Thursday, May 31, 2012

Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'

(Note:  I’m about ½ done with this post and Nate Berkis came on the TV in the background - isn’t he doing “painting 101”!  Topic of the day I guess!)

I have to admit, painting is a pain in the proverbial.  But, it is a pretty inexpensive change to a room, with a big impact.  I am fortunate that my darlin’ likes cutting-in and edging.  Me - no patience for that!  He hates rolling, but I don’t mind it.  It’s a win-win.  Either way, it’s all gotta be done and there are a few tips to make a paint job look pretty darn good.  I’m not suggesting that you worry that your walls look like you've had a professional paint job.  On the contrary!  I believe in getting the paint up there! Of course you want it to look smooth and nice, but just like anything, any little defects or imperfections probably won’t ever be noticed by anyone you and your own critical eye.  So if you’ve got a wall, a room, or whole house to paint, just jump in.

We moved into our new modular with some painting "experience” (read: mishaps).  I lived in a very old home, built in the 1850’s and I’ve done my share of stripping old wallpaper, priming and painting.  I’ve also been so fed up with painting I’ve sold my own children to pay for a professional.  One of the beautiful things about moving into a modular home, is the walls and ceilings come perfectly smooth and primed!  Compared to stripping wallpaper, or sanding walls, painting a pristine wall is a wonderful feeling.

You may of course paint over a painted wall, and you may or may not need primer.  I judge how dark the existing paint is and decide if I need primer or not.   However, unless the existing color is white, light grey or cream, omitting primer may mean you need 2 or even 3 coats of paint to cover existing color, so in general I’d recommend a primer. I had a very light pink room (child’s) that I wanted to cover with a sort of chocolate brown (man cave), and thought for sure the brown would cover the pink.  Au contraire!  That pink came through 2 coats of the brown before the 3rd coat finally won.  Geesh!

Anyway, let’s assume we are ready to paint. First, make a list of all the things you are going to need and head to your local home store.

A Good Roller.  Cheap is sometimes good, but not for rollers.  Get a decent roller and you will FEEL the difference.  The paint will roll on much more smoothly, and if you wash the roller out correctly it will last you through many paint jobs.

(Note: store brushes and rollers in a plastic bag in the fridge if your going to re-use with the same color paint.)

Bucket and screen (for roller).  Recently I used the roller pan, it’s just a pain.  It’s hard to move, it is flimsy and doesn’t hold a lot of paint.   A large bucket with a screen hung on the edge of the bucket to wipe the roller is just easier.

Edging do-hicky.  Many hate these things.  I personally LIKE those nifty little edgers with the wheels.  You do have to be careful not to get paint on the wheels, but if you make a mistake, keep  a wet cloth nearby to wipe up errors.

Edging brush.  Check any paint store or home store for a 2” short handled angled brush.  They work amazing if you have a steady hand.  My husband loves these!  He holds it like a pen, and just goes sloooow and steady.

Masking tape/blue tape/frog tape.  I hate taping.  Just sayin'.  If you have a steady hand, ignore the tape, but I feel a lot safer when I have the tape down.  Just be very careful not to leave the tape on for more than a day or two or you will find the tape will pull up existing paint.

Drop cloth.  I fold these and move them along with me.  Just be very careful you don’t get any drops of paint on the underside - how that happens I don’t know, but it does, and then you run the risk of smearing paint all along with you.

Paint.  I have no loyalty to paint brands.  I pick a color and then I have Home Depot or Lowe’s match it.  If you can’t find a paint chip you like, just bring in an object of the color you like and the home store will match it.  Cool, huh?  Depending on the room you’re painting, you can use high gloss, semi gloss, satin or flat paint.  In a kitchen or bathroom I would use a semi gloss.  It’s just easier to wipe down.  For any other room I’d use a satin.  I’m just not big on flat.  But, maybe that’s just me...

Okay, so now you have all of the materials you need.  Here comes the b.o.r.i.n.g part - preparing the room you’re going to paint in.  I dislike this step.  When I’ve decided to do something, I’m not very patient, and I just want to get moving.  Tough beans.  You have to prepare the room, or you will regret it.  (That’s me, talking to me).

Clear the room out of all furniture, rugs, curtains, etc.  Remove any light fixtures, smoke detectors, light switches or outlet covers. Take a shop vac or your vacuum and vacuum down the walls.  You don’t want dust or cobwebs in your paint.  That’s not a good look.  When you’re done, take a microfiber dust rag and give the walls a wipe.

Now you can start taping.  Lots of people don’t bother with tape, but in the end it’s easier to peel the tape off than to try and paint over your ooopsies.  Also easier than using a razor blade to remove paint from windows.  Okay, if you have a super steady hand, go for it and eliminate the tape.  But if you’re like me and not too steady, plus tend to get distracted by, say, a bird flying by, or an annoying song on the radio, and you look away...  just tape.

Cover your floors with drop clothes or do as I do and move a folded drop cloth along with you.

Start painting - edges first!  (see above.)  But only edge the part of the room you are going to finish before you take a break, or say, go get a Big Mac.

Once you’ve edged the part of the room you’re going to paint, you can start rolling.  This is the most satisfying part of the job.  SO much color goes up so fast you can really see how your room is going to look.  I LOVE rolling!  I’ve seen there are a lot of complicated ways to “roll like a professional”.  Ugh.  Maybe my walls don’t look professional, but my edges are (fairly) even, and the walls are (pretty) smooth and even.  And, whatever imperfections are there, I choose to ignore, not obsess over!

Here’s how it goes on fast and how you get it smooth.  Roll up in a straight line then down a little bit to the left (or right - whichever direction you’re going), and get as close to the ceiling and floor as you can.  Just keep moving in one direction until you’re at the end of your edging.  Go back over your work and carefully roll over any lines or little bumps, etc.  It will look streaky,don't panic.  Go get lunch, and when you come back in... VOILA!  It’s pretty darn good when it dries!

You may (probably) decide you need a 2nd coat.  Once you’ve done that, let the paint dry overnight or for 24 hours.  That paint needs to “set” before you dare putting furniture near it, or put hinges or light switch covers back on, etc.

And you're done!  I know your shoulders hurt, and you’ve got paint stuck in your arm hairs... but wasn’t it worth it!? How awesome does it feel to have a freshly painted room!

So, as I’m about done with this post, I still have to paint my bathrooms.  I feel like I should perhaps do something about that, maybe I’ll think about it over lunch...

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