5 Steps to the Perfect DIY Paint Job

As a decorator who has worked with some of the industry’s best professionals I must say that there are few things in a home that are a beautiful as a great paint job. Elegant, understated and timeless; a well painted room is a joy to behold and provides the perfect back ground for any and all decorating. At the same time a poorly painted room disappoints on all levels.

House painting as a trade dates back to the 13th century when the first painting guilds were formed. The Worshipful Company of Painters-Stainers was officially acknowledged by the Mayor of London in 1502. This became an early organization dedicated to the standardization of the craft of painting as well as a keeper of the trade secrets which propelled and supported its members businesses throughout England.

Today the art and craft of professional painters remains an important part of the building trades. But at the same time ordinary folk, like you and I, have fired up their computers (thank goodness for YouTube tutorials), grasped their brushes firmly in hand and have begun painting their own rooms.

For a masterful looking finished product here are this decorators best suggestions for the perfect DIY paint job:

1. Buy the Best Brush. Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that a roller offers the best (I mean very best) result. They don’t. A brushed on finish is the most highly regarded finish possible. But whether you’re buying brushes or rollers (if time is of the essence then roll away!) always buy the best tool your budget can afford. And know which tool works best with the type of paint you are using. Oil or latex products each demand specific and correct tools to maximize their finished effect. A bit of knowledge here will go a long way toward a better finished product. Skimping on these important tools will greatly diminish your end results.

2. Prep is King. The best paint jobs start with the most thorough preparation. This means cleaning, sanding and priming every surface you intend to paint. The better your preparation the finer the finished product.

3. Tape as a Last Resort. With a bit of practice you’ll be surprised how proficient you can become “cutting in” a painted edge rather than relying on blue tape to product a clean edge. Tape is the lazy way (and it more than doubles the time and energy of a job. The real pros know how to cut and edge and it shows in the beauty of their work.

4. Oil-based Trim. While there are latex products that approach the smooth clean finish of oil (Sherwin Williams ProClassics and Benjamin Moore’s Impervo) nothing gives trim the super-smooth finish of an oil-based paint. So if a deluxe look is what you are after opt for the oil every time.

5. Know when to touch and when not to touch. Everyone makes mistakes when painting. The key to correcting those mistakes beautifully is to do so with as little intervention as possible. Feathering in a run or splash while the paint is still wet and malleable is perfect. Try the same move when the surface has dried enough to be “tacky” and you have a mess on your hands. Be very conscious state of dryness of your paint surface. Far better to come back once everything is completely dry to address a correction than to make an even bigger mess by trying to manipulate a “tacky” wall or panel.

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