painting tips...for a quick professional finish

It is amazing how marked the paint on a home's walls get, just from the daily wear and tear of people moving around.   Every few years the paint needs a refresh, not everywhere, just those high traffic areas that are most scuffed.  In my home it's the entrance hall, the staircase walls, and kitchen, that takes the hardest beating.  This spring, three years after we moved, it was time for a refresh.  It only takes a day to do the job properly, invest the time and you will be rewarded with a crisp clean canvas.  Scroll down for my top tips for getting the job done quickly and professionally.

First gather your tools:

1 - Prepare your hands
Now hand cream may be a little unexpected but it is my secret weapon.  Not for the painting, but for protecting your skin and getting the paint off your hands easily.  A good layer of hand cream makes it far easier to wash the paint off, and I really don't want hands like a tradie.

2 - Preparing the area
Tape off all your skirtings and electrical points.  It takes a while to do but cleaning paint splashes off floors, carpets and trim takes even longer.  
  • Blue tape makes it easy and I like to use an extra wide version so that there is a larger margin of error.  
  • Drop sheets will protect your floors and carpets.  
  • Keep a damp sponge and dry rag close at hand, inevitable there is an unwanted drip somewhere and the quicker you wipe if off the better. 

3 - Filling holes and dents
This is the time to fill any holes and scrapes in the walls.  It doesn't take long to do but it is a four step process with drying time between each step: 1 - fill with filler; 2 - let filler dry; 3 - sand area until smooth4; 4 - paint with primer.  
It will add that professional finish to the job even if it adds to your prep time.

4 - Painting
I use a good quality brush to paint along the trim, electrical points and ceiling, then a small disposable roller and tray for the walls.  If you have done a good job of taping up the painting goes quite quickly.

5 - Taking a break
If you are stopping for a while slip the entire paint tray and roller into a plastic shopping bag and tuck the edges of the bag underneath the tray to make it airtight.  This will stop your paint and brushes from drying out.  In cooler weather this will work overnight too.  

6 - Cleaning up
I throw my roller and brush and paint tray away at the end of each job.  
Two reasons: I don't like the idea of paint being washed down the drains, and it takes a whole lot of unpleasantness out of the job. I have never got a really well used brush or roller clean enough that it was really worth the effort. 
Rollers and trays are inexpensive and your time is precious.

7 - Storing left over paint
If your paint tin is not closing well it is a good idea to decant the paint into a plastic lidded bucket, you can get them from any hardware store.  If air is getting into the tin your paint will harden and spoil.  

Write the paint colour on the lid with a sharpie so you will know what it is, and your paint will be all ready for you when you next need it.

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