Before choosing your paint, make sure you've read the Which Paint Where? section. It will help you choose the right paint and undercoat for the job, so you'll get the results you want and the quality your efforts deserve.
General painting techniques are covered in detail in the Painting Techniques section. Please read this section carefully It will save you time and help you achieve a professional finish. Don't forget to read the labels on the paint too - the information is there to help you
At last! Everything's ready to go, but before we get to the exciting part with the top coat, let's check the undercoat situation.
Areas that will need to be primed, and/or sealed, include new plasterboard and hard plaster, bare timber and any significant areas of patching or filling. A comprehensive guide to choosing undercoats and primers appears in the Which Paint Where? section.
Moving and Removing
If you haven't already done so during preparation, now is the time to take down curtains, mirrors and pictures. Try to remove as many of the fixtures and fittings as possible, such as doors and light fittings.
Move lightweight furniture out of the room, or to the centre of the room. Cover all furniture with plastic sheets or drop cloths (a layer or two of newspaper put down first will give added protection) and tape plastic bags around pendant light fittings. Use masking tape to cover any hardware you can't remove and open doors and windows for ventilation.
Your painting will be faster and cleaner if you spend some time masking first. Always remember to remove masking tape and materials as soon as the paint is too dry to run. Removal later often lifts and breaks the dry paint leaving a cracked and jagged edge.
Use wide masking tape or masking papers for protection around architraves and woodwork. Window glass can be similarly masked for fast, hassle-free painting, or you can use a sash cutter paint brush and a steady hand - see Tools of the Trade for brush information. Wash surface with sugar soap!
Note: Filled surfaces which have been sanded smooth should be wiped over with a damp cloth to remove static dust.
The easiest way to paint, as a general rule, is to start at the top and work down. In practice this means beginning with the ceiling. Always paint away from the light source so you are not painting in a shadow. Next paint the walls. Right handed painters will find it easier to start near the upper left corner, left handed painters near the upper right corner. Now paint the doors and windows, followed by the skirting and trim.
You'll find a detailed explanation of painting techniques, clean-up hints and the painting order of doors and window components the Painting Techniques section.
When To Paint
External temperatures affect the internal temperature of your house which, in turn, affects the performance of the paint. The wall temperature must be above 10C throughout the painting and drying process. Internal heating and cooling does not compensate for extreme cold or heat outside. A thick plaster wall, for example, can still be significantly warmer or cooler than the room's air temperature.
The Next Coat
Check the paint can for recoating times. These will depend on temperature and humidity and the type of paint you have chosen.
If you're not sure if the first coat is dry enough, test a small patch in an inconspicuous area (eg behind a door) with fine sandpaper. If the paint powders easily it's dry enough to recoat.
- Touch Dry - Dry enough to move your furniture back
- Recoat time - Dry enough to apply the next coat
- Fully Dried - Completely dry. Most paints do not reach their optimum performance and hardness for at least 7 days.
When you've finished you'll have the rewarding experience of stepping back and admiring your handiwork. Please don't rush into it, or try to cut corners. Doing the job properly doesn't take much more time at all and the results are guaranteed to be better.
Everyone develops their own sanding technique, but here are a couple of useful tips. Always use a cork or similar sanding block when sanding flat surfaces, otherwise the sandpaper will cut unevenly, give you an uneven finish and wear out more quickly by developing smooth spots. Wet & Dry sandpapers can clog easily. Keep the paper clean by dipping it and the block in a bowl of water, or trickle water from a damp cloth or sponge onto the surface while you are sanding. When using a fine sandpaper on an orbital sander, folding the sheet over will help stop it tearing and fraying. Simply refold the sheet to use the other surfaces.