Painting 101

It is widely accepted that a fresh coat of paint is an excellent way to help you to sell your home.   After all, it’s one of the most cost effective ways to spruce up your house for sale.  Although the task may seem daunting, it truly is a simple DIY project in most cases.

First and foremost, gather your supplies.  You will need to have smooth walls to paint, so a patching compound, a putty knife and sandpaper should be on your list for fixing any drywall issues.  Head over to your local paint store and see what products are available.   Besides the obvious- paint- you will also need a paint roller and enough roller covers for each colour you’re using, unless you plan to wash them out in between jobs (which can be quite messy!)  You will, of course, need paint brushes also.  One with a slanted top is especially helpful when “cutting in”- a term explained below.  Some edging tape makes nice, clean, crisp lines for a professional look.  When in doubt, ask an employee where you’re shopping for tips and advice.  They have tons of experience with painting and can be a great resource.

There are different types of paint depending on what rooms you are doing.  For example, a kitchen or bathroom that has a lot of moisture do best with a semi-gloss or satin paint.  Try and find one with built-in mildew protection.  Semi-gloss can also be used to paint your trim, as it’s easily scrubbable (and goodness knows that trim can get dirty!!)  For most other walls in your house, a flat or eggshell paint will do.  If you’re painting a light colour over a darker one, or onto fresh drywall, a primer is necessary.  Many paint companies sell a paint-and-primer all in one, which can cut down on the amount of coats you might need to apply.  Gather some paint chips in neutral colours.  Neutral shades such as white, gray, and beige are what allow prospective buyers to see your space for all its potential, rather than blaring lime green walls (not everyone’s cup of tea!).  Paints have come a long way in recent years, and now there are several which contain low or no VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds).   This is great news as VOC’s are harmful to our health, and can also exacerbate conditions such as asthma.  These low or no VOC paints also have less stinky odour, which is great as your house should smell fresh and inviting when it’s for sale- not like paint chemicals.

So now you’ve gathered your supplies, it’s time to get started painting!  Complete your patching, sanding, and wiping down walls, then tape off baseboards, casing etc.- wherever you don’t want spill paint on to.  Consider moving some of your extra belongings into storage, rather than playing musical chairs with your furniture, moving it here and there out of your way as you paint.  Throw down a drop sheet, and first paint your ceilings.  There are special paints available for this application too!  They go on coloured and dry white, so you can see where you’ve painted.  Extension poles are also available to help make reaching your ceilings a piece of cake.  Once your ceilings have dried, move on to cutting in, which is painting a strip along the edge where the walls meet the ceilings, and around door and window frames and wall corners.  Once you’ve completed your cutting in, then you can pour some paint into your tray, wet the roller, roll of the excess paint on the little grooves in the tray, and apply the paint to the walls.  You want to work in diagonal, back-and-forth motions to ensure even coverage.  If paint is dripping off your roller, you’ve got too much.  Usually once the first coat of paint has dried, a second coat should be applied, in the same order as you did the first.

A couple extra points to consider are even if you’re using no VOC paint, it’s a good idea to open a window for some fresh air while painting and to keep it open for awhile afterwards.  And remember, if you have a difficult area to reach, such as a high staircase, etc., it may be worth calling in a professional to do these areas as they are experienced with heights and awkward areas.

So now you’ve got the basics, time to get started beautifying your walls!  Grab a couple friends or family members and put them to work- make it a painting party!  Have fun- just don’t forget to supply them with some yummy refreshments for their efforts!