How to Approach Your First Paint Job
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How to Approach Your First Paint Job

by TimJones on October 12, 2011

Many of the posts on our blog are aimed at those who have painted before:  do-it-yourselfers who understand the basics of painting and have at least a few projects under their belts.

This post is different.  It’s written for the first-time painter who has never picked up a brush or roller. If that describes you, then please read on.  We’d love to remove any reluctance you may have to try painting, and provide insights that will help make your first painting experience as pleasant and satisfying as possible.

The first thing you need to know is that very few paint jobs start with painting.  Instead, they begin with good surface preparation. Paints adhere better and last longer when applied to clean, sound surfaces, so don’t give short shrift to the prep work required for your particular project.  The temptation will be great!  Don’t succumb to it.

Next, don’t rush your color selection.  Amateurs do this all the time and all-too-often are surprised at the look of a color once it’s applied.  To avoid this situation, study color cards, bring them home and place them against the surface you’ll be painting, observe the colors in daylight and at night, then purchase a paint sampler and apply a test swatch before committing to a color.  The process may seem tedious, but it can save you extra work and a lot of frustration.

When you go back to the paint store to purchase your paint and sundries, be prepared.  Create a shopping list detailing everything you need, or visit and download our free “10-Point Checklist” to take to the paint store. Otherwise, you may waste time running back and forth unnecessarily.

painting-tools At the paint store, follow the lead of experienced do-it-yourselfers and go with the highest quality paint. Acrylic latex coatings made with 100% acrylic are much easier to work with, can help even first-time painters get professional-looking results, and last much longer than ordinary paint.

When shopping, you should also favor quality brushes and rollers — they, too, make painting more effortless and will help you apply a thick, even coat of paint.

Back at the house, make sure that you protect your furniture and floors with dropcloths before starting your project. Everyone tries to be careful when painting, but spills, drips, and spatters are a fact of life.  Do what the pros do, and take proper precautions.

When you begin to paint, work as carefully as you can, but don’t be upset or discouraged by minor mistakes such as hitting the ceiling with an errant brushstroke or missing a spot on the wall. Most slip-ups are easy to remedy, especially if you’re prepared for them.  While working, keep a moist cloth handy to wipe up drips and stray brushstrokes; and, if you’re using top quality paint, you’ll see that touch-ups are a snap.

By following these few guidelines, you’ll avoid many of the common missteps of inexperienced painters and get better results from the get-go.  Experience may be the best teacher, but it isn’t the only way to learn!

This is a guest post by Debbie Zimmer, a blogger, speaker, and a nationally recognized expert on color, use of paints in interior and exterior design, and decorative painting techniques. She can be found on Twitter as @PaintQualityIns and the Paint Quality Institute blog.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jill July 29, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Thanks for this! I’m defiantly to impatient to take sme of these steps but in the perspective that you put it… If the professionals do it I should too. Ready, set, paint!

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