Before I was a contractor and did painting jobs for a living, my sister would always say "Any monkey can paint!" Now, although that may be true to some extent, the final result of a painting project done by a professional painter and that completed by your average chimp is probably going to look quite different. Painting is a great DIY project and I love seeing so many homeowners (and renters) patiently wait at the paint counter at The Home Depot while their seven sample containers of blue are being mixed. For the most, if you take your time and follow some common principals, it is not difficult to paint a room and achieve nice results. The following are a few tips that may help. And of course, it you would rather hire a professional, Handy Andy is always there to help!
Don't buy cheap paint!
We have all heard the expression that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. The same is true about paint. It may seem a bit obvious but you should never try to save a few dollars on paint. The moment a wall is compromised with a poor quality paint, the more chances you will have of imperfections later on, regardless of how expensive the paint you apply on the wall after that is. Peeling, cracking, and bubbling could be the result of many things and an inferior paint layer is certainly up there on the suspect list. I'm not saying that you have to purchase Ball and Farrow paint at a hundred dollars a gallon, but please don't buy the 2-for-$30 no-name paint being advertised to get you in the door at the discount store. Handy Andy likes Benjamin Moore paints and Behr Premium. They both have good coverage and nice pigmentation. If you are more a fan of Sherwin Williams, then great. Just don't buy cheap!
Paint is not primer... no matter how many coats you put on!
I know it is a pain and an added expense, especially when you are just patching a few holes with plaster but if you don't at least spot prime the areas that were patched you will wind up with what are called "hot spots". You will see them for sure when the job is don't. Don't trust those paint-and-primer-all-in-one products either. Not that they are bad but nothing substitutes at least one coat (usually two coats) of a good quality primer on all patches and whenever you are significantly changing pigment. I cant tell you how many people think that after plastering a wall that they can just apply an extra coat or two of paint and skip the primer. Don't do it- It doesn't work. Here's a bonus tip: primers are designed to actually seal and activate with the paint that is applied on top of them. Don't wait too long after priming a wall to apply the paint or this reaction will not occur.
Prep is important but don't go crazy either...
You absolutely want to use some drop cloths or plastic on the floors and on top of any furniture that you cant move out of the room. Also take them time to remove outlet covers, switch plates, door knobs and any other trim pieces that you can before even cracking the paint can. A light sending on all surfaces will also allow for a nicer finish (don't forget to wipe down the surfaces afterwards since paint and dust are not friends). Painter's tape is great for certain things but remember to use it wisely. You can either spend hours applying tape to all the divided panes on all your windows (which is very time-consuming and can get expensive) or you can just use a good brush and take your time applying the paint- the choice is yours. Handy Andy uses painter's tape sparingly. You can achieve a better result by just keeping a steady hand and taking your time.
If you do use tape...
Please use the right kind of tape for the job. I don't recommend the off-white colored masking tape that you used in art class back in grade school. If you are going to use tape to mask a surface, buy the right product for the job. Blue, green (or frog tape), and yellow tape are all different variations of painters tape that are used for different situations. Masking glass is different than masking built-in furniture. Most people don't know that each type of painter's tape is rated for a particular purpose and, more importantly, a length of time that it should stay on a surface. If you think you can use blue tape to mask all around your house and then go on a mini vacation before painting, you might find out that removing that tape after the job is more difficult.
Buy a quality brush and roller!
Even if you have a small job to do, stay away from the cheap brushes (and foam brushes). A decent brush should cost you between $10-$20 but it is worth it. Those inexpensive brushes are harder to paint with in the long run and they tend to shed leaving brush hairs all over your newly painted surfaces. The same holds true for roller covers. Unless you like little pieces of roller fuss all over your walls, buy a good roller cover. Another added tip- clean your brushes well after use and they will last you a long time. Toss your used roller covers after each use- the money you will pay for your water bill to get them totally clean is going to be more that the cost of a new roller cover.
TAKE YOUR TIME... And have fun!
If you only allow yourself a morning to paint your bedroom, you may get it done but are you doing yourself an injustice? When you use a good paint, a covering can last years. If you rush you will likely be less than satisfied with the results and may spend more time then you thought with a razor blade removing dried paint from areas it shouldn't be on because you rushed the job. Take your time and have fun with the project. Make sure you allow enough drying time between coats. Invite some friends over to help. While you wait for the primer or paint to dry you can order pizza and watch a movie. Painting is a great way to inexpensively change the look and feel of a space. Enjoy the process and enjoy the finished product.