The right way to paint - Part I

The worst part of painting is getting ready to paint, and cleaning up afterwards. The rest, to me, is a lot like yoga.
-- Mike Frentz

Everyone knows someone who thinks he’s a good painter. However, the time-honored “will paint for beer” is usually not the best reference one can find, no matter how well-intentioned.

Painting isn’t difficult but in order to do it right, you’ve got to take your time and relax. That’s why we’re breaking this column on painting into two or three follow-ups, so you can get the feel for what should happen when.

Step One: What are you doing?
Right now if you’re painting, hopefully you’re doing it inside, because paint needs to cure at no less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Mike Frentz. Hopefully you haven’t started yet, because what you want to do is take a good look at the room you’re about to paint and consider the following.

Step Two: Prep Work
What shape are the walls in? Painting brings out small imperfections, so if the walls have small nail or anchor holes, Mike recommends Onetime, a lightweight spackle that works as well for small holes as it does for larger structural cracks. If you’re working with a hole that looks like a bowling ball went through it, skip the spackle and do it right – use a pre-mixed joint compound and self-stick mesh joint tape.

If you see the remnants of water damage or stains, you need to lay down a base of material that will keep the stain from bleeding through the paint. That base stuff is called BIN or KILZ. Ask someone at Frentz how to use it.

Are you contemplating staining any trim in the room? Do it first – that’s not the kind of detail work you want to try when everything else around the object is complete. Occasionally there are areas where you have a space because the baseboard doesn’t meet with the wall. Go for a tube of Polyseamseal® caulk, squeegee it along the crack, wet your fingers with water and smooth it out. When it dries, you’ll be able to paint right over it.

Step Three: Pick your paint
The next thing to do is decide on what type of paint you want to use, and know why:

For example, you may need a good, thick primer if you’re painting fresh drywall, which inhales paint. Just because it’s new and smooth doesn’t mean it will cover in one coat.

“You are going to use two coats of paint, no matter what,” Mike says. Two coats will give you the look you’re envisioning.

Flat or semi-gloss paint is usually for walls. Flat, in particular, seems to hide a lot of the imperfections in old plaster walls found in many old neighborhood homes. The semi-gloss works best in bathrooms, kitchens and children’s rooms (however, if you’re going to paint a bathroom with a shower in it, use a specially designed latex paint so it won’t peel or bubble due to the humidity). PERMA-WHITE® Mold & Mildew-Proof™ is the best.

Semi-gloss latex or oil base paints are for trim. Mike says you’ll find oil base paints are more durable than latex, but have a much stronger odor and you’ll need mineral spirits to clean up. They are also being phased out by the EPA.