Indoor Painting Made Safer and Easier

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by Sylvia Fredericks
(Los Angeles, California, USA)

Many homeowners choose to repaint the walls and ceilings on their own. This option saves money and rewards the homeowners with the satisfaction that comes when we do something to improve our living areas.

However, since many homeowners don’t have much practical experience with painting the job often ends up being more difficult – and more dangerous – than it has to be. These tips will help you quickly and safely repaint your walls and ceilings so that you can be on your way to enjoying your house’s new look. Look for low-odor paint. This can be more expensive, but your lungs will be grateful. Even with this paint, though, you should still open your windows and run exhaust fans to keep the fumes to a minimum.

A cheaper alternative to low-odor paint is pure vanilla. Just a few drops per gallon will reduce the headache-inducing smellsProfessional painters have been adding pure vanilla to paint for many, many years – well before paint manufacturers began marketing low-odor paint. Make sure that you buy enough paint to complete thejob. This is particularly true if you have the store tint a special color. Just to be safe, keep the sticker that indicates how much of each tint was used in that can. If you need to buy more paint, this information will help the person at the store recreate that color for you.

To make sure that you’re getting the same shade of paint on all the walls and ceiling, open all the cans of paint before you start. Mix them all together, stirring well. Even though your chosen paint color was probably matched by a computer, there might still be a slight difference from one gallon to the next. Mixing them all together is a simple way to guarantee that everything blends together smoothly.

Before you begin painting, remove as many objects as possible from the room. This is a little more work than just covering everything with drop cloths or tarps, but you’ll have more free space. You’ll also have the added safety of not tripping over quite so many things.

Banish pets and children from the room. They’re curious by nature, which usually means that you’ll end up with a full bucket of paint all over the place. You can use baby gates or close the door. Just be sure that the room is ventilated even with the door closed.

Overlap the edges of your drop cloths or tarps This helps prevent paint from finding its way to your carpet or floor. You can secure the overlapping edges with masking tape to be sure that walking on the cloths doesn’t create gaps.

Use tape – usually sold right next to the cans of paint at the homeimprovement or hardware store — to protect the edges of areas you don’t want to paint. Take your time and apply the tape in straight, smooth lines. You won’t have to worry about a painted radiator, window or other such object.

When you’re ready to remove the tape, don’t rip as fast as you can go. You should move slower so that you don’t take out flakes of brand-new paint.

Your clothes and hair will be covered in paint no matter how careful you are. Wear a hat to protect your hair. You should also wear clothes that you don’t care about – things that can be covered in paint without doing any real harm. Don’t forget your shoes: even they will have paint on them when you’re done.

If you’re painting a high place -the upper edge of the wall or a ceiling-use an extension handle on the paint roller. You’ll be able to reach more easily, which will reduce the chance of an injury. Your arms will also be less tired when you’re done.

Some people think that the more pressure they put on the paint roller, the better. This isn’t true. Light pressure is more than enough to get the paint onto the surface. You’ll have to dip the roller in the paint tray more often, but you won’t have to worry about damaging or compressing the roller. This is particularly important if you plan to use that roller again in the future.

If you don’t feel like scrubbing your paint trays when you’re finished, buy plastic liners. They’re cheap and disposable.

When you have to clean up your brushes, rollers and trays, make sure that you use the right type of solvent. Oil-based paints won’t dilute in water, so you’ll need a paint thinner or similar chemical. Otherwise, a little dish soap in hot water should do the job.

If you’re too tired to clean the brushes and rollers right after you’re finished, you can seal them in bags and throw them into your freezer. This will keep your equipment moist and ready to go if you need it again in the near future.

Updated: September 3, 2013 — 8:47 pm

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