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Q & A on interior painting

Spring is such a beautiful season around here, but it’s also notoriously unpredictable. While you may be thinking about and planning various outside projects, some might have to wait until the spring showers subside.

However, this could be a great time to spruce up the inside of your house.

Most people instinctively know the basics of interior painting, but we do have a few tips that aren’t always common knowledge. Maybe these questions can help you plan for your next inside paint job.

Q. It’s been years since we’ve painted. What are the basics that we need to do the job? Are there any new tools available that make the job easier – especially keeping that line straight between the walls and the ceiling?

A. The essentials are rags, drop cloths, painter’s tape, quality roller frame and tray, paint roller designed for the texture on your walls and with your paint, a quality brush, paint pad and sturdy ladder.

For the straight line you asked about, they make paint pads now with small rollers on the edge which we have found to work fairly well for “cutting in” lines such as at the ceiling to wall junction.

Q. What’s the best way to prepare a room to be painted?

A. Remove any objects attached to the walls or ceiling (for example electrical outlet covers, drapes, light covers etc.). Wash the walls, ceiling and trims down with a mild soap-and- water solution and rinse with clean, clear water on a rag.

Take special care around your electrical fixtures so as to not get any water or your wet rag into the open electrical boxes. Safety first!

Q. What’s the rule of thumb when doing interior paint – walls, trim or ceiling first?

A. Generally, ceiling first, the walls second and finished off with cutting in the trim last. Seems like that makes sense to keep from splattering the walls with ceiling paint and the trim with wall paint. This is especially helpful if there are two or three different colors.

Q. We want to redo our master bedroom and bathroom in the same new color. However, should we get a different sheen of paint for the bathroom? What’s the rule about when to use satin, high gloss, semi-gloss vs. flat paint?

A. Generally, the higher the sheen the more washable the paint and the more light that is reflected by it. Wall defects will show more, too. Bathrooms and kitchens require cleaning more often, so semi- or high-gloss paint is best.

For other sheens, here is a general guide: Flat paint absorbs light and will make a poor surface look more uniform and generally better, but it can readily show fingerprints. Satin or low luster is also a good all-purpose paint to not only hide defects, but also clean easily.

Q. How many coats of paint can an interior wall take? Our house is old and has seen many layers. We want to redo the kitchen yet again, but are wondering if we should scrape off or just keep painting over.

A. As long as the substrate and the old layers of paint are still intact you can repaint them forever.

If the old paint is poor, there is always the possibility (in pre-1978 homes) of the presence of lead-based paint. Scraping or sanding older layers of paint can create a dangerous environment by releasing lead dust and small paint chips etc. into the surrounding area.

If you must scrape or sand old paint, have it checked for the presence of lead-based paint. You can actually check it yourself with lead test swabs available almost everywhere paint is sold. If you do not test the paint in your older home, assume that it is lead-based paint and do your work accordingly.

There are many sources of information available such as the internet, libraries, paint stores, us, etc., for tips and methods of dealing safely with lead-based paint.

Q. Our house has plaster-and-lathe walls. Someday we’d like to replace them. However, in the meantime, any helpful hints on how to paint to avoid cracks and peeling later?

A. If you have cracks that are growing, you may want to fix your foundation prior to painting! If not, just fill them with a paintable silicone caulk. If you decide to remove the plaster and replace it, be sure to test for the presence of lead paint and demolish the walls as per the rules for lead-based paint.

Q. Can you paint over wallpaper or do you have to strip the paper off and texture the room?

A. This really depends on the quality and type of the wallpaper and the quality of the installation. From experience, the water in the paint can release the glue behind some kinds of wall paper. Testing a small area first is a good plan.

Contractors Needed

We here at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor are on the lookout for all kinds of good contractors to add to our bidder’s pool. Payment is guaranteed. Give us a call at 360- 533-7828 to find out more.


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