Not every home renovation/remodel project needs the professional touch. Sure, the more complicated arenas of demolition and building or working with utilities is better left to the experienced. But when it comes to more mundane jobs, you’ll be fine with your two hands. Painting, for example, is one of the quickest ways to make a dramatic shift in your home without the need for a professional. If you’re in a renovation project yourself, you can save money by taking on this later step of the process. Before you get started, though, heed this advice for results that look like you shelled out the big bucks to make it happen.

Paint And The Weather
Truth be told, while it’s a relatively easy job (in the sense that literally anybody can do it) it’s an involved process that takes time, attention to detail, and steady work. You may not think the weather would affect your paint project at first, but it does. How? Drying times. Cold and humid weather extends the dry times, which extends the total time it will take to finish. If you’re working on a tight schedule, check the weather and pick a weekend that is likely to be sunny and warm. If you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place, it’s still manageable, but maybe don’t make any plans until it’s finished.

Tools For Success
If there’s one thing that’s going to result in success or failure, it’s having the right tools for the job. Specifically your paint, brushes, tape and rollers. These are where you want to spend your money. It isn’t so much about brand as it is quality and what’s right for your job.

The texture of your walls affect brushes and rollers. Highly textured walls need a roller with a thick nap (that’s the fluff of the roller). Too thin a nap and your paint won’t cover all the crevices of your popcorn drywall. Too thick for a smooth surface and you’re likely to end up with an uneven application and waste paint.

You want an angled brush that’s at least 2 inches wide and made of material that best suits the type of paint you’re using. The angle will allow you to reach into those corners and cut around trim and edges. Latex paint pairs best with a synthetic brush. If you’re using an oil-based paint, though, you want a natural paint brush (usually made with hog hair). Consult a team member at your local hardware/paint store for ultimate guidance.

Tape matters. You might think you can get away with the cheap brand, but taking that route can lead to bleeding and messy lines around your baseboards, the ceiling, and trim. All other tools, however (trays, liners, handles/extensions, dropcloths), don’t need to be top of the line. Save money here.

Where do you want to invest the most money? On your paint. A good quality paint (and there are plenty out there to choose from, fear not) will be the difference between a sophisticated, sleek finish, to something that looks, well… cheap.

Execution
There’s always a method to the madness. First, you always want to clear the area, properly store valuables, remove switchplates, and tape everything not being painted. You also want to clean the walls and allow them plenty of time to dry. As with anything, a clean surface is the first step to success. Dust and then wipe stains with a damp cloth (adding soap as needed; dish soaps with a degreasing agent for extra oomph). Best to do all of this prep work the night before you begin painting, so you can start fresh first thing in the morning.

Work from hard to easy. Cutting around the trim will be the most time consuming portion as it requires precision, care, and attention to detail. Always have a damp rag nearby should you accidentally spill or paint something that’s not supposed to be painted.

Because trim work is so meticulous and time consuming, always start with the edges and then fill in the blanks. If your room is particularly large or has lots of edgework, you may need to do one wall at a time. You don’t want the edges to become too dry before filling in with your roller.

After you’ve got the edges done, fill in with your roller in an “N” pattern. Applying the paint this way – as opposed to straight up and down – prevents lines and streaking, leaving you with a smooth, even coat. Wait about an hour between coats. If you’re going one wall at a time or a large room you may find that by the time you finish wall 4, wall 1 will be ready to go. You’ll know it’s time to apply the next coat when it is dry to the touch; not too dry, not too tacky. Always apply two coats.

Let your room dry overnight before restoring order to the chaos. Patience is a virtue. The last thing you want is to move furniture back in before it’s truly dry, bump a wall, and then you mess up the paint job and get paint on your lovely velvet couch. All in all, you can expect to spend a solid weekend (beginning Friday night and finishing Sunday afternoon) from start to finish on this project. It will be work, but it will be worth it. No go forth and conquer!

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