If the three most important properties of owning a house are Location, Location and Location, then the three most important aspects of painting the inside of a home are Preparation, Preparation and … yes, you’ve guessed it you smart person you … Preparation. I know that might seem like an obvious thing to say, but you might be surprised at how many people throw caution to the wind and jump into their painting job with little or no preparation. Let’s break it down, shall we:
You’ll be living with your paint color choices for years to come, so it’s a very good idea to get the color right. And it’s not just the color. Gloss versus mat? Coarse versus smooth? Single color versus accented? These are some of the color choices you are faced with, and you will be very happy indeed if you take the time to choose carefully. If you personally don’t have an excellent eye for color, work with an interior designer to help you. Or work with a home painting company that includes it as part of the service. Don’t leave it until the night before the project begins and rush down to your local Home Depot in a cold sweat. You can make the paint purchase at the last minute, but know what you plan to buy beforehand.
Speaking from experience, I know this is also worth doing well. Ideally, moving everything out of a room you plan to paint is the best option. It clears the space for professional painters to do their work without maneuvering around a pile of furniture in the middle of the room. With less stuff obstructing them, the work will be finished sooner and the quality of it will be higher.
Pictures on walls are usually the easiest things to move.
If you’re painting your walls, I would also go so far as to remove all the outlet covers and set them aside. It takes just a few moments, and there’s nothing nicer than seeing the paint after the project cleanly painted under the cover after you have put them back. In fact, in the only house I ever bought, all of the old outlets were that 70s brown, so when we repainted the interior, I replaced not just the cover, but the fixture itself with brand new, white outlets. It took perhaps five minutes per outlet, all told, but it was worth it. I bought the fixtures in bulk, which kept the cost down, and the room looked like it was in a brand newly constructed home when the work was finished. Remember, too, that once the new paint is in place, it can often make old stuff even older. It’s why it’s often a good idea to paint the interior of a house in its entirety, not just two rooms now, and three rooms a few years from now.
Your painting project might cost thousands, so a few dozen dollars to replace the now off-color fixtures might be worth it. In any case, it costs nothing to remove the outlet covers for the duration of the project, so that is definitely a must.
This is not always possible, because the dry, warm summer months of the painter’s favorite season are not always easy to schedule exactly the way that suits you, but if you can, arrange to have the house painted when you and your family are not there. Interiors can be painted at any time of the year, virtually, and in fact, the colder months are better for interiors simply because painting companies tend to be less busy then and will usually accommodate your needs better.
Paint is – as far as we can determine – far safer now than it was a few decades ago. We all remember those time of chewing the edge of cribs and potentially absorbing dangerous amounts of lead. Today, there’s is no lead in paint, but why would you expose your kids (or yourself or your pets for that matter) to paint vapors when you simply don’t need to?
Another thing to remember is, although paint might feel dry to the touch the evening of the paint job, I like to assume the “drying” process takes a lot longer, and the other chemicals in the paint might be just as uncertain in their effects as lead was when we didn’t understand its effects many years ago. So, open the windows of newly painted rooms for as long as possible. To my mind, if I can still smell the paint, it’s not dry yet. Another pet peeve of mine is, that new car smell: It can’t be good for you, even though it reminds you of the wonderful new car you’re still driving around in. It’s another good reason for scheduling your paint project for the summer. If your family is on vacation, you can give the whole house a good airing, letting the warm dry air waft through your entire house for several days.
It’s tempting to jump right into the new, exciting painting project, but once you do, that paint begins to change. Paint is designed to be put into action soon after it’s exposed to air, so getting it on the wall will be your priority right away. That means having all of your tools ready to go – rollers, brushes, paint trays – before the first can is opened.
Cleaning materials are just as important as the tools themselves. Some paints can be washed off brushes and trays with soap and water, but even in those cases, have that ready before you start. Personally, I like to use washing up liquid, hot water and a fresh disposable sponge for the cleanup. Don’t use a sponge that was previously used for food – nor use a paint cleaning sponge later in the kitchen – and consider simply throwing away the sponge after the cleanup. The reason you don’t want to use a used kitchen sponge is, even minute pieces of food left in the sponge may find their way into your paint at a later date, and create unwanted reactions with the paint and the finished effect of your work.
If you are hiring a contractor , they will likely take care of all of that because they will already know the importance of keeping good tools in excellent condition.
Good luck and be sure to check back next week!