Why pay someone to do something you can do yourself? That’s the question a lot of people are asking themselves. One answer might be that it’s too hard to do it on your own. But in a lot of cases, that’s not true. Every week, we bring you D.I.Y. tips to help you save a little — or a lot of — money.
Follow these step by step tips on How to Paint from Home Depot’s Carl Koebbe:
1. Start with color. What can be worse than having to live with colors on your wall that you can’t stand. Too bright? Too dull? Wrong shade? Just…wrong! There are thousands of colors to choose from. Help yourself by buying 8-ounce sample cans for about $2.50. Put it on the wall in a small area and then give yourself several days to see if you like it. Be sure to check it out under different lighting, and at different times of the day.
2. How much? Seems obvious, right? Koebbe says most people over-buy, and then find themselves trying to figure out what to do with the leftover paint. You can use a paint calculator — who knew?! — to input your dimensions and determine more precisely how much paint you’ll need to buy.
3. Test the wall. You need to know whether the wall was previously painted with oil or latex paint. You can’t put an oil-based paint over a latex base, but latex-base will go over an oil-based paint. To find out which you have, test it using a rubbing alcohol swab. If no color comes off, it is oil-based.
4. Which paint is appropriate? Large surfaces usually call for a flat enamel or eggshell paint. Bathrooms, or rooms with high humidity, can hold up to satin or semi-gloss, enabling you to wipe them off.
Now that you’ve done a proper assessment, you can begin the prep work:
5. Touch-up. Use a spackling compound to do touch-up work on any minor wall damage. Sand the area down until it’s smooth. Once that is complete, remove outlet covers, window hardware and switch plates to prevent paint from getting on them.
6. Purchase materials. You’ll want to get a blue masking tape, drop cloths and brushes. To save money, you might use old sheets or shower curtains to protect your floors. It is also more economical to buy a pre-packaged pan and roller set, for about $12. Be sure to look for sales on the necessary items as you prepare for the job.
7. Prime. Ugh. It’s the step you’ll be most tempted to skip, and will most regret if you do. If you have unpainted dry wall, take the time to prime your walls. It will give your wall an even, polished look. Home Depot is now selling a two-in-one primer-paint product called Behr Premium Plus Ultra. It saves time and about $5 when you price a gallon of paint and a gallon of primer, versus a gallon of Behr Ultra.
Time to paint…
8. Don’t forget your ceilings. According to Koebbe, most people forget their ceilings in the process. What you end up with are beautiful, freshly painted walls — and dull ceilings over head.
9. Get to work. Now you can paint your walls. Make sure your windows are open, even if the paint doesn’t have a dangerous levels of odor-causing elements. Many people wait until the weather is a little cooler to paint, as well. Start at the edges and work your way in to the center of the wall.
10. Trim work. Save your trim work for last. Remove the blue masking tape, and paint the baseboards and other trim areas.
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