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Hints for novice painters

So, that flaky-looking wall has finally inspired you to do some home improvement work yourself.


Here’s how you can get a great-looking finish on your walls without having to call in the experts or spend a ton of cash.


If you take a little care and time when painting your walls, you’ll get the most from your efforts – and the money you spend. 

Choosing a paint

The first thing you need to do is choose a paint; there is a wide range of colours, types and textures.


While the price on the tin is typically the first thing to catch your attention, there is more to it than that.


Consider the coverage; you may find that the cheaper paint has a much lower coverage ratio, meaning that you’ll have to buy more of it to do the same job.


Consider also that some paints are textured, and others smooth – knowing what you want your walls to look like means choosing the right product for the job.


Follow the instructions

Read and follow the instructions on the paint tin.


With the fast pace of modern life, there is a tendency to pop the lid and immediately get your hands dirty without paying any attention to the printing on the side of the tin.


Skip this step at your own peril. The manufacturer puts a lot of care into those instructions and following them will help you achieve a great-looking finish and the best value from your paint.


Reading the instructions can prevent costly mistakes.


For example, there is a common misconception that topcoats have a built-in primer.


Believing that is a terrible mistake to make; you could end up painting an entire room, or worse, your whole house, only to find the paint peeling off months later.


That’s not the fault of the product if you haven’t followed the instructions.


Topcoats and primers

Another common mistake is to put all the funds for a project into an expensive topcoat at the expense of the primer.


Rather spend more on the primer and less on the topcoat if you must find a balance.


If you prime the surface properly, you can get away with using a cheaper topcoat and still have a long-lasting finish.


Another common attempt at cost-cutting is the single coat approach.


Rather do the job properly; at least two coats are needed to create a proper layer to protect the underlying surface and deliver the right look.


However, avoid getting too carried away; first-timers often apply the second coat when the first is dry to the touch.


Check the instructions; they will tell you to wait for a certain amount of time before applying the second coat. Follow this instruction to be sure of a successful finish.


Prepare properly before starting the job; if you are unsure of anything, ask your paint supplier for advice.


Just supply as much information about the job you are planning as possible.


Painting small rooms

You can make a small room seen bigger by using the right colour paint, and by complementing the colour with careful furniture choices and placement.


The simplest course of action is to paint the room in a lighter hue.


This reflects light better and thus creates an expanding effect.


To do this, you don’t have to go for white; explore the palette a little and you will find many lighter shades, like pale yellows, light shades of blue, sandy beige or pale sea green.


Any one of these will provide some colour and character while still giving the impression of additional volume.


And don’t stop at the walls. Painting all trims, skirtings, window frames and door frames in the same shade as the walls adds to the illusion of more space.


Covering flaws

Like make-up, an application of paint can conceal the minor imperfections that can otherwise ruin visual appeal.


Flaws can range from minor cracks in the underlying plaster to unsightly bumps or depressions.


While the major damage should receive appropriate attention, many imperfections can be covered through the judicious application of the right choice of paint.


Where there are depressions, a filler is required, while unsightly bumps will require attention with sandpaper.


Once smooth, any areas that have undergone filling or sanding will require spot priming before being painted over.


Following this preparation, the choice of paint will have a substantial impact on just how good the final finish will look.


In high traffic areas, which are more likely to experience problems, a careful selection of the final coating for these walls is necessary.


Whether it is in the kitchen or scullery, where the walls often get bumped, or in children’s rooms, where posters are affixed to the walls with Prestik, flaws are likely to show up quickly.


If the paint has become chipped through wear or it has been pulled off in areas where posters have been hung, consider sanding the damaged area down, before priming and repainting.


This approach is sometimes better than using filler, especially when a number of layers of paint are already on the wall. Look for intermediate texture coats to cover minor flaws. 

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