amount for more then 10% of the room, deduct the square footage of the surfaces from the total. If not just ignore it. Now, to figure out how many cans you need you’ll need to divide the total footage by the spreading rate of the paint. If we follow our example above you’ll need two 1-gallon cans to cover the walls (576 divided by 400 = 1.44…round up to the next full number which equals 2). If you’ll be painting more then 1 coat you’ll need to double the amount of paint :).

Paint Tip #5: All that prep work – Preparing your surface before painting is extremely important, especially when using latex paint. If the surface isn’t clean it can be harder for the paint to adhere or stick to the surface and it will peel or crack a lot faster. Start by washing your wall or surface with soap and water and let dry thoroughly. If the wall (or whatever else you’ll be painting) has any imperfections fill in the holes with putty and sand down any bumps. If the surface is more than 5 years old or your will be drastically changing the colour from light to dark or dark to light prime the entire surface before painting. If you’ll be using Latex paint make sure you choose a water based primer and if you’ll be using Alkyd paint choose an oil based primer. If you use a water primer with oil paint, or vise versa, The paint will end up with bubbles and not adhering to the surface properly. The one exception is if you have a surface that was previously painted with an oil based paint and you want to paint over with some latex paint. In this case there is a special primer for this. Any primer can be tinted to match to colour of your paint so you’ll need less coats of paint.

Paint Tip #6: Painting – Make sure you’ve tapped out the edge of any surface you don’t want to get paint on such as door frames, window frames, and baseboards. Always start by painting the trims with a paintbrush then use a roller to ‘fill in’ the wall. The idea is to get enough paint on your roller so that it goes on easily yet not too much so that it’s dripping down the wall. You’ll want to make sure you paint the entire wall before stopping or moving on to the next to avoid streaks. The best way to go about it is to go from top to bottom or bottom to top, and going across instead of painting the whole bottom part then top part of the wall. I once walked into a friend’s house where you could obviously tell she’d painted the bottom first then the top because there was a darker line where the roller strokes had overlapped right in the middle of the wall.

Paint Tip #7 Letting it dry – If you’re doing more then one coat of paint wait a couple hours to a day between coats. Once finished make sure to remove the painters’ tape before the paint dries so that it doesn’t stick and take off the paint as it’s being removed. For the paint to be fully cured (dry) it can take from 2 weeks to 30 days depending on the climate. Until then avoid putting anything on the walls or placing chairs or furniture where it can rub against the surface and scratch the paint.

Paint Tip #8 – Experiment! You can re-paint a wall or furniture as many times as you want so have fun! Just make sure that if you’ll be re-painting a surface it is fully dried (see paint tip #7). If the previous paint is less than 30 days and you try to paint over it the new paint won’t stick on properly and the bottom paint will rub off.

Let me know what else you’d like to know about painting or specific paints and surfaces! And if you’ve recently done a project feel free to share some pictures on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/mauveinteriors).