The number one painting mistake often happens well before the paint can is ever opened. What is it? Forgetting to prep your space!
Fun fact — painting is so much more fun when there is nothing in your way! To avoid this mistake, empty the room or move furniture to the center of the room. Then, securely cover it with drop cloths to avoid paint drip and splatter, dust from sanding or the unwanted makeover of your favorite lounge chair.
How cool are speckled doorknobs? If that’s not the look you’re going for, then don’t forget to cover your knobs with a piece of tape or simply remove them during your painting project to protect their look.
Did you know even the most experienced painters can go off-line when painting? That’s why mistake number two is not using painters tape.
Unless you fancy uneven lines or have a very steady hand, grab some painters tape to ensure crisp lines and edges. Yes — taping off your space can take time. That’s why it’s important to look for high-quality tape that won’t peel.
Have you ever tried waxing a pollen-saturated car in the middle of spring? Defeats the purpose, right? That brings us into mistake number three — painting before cleaning your walls.
For new paint to stick, your interior or exterior surface needs to be clean and free from dust or grime that could interfere with your paint’s ability to adhere to walls, trim or ceilings. We get it, you want to strike while your creative enthusiasm is still fresh, but washing walls beforehand ensures the best results when painting!
There’s nothing worse than making multiple trips to the store only to find out you still don’t have what you need! Mistake number four is not buying enough paint.
In most cases, it’s better to buy too much paint rather than not enough, because who wants to run out of paint in the middle of a project? Plus, excess paint can always be saved for future touch-ups.
A good rule of thumb: You can estimate how much paint you’ll need by calculating the surface area that’s being painted and dividing it by the estimated coverage rate of the paint you’re using. Try using Lowe’s paint calculator for help.
Paint brushes come in a variety of sizes, end types and bristles. A good-quality brush holds more paint, applies more evenly and can result in a better-looking job with less effort. So, what’s the dilemma here? Mistake number five — using the wrong paintbrush!
The wrong brush can leave you with a disappointing painted surface. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all brush, but keeping in mind what you’re painting, the type of finish and the thickness of the paint or finish can assist you with finding just the right brush. Not sure what you need? Check out a few quick tips to help you find the right brush for your job:
- For oil-based finishes, it’s best to use brushes made with natural filaments. Natural bristles maintain paint at the tip of the brush.
- Acrylic latex paints and water-based finishes go on best with a synthetic fiber brush. Synthetic brushes often have white tips, making them easy to locate in stores.
- Angular sash brushes are ideal for trim, paneled doors, furniture, cabinets or if you’re painting close to another surface.
- For flat furniture surfaces, flat trim or non-paneled doors a flat brush is what you should go for. The flat edge on the brush will help cover surfaces with fewer strokes.
True or false: A sunny day void of rain is the perfect time to paint your home? False! Even a clear day might not be a good time to paint if the temperature and humidity aren’t right, which introduces mistake number six — ignoring the weather!
Temperatures can have different effects on how fresh paint dries. Make it a point to check the weather forecast before beginning any painting project, so you know what to expect.
- Fact: Extreme cold can prevent paint from drying properly because moisture inside the paint can freeze before it cures completely.
- Fact: Extreme heat can cause problems with drying paint by evaporating moisture in the paint too quickly.
- Fact: Humid conditions can hurt the adhesion of paint to wood surfaces because the moisture can be absorbed into the wood, causing bubbling or peeling.
Try to time your work when temperatures are expected to remain at a suitable level for at least two to three hours after application.
Choosing a paint color is important, but the type of paint you use is just as important and can be essential to your new color’s lifespan. This brings us to mistake number seven — using the wrong paint!
Paint is a mixture of four basic ingredients: pigments, resins, solvents and additives. You always want to make sure your paint has at least 45 percent pigment and resins per volume to avoid having to put on multiple coats. For more air quality protection look for paint that has low VOCs and is GREENGUARD GOLD certified.
Water-based or latex paint is most commonly used for applications in the home, from exteriors and trim to interior walls and woodwork. It’s fast-drying, cleans up with soap and water and is eco-friendly with fewer VOCs. Latex paint holds up in high-traffic areas and prevents mildew and moisture from getting into your home.
Oil-based paints are most commonly used in areas with high-moisture or those prone to heavy wear or impact like trim, floors or cabinets. This paint type has a longer drying time than latex paint, so you’re less likely to see brush strokes.
Choosing the wrong type of paint finish is sort of like wearing the wrong pair of shoes, it could ruin the entire outfit or in this case the entire paint job! A basic rule of thumb for choosing paint sheen: the higher the sheen, the higher the shine, which results in more durability. Keep in mind, high gloss finishes reflect more light, making it more likely to show imperfections.
Mistake number eight — skipping primer. In the short term, this will only leave you with a mediocre paint job that could prove to be disastrous in the long run. Primer works as a sealant, ensuring your paint adheres to the surface instead of soaking into the walls. Primer has three main purposes:
- It blocks stains and wood resins from bleeding through.
- It saves you time on applying multiple coats to cover up blemishes.
- It improves paint adhesion, extending the lifespan of your topcoat.
Not priming before painting could make cleaning your walls months down the line difficult. You may find the paint wearing off as you wipe off dirt or fingerprints or start peeling in humid conditions. Priming also helps bring out the true color of your paint. So take your time, do it right and you’ll be able to stand back and admire your masterpiece!
Remember, sometimes less is more. Let’s get into mistake number nine — dunking your brush! Seems like a simple task, right? But there is a right way to load paint onto the brush.
- Dip the brush directly into the paint up to 1/3 of the length of the bristles. You’ll save paint and avoid any unwanted drips on other surfaces.
- Tap both sides of the brush lightly against the side of the can or pail.
- Avoid scraping the paintbrush across the edge of the bucket to remove paint. This will not only remove the paint but compress the bristles and make the brush less effective.
Who doesn’t want to master the art of speed painting? Unfortunately, a little more time and patience are required when painting your home. This brings us to mistake number ten – not waiting for the second coat.
A second coat fills in thin spots and streaks and creates a smooth, uniform and more durable coating. It’s usually called the finish coat because it’s the last coating you’ll apply to the walls. Applying your second coat too soon may pull paint up as you roll, which results in streaks, peeling and uneven color. The best method is to check the instructions on your paint can for suggested dry time, and if you’re still unsure — give it twenty-four hours!
Paint is the foundation of many great DIY projects. It’s often what makes your house, your home. A little preparation will help you avoid these common mistakes and have you well on your way to putting on a fresh coat that will make you, and anyone who visits, proud!