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Exploring Painting Tools for a Perfect Paint Job? Here's How.

Exploring Painting Tools for a Perfect Paint Job? Here's How.

A fresh coat of paint can refresh a space and give a room an attractive new look. But before you start to apply a new colour, it’s important to prepare. The right brushes, primers and paint strippers can refresh your canvas for a perfect final outcome. Take steps to make sure the surface is paint-ready and achieve a professional-looking paint job, inside and out.

Why It’s Important to Prep First

You’re probably anxious to jump right in and start applying new colour to your indoor or outdoor living space. So why is it necessary to spend time preparing the room and walls before applying paint? Read on to find out.

Get the Room Ready

Proper room preparation helps to protect furniture and fixtures from unwanted damage:  
  • Move furniture and other belongings out of the room 
  • If you can't move furniture out of the room, move it to the centre and cover it with drop cloths  
  • Cover light fixtures and ceiling fans (when not in use) with plastic sheets 
  • Remove any outlet covers, vent covers, return covers and hardware 
  • Tape off the edges of areas not to be painted (door trim, baseboards, ceiling etc) 
  • Protect switches with tape 
  • Repair any picture holes or other wall damage using filler and sandpaper  
  • Clean the walls thoroughly of any dust and dirt before painting

Exterior Paint Prep Tips for Success

For exterior paint preparation, the following tips will help the job go smoothly: 
  • Wash and prepare all surfaces using the applicable cleaners, thinners and paint strippers  
  • Use a TSP-based cleaner for painted surfaces, a paint stripper if changing the stain colour, and a deck renewer prior to staining 
  • Make any necessary repairs at this stage using the appropriate patches and fillers 
  • Let surfaces dry for at least a day before painting 
  • Cover deck, patio, plants and outdoor furniture with drop cloths 
  • Keep an eye on the weather forecast! Rain, wind and sun can slow you down and ruin your hard work

Materials to Have on Hand

The last thing you want to do after you start to paint is hunt down materials you’re missing. Or worse yet, head back to the store for painting tools you forgot. Keeping the following materials handy will make the process painless: 

Rollers Vs. Brushes—What to Know

Using a high-quality paint brush or paint roller offers a number of benefits: 
• Smoother coverage 
• Holds more paint, which saves you time 
• Improves productivity by releasing more paint with less effort 
• Fewer runs, drips and spatter 
• Is easier to clean and lasts longer 

Typically, you'll use a roller for large, flat wall areas and a paintbrush for "cutting in." Cutting in refers to painting the corners at walls and ceilings, or around baseboards and door/window trim. 
Good to Know! 
When using alkyd (oil-based) paints, use paint thinner to properly clean paint brushes, rollers and surfaces. This is essential if you want to maintain and reuse your paint tools. Thinner can also be used to reduce the thickness of oil-based paints.
Paint Brush Types 
Brushes come with different filaments (natural hair or synthetic fibres), degrees of stiffness and handle types. Determine what is best suited to your project. Surface, paint type, conditions and personal preference are all important factors. 

Brush size is also important. Smaller brushes are best for trim and touch-up jobs. Larger, angled brushes are great for cutting-in around window and door frames. Large wall brushes are ideal for staining decks and exterior walls.
Paint Roller Types
Rollers provide uniform coverage. They are ideal for larger areas, and they release paint quickly and evenly. Roller brushes feature different fabrics, nap heights, cages and handles. 

As with brushes, the type of paint job will determine the best choice, along with personal preference. A general rule is that the higher the sheen of paint, the lower the pile of the roller.
Paint Sprayers 
Paint sprayers are another option for paint application. They spread paint faster than a brush or roller. Sprayers are also effective at applying an even coating to uneven surfaces. However, a brush is better at giving you control where neatness counts.

Surface Prep: Cleaning, Sanding and Priming

Once the room or home exterior is prepped and you’re stocked with the required supplies, you’re ready to move on to surface preparation.

Begin with a Clean Surface

Clean walls are key. A dirty surface makes it more difficult for paint to adhere and can lead to peeling. You’ll want to start with a perfectly smooth surface to end up with a professional-looking finish. 
  • If necessary, use a paint scraper to remove old paint or wallpaper 
  • Dust and wipe the walls with a damp towel or sponge and let them dry 
  • Wash all surfaces with a TSP-based cleaner to prepare for painting and to improve paint adhesion (rinse with water if required) 
  • Let walls dry thoroughly  

NOTE: If there is mildew, clean it with a sponge and a solution of one part bleach to three parts water. Mildew will grow through new paint if left untreated. 

For exterior painting: You’ll want to look for damages and make any repairs to the surface before you paint. They may be caused by weather, wear and tear, animals or insects.

Sanding for a Smooth Start and Finish

Whether or not a wall was previously painted, if there are any rough spots, cracks or holes, you’ll want to sand so paint goes on smoothly. 
  • If necessary, use joint compound to fill and repair holes or imperfections 
  • Apply joint compound with a putty knife, remove excess and allow to dry before applying paint 
  • Sand rough or uneven spaces with fine-grit sandpaper or a sanding block 
  • Use a stain-covering primer to hide any stubborn stains that refuse to wash or sand out 
  • Make sure to wipe away dust and debris and allow surface to dry  

Tip: Use painter's tape to mask off your mouldings, windows, doors and ceiling. This will protect them from paint drips and prevent mistakes. This also applies to outdoor painting. You’ll want to tape around exterior outlet boxes, utility heads, hose bibs and racks, etc.
Good to Know! 
A putty knife is ideal for light touch-up work on flat surfaces. 

A paint scraper can make easier work of more complex paint removal tasks. Scrapers comes with straight and curves edges for different types of work.

Prime Away Imperfections

Primers seal unpainted surfaces, hide dark colours in fewer coats and increase the bond for paint to adhere. Both oil-based and latex-based primers can be used for any type of paint. In 90% of all paint applications primers are not required, but they are especially useful when: 

  • Walls are porous or have stains that need covering up 
  • You intend to make a big change in colour or sheen 
  • Painting over glossy surfaces to ensure adhesion 

Tip: To save time, consider purchasing a paint-and-primer-in-one 

Primer is best used with: 
  • Drywall and bare wood 
  • Over high gloss finishes 
  • For drastic colour changes 

Tip: A paint roller extension pole helps you to reach high locations with more ease and accuracy.

Reclaim the Original Surface

Sometimes you’ll need to remove old paint and stain from surfaces. Removers, also called paint strippers, eliminate all types of paint and finishes to reveal the original surface. 

  • Check the label to make sure that you're purchasing a paint stripper that's right for the surface  
  • Wear safety glasses and gloves 
  • Use a scraper that won’t mark the surface of wood and use caution as you scrape 
  • Use inexpensive paint brushes for this type of job 

Tip: Consider a safe vs. solvent-based paint stripper. Safe paint strippers contain fewer caustic ingredients but are generally more expensive and take longer to soften the finish 

SAFETY FIRST: When using chemicals, always read the manufacturer’s warnings and follow the safety precautions on the label.
You’re now set to prep and prime for the optimal painting surface. Browse our wide selection of interior and exterior paint and transform the look of your home. Your DIY painting project will look professional, hands-down.
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