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A Quick Guide: Painting Basics

Benefits of Painting

  • A coat of paint can breathe new life into any space or piece of furniture

  • Paint can transform a space relatively fast

  • It’s usually all of the prep involved, that can consume 70% of the time allotted for the painting portion of a project

  • Colour is an essential tool in setting the mood/tone of a room

  • If done effectively, it can give a room purpose

Picking the Colour

Deciding on a colour for a room or a large piece of furniture can be tricky, even for a designer, picking one tends to be situational and subjective. Here’s some general advice we have to aid in the process:

  • Have an overall goal for your room, how you want it to feel?

  • What design aesthetic and mood do you want to reflect?

  • Look at rooms that you find beautiful for inspiration

  • A favourite tv show, a movie, an image in a magazine, or Pinterest is a fantastic resource

  • Take a reference photo with your phone and refer to it use when making design/colour decisions…it’s like hiring a fancy pants designer whose done some of your homework for you about what colour combinations work well together

  • What other existing pieces of furniture, art, décor and finishes is the paint pairing with to tell a story

  • Light -we can’t emphasize this one enough, bring home swatches, then narrow down the pile by looking at them in the space with context

  • When you have narrowed down your choices, roll a few pieces of tape on the backs of the swatches (so each sits flat) and you can look at them during different hours of the day to see how they read under different light

  • If still undecided (because the sample is too small) you can invest in a small sample can and paint a larger area

  • Benjamin Moore offers printed 1sqft samples of each of their colours for a small fee

  • Value –value and light work hand in hand –like twins!

  • The value of a colour is the lightness or darkness of a colour

  • One of the quickest ways to tell the value of something is to take a picture on your phone and desaturate the image so that it’s all in greyscale

  • Successfully designed rooms play with the balance in colour weight, or rather, use lights, midtones and darks effectively

  • This is done with the combination of wall colour, floor colour, furniture and finishes

  • Try greyscaling your inspirational image to get an idea of the colour value balance you are trying to emulate in your space

  • Take a before photo of your space

  • Many paint brands have helpful online tools planners

  • They enable you to upload a before photo of your room/house and digitally apply various colour options

  • We like the one offered by Benjamin Moore

  • Most paint stores offer paint books of their colours

  • You can get them at a discounted rate (paint too) if you have a business card showing you’re in the business, or get someone you know who is, to get you one

  • Having a book is worth it if you plan on doing a lot of painting projects

  • Lastly, go with color that brings you joy

Understanding What Paint to Use for which Project

Again functionality is key here

  • Kitchen and bathrooms see a lot of moisture so having a paint rated for that environment is important

  • Ceilings in particular is where most condensation and humidity collect

  • We love Zinsser Perma-White, it’s mould, mildew and stain resistant and low VOC (volatile off-gas compounds)

  • Likewise, if you’re doing a project outdoors and the paint is going to be exposed to the elements, select an exterior rated paint

  • The surface you’re painting is also a key factor in deciding what paint to go with (drywall, wood, metal, prefinished materials, plastics, masonry, ceramics, fabric = different paints)

  • Usually the paint can will specify it’s uses and applications or an employee can advise…it’s a gamble sometimes with the advice you receive, sometimes better to use your internet fact checker if you can

Demystifying Paint Finishes

  • Primer

  • A single good coverage coat is required everywhere after new drywall/fresh plaster. Then you can proceed with two coats of ceiling paint, two coats of your wall colour and finally caulking baseboard/door casing and painting two coats of trim

  • Is needed after doing small patchwork with DryDex filling dents or holes, usually you can spot prime just that area with a mini microfiber roller to try to re-create a similar eggshell texture, better with a second pass before painting the wall in full with your new colour

  • Is sometimes of benefit if doing a drastic colour change from dark to light colours. Helps save money as it minimizes the number of coats required of your new colour

  • Not many occasions arise but primer can be tinted darker if you plan on going darker in a room..sometimes we’ve done this when we need to ensure good adhesion

  • Acts like a glue layer, it helps the new paint adhere better to whatever surface it’s sticking to

  • Anytime you have raw wood, it needs to be primed, especially the knots. It’s important that it is coated with a special primer that has a built in stain blocker

  • Matte

  • Has no sheen quality to the paint and absorbs light

  • On trend in design right now

  • Like ultra mat black accent walls

  • Does an amazing job of hiding bumps, waves and imperfections in drywall

  • Ceilings are painted in a mat finish for this reason

  • Doesn’t scrub or clean as well, as paint with sheen, unless you’re willing to pay a premium for it

  • Perhaps not the best suited for age groups that enjoy touching things then touching walls..sorry kids

  • Eggshell

  • Is the most common type of finish, as it’s practical for almost any room of a home

  • Slight sheen allows for easy cleaning

  • Mr. Cleans Magic erasers are one of our favourite inventions, in fact sometimes you don’t need a fresh coat of paint you need a magic eraser

  • Satin

  • Slightly more sheen than eggshell

  • Becoming more common for baseboards, trims and doors

  • Everything seems to be headed in the lower sheen direction right now

  • Still user friendly in terms of being able to wipe surfaces

  • Semi-Gloss

  • Old standard for baseboard, trims and doors

  • It used to be really common in kitchens and bathrooms because of its easy cleanability and water repellent nature

  • Gloss

  • Less commonly seen, as its only used for specific applications

  • You tend to come across this level of finish more with urethaning wood on the job

  • Most reflective finish

  • Has a mirror-like quality to it

Tips for Ordering Paint

Figuring out how much paint you’ll need to cover your space can be calculated but we find we buy paint as we need it. Each can of paint is different in how far it’ll go.

It’s dependent on:

  • The brand

  • The colour

  • The finish/sheen

  • The age of the paint and how long it’s been stored

  • The viscosity/thickness of the paint

Each factor contributes to how far the paint will extend in terms of wall coverage. So unless you’re painting/priming an entire level of your home which might mean you’ll be needing a 5 gallon pail. If your project is a single small accent wall or a bathroom that’s mostly tile with a little amount of paint, then a quart should do. But for the most part, buy paint by the gallon, because there is no returning it once it’s mixed.

  • Paint can always be tinted after the fact if you’re not pleased with the colour but only darker

  • They make no guarantees at this point because it’s no longer an exact slightly risky..but what do you have to lose if you’re unhappy anyways?

  • Once a paint has been modified it becomes a custom colour, so any future cans you want whipped up to match have to follow the same recipe…or you have to bring in a 2inch square sample for them to scan and match using specialized software

  • Lastly if you’re worried about running out of paint, try to complete which ever wall you’re on. This way, you can start the new can of paint on a different wall, so even if there’s a minute difference in colour, you won’t notice it.

  • Don’t milk the roller to finish painting a wall (aka exert extra force while rolling to squeeze/extend the paint). It creates a texture you may not be able to notice right away but it’ll catch the light differently from different angles and you will see unattractive roller line patterns..icky

  • Note to self: always make sure your roller is loaded with enough paint

Cleanup and Storage

  • Try to periodically clean out your brush when painting

  • If you work too long without washing your brush, the paint starts to dry halfway along the bristles, forming this nasty latex plastic mass that can be difficult to get off to restore the brush

  • They have paint combs, meant for cleaning to help remove stuck on paint

  • Always wash brushes in cool to luke warm water with mild soap, as hot temperatures can melt/soften glue so the bristles will begin to come out, then in turn, compromising the metal crimping that holds everything together…warning: it’ll be raining bristle hairs soon

  • Drying your brush

  • If you plan to go back to painting right away:

  • Rinse brush until the water runs clear

  • Hand squeeze the water out of the brush

  • Violently shake out excess water, careful to do this somewhere (tinted?) water droplet spray doesn’t matter, outdoors is preferable

  • dry any remaining moisture with paper towel

  • If you go to use your brush and it isn’t dry enough, you’ll have diluted paint water rolling down your arms while you work..not’ll either have to work with a paper towel wrapped around your brush like an ice cream cone or restart the washing/drying process

  • If you’re not going back to paint, leave the brush to dry standing up/leaning against a wall, handle side up, or at a minimum put something under the handle so the bristles are tilted downward to let out excess water and prevent water from going back into the metal component…it’s similar to how to you care for makeup brushes

  • Storing rollers

  • Saturated paint sleeves can be wrapped tightly in a plastic bag on the roller (be mindful it doesn’t have holes), we’ll even double bag it for extra security

  • It can last up to a couple weeks like this..even if left on the roller

  • For longer durations, you can opt to take it off it’s roller (some suggest putting tin foil around it too) and freeze it for a few months…we have yet to do this and instead we try to wash them out if storing longer than a few days

  • Rollers sleeves can be washed out and reused a few times...take heed, it’s a time consuming task (some painters don’t think it’s worth their time and toss them when they’re finished)…but if you’re on a budget, or concerned about the environment, it may be worth your while

  • The roller can aide in quickly drying a clean wet sleeve, first ream out what you can with your hands, then use the centrifugal force of the roller to spin it super fast, you’ll be able to start a new colour almost right prepared to get a bit wet

  • Let liners dry out so you can get another use or two out of them

  • Leftover paint

  • You want to make sure you get a good seal on your can, if you have leftover paint

  • We recommend using a paint pourer, so paint doesn’t build up and get all gungy preventing the lid from getting a good seal

  • Tap around the perimeter of the lid with a mallet/ softly with a hammer or with handle end of a screwdriver, being careful not to dent the can

  • It can stay stored like this for years and just be stirred again when ready to use

  • If you finished your can leave it open to dry and toss it in the recycling bin or wash it to reuse for another use

  • Always store paint cans at a temperature that doesn’t drop below the freezing point..unless your garage is insulated and heated, you’re better off storing paint in the basement

  • If you have paint that’s no longer good, that is it’s dried out and lumpy, and it can’t be salvaged with a panty-hose stainer, or it has rust in it and can not be remixed to the colour you’re’re best off adding it to the pile of toxic stuff to take to your local the recycling center

Do you have any questions about painting?

What is your go-to paint colour or brand and why?

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