Preparation and planning are key to a good paint finish. Check out the most efficient ways to paint to get the job done in no time.
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All painting tasks are different, but using an efficient order of work will save time. The best ways to apply paint to achieve other finishes are also described here. It is important to protect surfaces you are not working on because painting, especially with rollers or sprayers, is a messy job.
Rooms should ideally be clear of all furnishings, fixtures and floor coverings before decoration. However, if this is not possible, ensure that you mask or cover anything you cannot remove. Plastic drop cloths are excellent for covering furniture, but have to be thrown away after a couple of uses and are slippery underfoot on floors. Fabric drop cloths will not protect against major spills, but they provide a safer floor covering and can be washed and reused many times. Use masking tape to protect any unpainted surfaces, especially around the edge of the floor, and use blue painter's tape at any junction.
Apply masking tape to the floor below the baseboards and lay a fabric drop cloth so that it overlaps the tape. For carpet, use a scraper to push half the width of the tape right behind the carpet edge.
As well as furniture and floors, any other decorative finishes in the room need to be protected while you paint, especially if you are using a roller or a sprayer. When combining painted surfaces with natural wood finishes, you need to consider which to apply first. Accuracy is impossible when applying waxes or oils with a cloth. It is usually easier to finish the wood before you paint and protect the woodwork with some tape (see below). Clean any smudges from the wall so that they don’t affect the paint finish. Otherwise, paint before preparing and finishing the wood. If you are going to wallpaper the room, do any painting first because even low-tack tape may mark the paper.
Ideally, use low-tack tape when decorating. Other types of tape may pull away the finish when you try to remove them or leave adhesive residue that is difficult to clean off.
Paint coverage varies considerably depending on the surface you are decorating. Very porous or rough surfaces will need a lot of paint, so use the smaller figure in the estimated coverage range given; smooth, shiny areas need less, so use the larger figure. Some solvent-based paints tend to cover less surface area than latex-based types. When planning how much paint to buy, don't forget to take the number of coats needed into account. Always check specific coverage guidelines on the container of the paint you are buying and overestimate rather than underestimate.
If you are repainting a room, start from the top and work down. Cover the ceiling first, then the walls and finally the woodwork and other details. Complete the coats on one surface before moving on to the next, including the sealers, primers and first coats that are necessary. Overlap onto the next surface slightly to ensure continuous coverage, but brush out any thick areas of paint so they don't show through.
Order for Painting a Room
3. Doors and windows (radiators if you have them
4. Baseboard, molding and exposed pipes
Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement
© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009