Advice - 17 Interior Paint Tips

Select paintbrush and roller

1. Is there any connection between the type of brush and the type of paint used?

Brushes with natural fibres resist diluents, they are recommended for solvent-based paints and varnishes. On the other hand, they are not recommended for water-based paints because they absorb water, expand and lose their elasticity. Synthetic fibre brushes are better used with water-based paints because they absorb less water than natural fibre brushes.

2. Is a more expensive brush really better than a cheaper one?

A quality brush costs more because it paints better, keeps its fibres longer, applies paint easier, leaves less drips and lasts longer if it is well looked after. Before choosing a brush, make sure you check the fibre density. The brush fibres must be just as thick at the edges as they are at the centre.


Cleaning Surfaces

Interior ceilings and walls must be cleaned before they are repainted, even if they already look clean.

Interior ceilings and walls must be cleaned before they are repainted, even if they already look clean. For example, the process of cooking food leaves fat deposits on kitchen walls, cabinets and ceilings. Dust builds up on door tops and window frames. Furthermore, each time we touch a piece of furniture, a wall or some woodwork, we leave behind a bit of natural oil from our skin.

The presence of various indoor contaminants diminishes the ability of coating to adhere. Consequently, surfaces must be cleaned before they are painted. The following pages describe how to use such cleaning products indoors. Check the Cleaning Product Selection Table to determine which cleaners to use.


Determining what type of paint is on a surface

Make sure to check if a previous coating was water or solvent-based.

Make sure to check if a previous coating was water or solvent-based. Here are two simple ways to find out:

Lightly swab surface with a rag moistened in alcohol. A water-based coating will soften and stain the rag.

Look behind a picture frame. Yellowed paint is a clear sign of solvent-based paint.

If you are still unsure, apply a base coat before the finishing coat.


Moisture test for concrete

The presence of moisture in concrete may impair the product’s adherence.

The presence of moisture in concrete may impair the product’s adherence. It is therefore necessary to test the moisture content in concrete before applying any product.

Checklist

Masking tape and plastic films

Electronic instrument (optional)

Testing moisture content in concrete:

1. Let concrete dry for 72 hours before running a moisture test.

2. Before testing moisture content, make sure that the concrete temperature is higher than 15ºC (60ºF). Low temperatures slow down the humidity migration and tamper results.

3. Test the surface moisture content in 4 or 5 locations. Use an electronic instrument or attach plastic (polyethylene) films with masking tape to surface areas to be tested. Leave the plastic films on for 24 hours if the temperature exceeds 20ºC, and 3 days if the temperature ranges between 5 and 20ºC. The test cannot be run if the temperature is lower than 5ºC. After the required time, check for any signs of moisture (droplets forming under the plastic films).

4. If there are no traces of moisture, apply the product of your choice. If moisture is present, build a raised floor with a moisture barrier.


Repairing surfaces

Repair products are used to fix damaged surfaces.

Repair products are used to fix damaged surfaces. They include fillers like wood filler, plastic joint filler, plaster of Paris, putty, mortar and so forth. You should select the best filler for the job. Read manufacturer’s instructions regarding the filler and its uses.

Before fixing surfaces, clean and sand as described in section “Cleaning Surfaces.”

Fixing previously painted gypsum (drywall) surfaces:

Checklist

Appropriate filler

Putty knife

Sandpaper

Trowel

Shop vacuum cleaner

1. Scrape paint away from hole with a putty knife.

2. Remove damaged gypsum (drywall).

3. Sand with a medium-grade (80, 100 or 120) sandpaper and vacuum away dust.

4. Use trowel or wide putty knife to fill hole with filler.

5. Let filler dry. Do not use joint compound on previously painted surfaces as this may cause the blistering (air bubbles) during or after the application of the paint

6. After 24 hours (or according to manufacturer’s instructions), sand with a medium-grade (100 or 120) sandpaper and vacuum up dust.

7. Repeat as needed.

Fixing previously painted masonry surfaces:

Checklist

Appropriate filler

Putty knife

Sandpaper

Trowel

Shop vacuum cleaner

1. Scrape paint away from hole with scraper or putty knife.

2. Remove damaged masonry or plaster and vacuum away residues.

3. Sand surface with a medium-grade (80, 100 or 120) sandpaper and vacuum up dust.

4. Sprinkle water on the edges of the hole so filler will stick.

5. Fill hole with filler using a wide putty knife or trowel.

6. Let filler dry completely. Do not use joint compound on previously painted surfaces as this may cause the blistering (air bubbles) during or after the application of the paint.

7. After 24 hours (or according to manufacturer’s instructions), sand with a medium-grade (100 or 120) sandpaper and vacuum up dust.

8. Repeat as needed.

Fixing previously painted wood surfaces:

Checklist

Appropriate filler

Putty knife

Sandpaper

Nail set

Trowel

Shop vacuum cleaner

1. Scrape away paint with putty knife.

2. Remove rotten wood and any loose pieces of wood.

3. Sink any extruding nail heads with the nail set.

4. Sand surface with a medium-grade (80, 100 or 120) sandpaper and vacuum up dust.

5. Fill holes with plastic wood.

6. Let dry, sand with progressively finer grades sandpaper (150, 180 and 220) and vacuum up dust.

7. Repeat as needed.

8. Wipe with a white, moist, lint-free rag. The moist rag removes any dust left by the vacuum cleaner. Soak rag in clean lukewarm water and wring out thoroughly before wiping to avoid leaving behind any moisture that could cause wood to swell.


Sanding surfaces

Sanding serves to remove imperfections on walls, ceilings, furniture, floors, etc.

Sanding serves to remove imperfections on walls, ceilings, furniture, floors, etc. It is also used to roughen surfaces too glossy for paint or filling compound to adhere easily. Steel wool and sandpaper are the most commonly used abrasive materials for this purpose. Sanding can be performed by hand or with electric tools.

Tools and products for sanding

Steel wool

Steel wool is used for cleaning, stripping and polishing metals, wood, etc. Types of steel, bronze and copper-based wool are good for surfaces exposed to water. You can use them to sand wood if you apply water-based or micro porous finishing products. Other types of steel wool leave traces that could imbed themselves in the wood and rust on contact with water.

The degree of roughness in steel wool range from extra-coarse (4) to extra-fine (0000). Very coarse wool (3) is used to smooth rough surfaces and remove varnish or paint during stripping. Coarse wool (2) is used to remove old paint and rust. When soaked with solvent, it easily removes grease and wax. Fine wool (0) is used to clean painted surfaces, trim and floors. Extra-fine wool (0000) is used to rubdown paint, varnish and shellac before applying a final coat. It also serves to polish surfaces and give them a satin finish.

Sandpaper

Sandpaper consists of grains of aluminum oxide, emery, garnet, or silicon carbide glued to a backing. This backing may be paper, cloth, fibre, plastic or a combination of paper and cloth. The grains may be open or closed. Closed grains crush more easily during use. Sandpaper comes in sheets, belts and disks and in various grades of coarseness.

The coarseness of certain types of sandpaper is graded from 12 to 600. The higher the number, the smaller the grains. Other kinds of sandpaper come in three grades: coarse, medium and fine. The type of surface and its condition determine which grade should be used. Coarse paper is used to make rough surfaces smooth as quickly as possible. Finer paper is used to eliminate traces of the coarser grades. The following two charts present the main types of sandpaper and their different uses.

Main types of sandpaper

Aluminum oxide Tough synthetic abrasive. Its grains break during sanding, thus restoring coarseness. It is used to smooth and strip bare metals and wood.

Silicon carbide Synthetic abrasive. Its grains wear down during sanding. Used for sanding gypsum (drywall), synthetic surfaces and concrete and also applied between coats of paint or finish.

Emery Fine and natural abrasive glued to cloth and used on metal.

Garnet Natural abrasive, the grains of which wear down during sanding. Use to sand bare wood.

Different uses for sandpaper

Use > Coarseness

To remove old finishes > 60-80

For bare wood > 80-120

Plastic, ceramics, melamine, Formica, metal and stone > 100-150

Between coats of paint > 120-220

Before applying stain inside (water-based) > 180-220

Before applying stain inside (solvent-based) > 120-220

Before applying stain outside > 80

Old stained or varnished wood that is still in good shape > 220

Between coats of varnish > 220-320

Before you start sanding, make sure you are using the right sandpaper for the job by testing it on a hidden patch of the surface. Use a sanding block appropriate to the surface if you plan to sand by hand. The block helps you apply even pressure across the surface and so makes sanding easier. You can buy such a block or make one yourself with a properly sized piece of wood.

Electric sanders

Electric sanders are faster and often more effective than hand tools when doing a large quantity of work, but they also require more skill. These tools include belt sanders, vibrating sanders, disk sanders and floor sanders.

Sanding gypsum (drywall):

Checklist

Sandpaper

Broom

Sanding block

Moist white rag

Shop vacuum cleaner

1. Roll some silicon carbide sandpaper (120, 150, 180 or 220) around a sanding block.

2. Sand in circular motions, smoothing edges of the old paint.

3. Remove dust occasionally by vacuuming or striking the sandpaper on a hard surface. Replace when it becomes encrusted.

4. Fold sandpaper to get into tight spots.

5. Fold sandpaper occasionally for a new sanding edge.

6. Avoid sanding bare plasterboard because it might remain rough after a base coat is added.

Sanding wooden surfaces:

Checklist

Sandpaper

Broom

Electric sanders (optional)

Moist white rag

Shop vacuum cleaner

1. Start with a coarse aluminum oxide or garnet sandpaper and end with a finer (80, 120, 180, 220) sandpaper.

2. Sand with the grain to avoid ripping the wood fibres.

3. Vacuum up the dust.

4. Wipe surface with a white, moist, lint-free rag to get rid of dust left behind after vacuuming. Soak rag in clean lukewarm water and wring out thoroughly before wiping to avoid leaving behind any moisture that could cause the wood to swell.

Sanding masonry and synthetic surfaces (ceramics, melamine, Formica and plastic):

Checklist

Sandpaper

Broom

Sanding block (optional)

Electric sanders (optional)

Moist white rag

Shop vacuum cleaner

1. Start with a coarse silicon carbide sandpaper and end with a finer (100-150) sandpaper.

2. Sand in a circular motion.

3. Vacuum up dust.

4. Wipe with a white, moist, lint-free rag. The moist rag removes any dust left by the vacuum cleaner. Soak rag in clean lukewarm water and wring out thoroughly before wiping to avoid leaving behind any moisture that could cause wood to swell.


Sealing knots

Checklist

Sealant Polyprep

Polyprep thinner

Methanol

Scraper

Medium and extra-fine grades of sandpaper (220 to 320)

Brush, pad, heat gun

Shop vacuum cleaner

Sealing knots in wood:

1. Scrape away excess resin.

2. Heat knots with heat gun and again scrape away excess resin.

3. If knots are still sticky, wash surface with turpentine.

4. Sand rough spots and vacuum up dust.

5. Apply thin and even coat of sealant.

6. Let sealer dry completely (1 hour).

7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 as required. Two to three coats are necessary in some cases to sceal the knots. The sealant will then show a glossy finish.

8. Clean tools immediately after use with methanol.

9. Apply solvent base coat.


Applying base coats

Base coats are used to hide formerly applied colours, smooth surfaces and increase adhesion of paint. For best results, do not tint base coats.

Base coats include primers, sealers, stain-killers and undercoats. Primers are applied directly to bare surfaces like metal and wood. Sealers are used with porous surfaces like new gypsum (drywall) to keep it from soaking up multiple coats of paint. Stain-killers hide stains and remove the smell of smoke. Undercoats are applied over previously painted surfaces.

Checklist

Brush and roller

Paint tray

Masking tape

Fine sandpaper (120-220)

Shop vacuum cleaner

Applying a base coat:

1. To ensure excellent adhesion, make sure paint and base coat come from the same manufacturer.

2. Place masking tape on any surfaces you do not want painted, like switches, windows, door handles, and so forth.

3. Apply base coat generously, leaving no “holidays” or excesses (see “Handling brushes and rollers” section).

4. Let dry.

5. Lightly sand between coats if necessary using grades 180 to 220 of sandpaper and vacuum up dust.

6. Let surfaces dry completely before painting.

7. Clean tools.


Handling paintbrushes and rollers

Properly handling paintbrushes and rollers plays a big part in a successful paint job

Properly handling paintbrushes and rollers plays a big part in a successful paint job. Follow the recommendations below for best results.


Properly handling paintbrush

Soak and then squeeze out paintbrush before use. Moisten in water if using a water-based paint or moisten in solvent if using a solvent-based paint.

Never dip a paintbrush into a full can of paint. Instead, pour the quantity of paint needed into another container to avoid contamination. Make sure you have enough space within the new container to tap off excess paint.

Dip paintbrush about one third to one half the length of its bristles into the paint.

Tap off excess paint inside the container. Do not simply wipe paintbrush across the container’s lip. The latter makes it difficult to mark out sections or apply paint, because it leaves too little paint on the brush.

Hold paintbrush firmly but do not apply too vigorously. Just make sure you have good contact with the surface.

Apply paint with long continuous strokes using the face of the paintbrush. Smoothly lift off brush at the end of each stroke.

Always paint from an unpainted area to a painted area to conceal where the areas join.

Don’t force paintbrush into tight spots. If you do, you will ruin its shape and smear the paint.

If using a fast-drying paint, wash brush occasionally to keep paint from building up on the metal band (ferrule) that holds the bristles in place.

Use different paintbrushes for each type of paint.

If you want to take a break, hang the paintbrush in a can of water (for water-based paints) or thinner (for solvent-based paints) and make sure the ends of the bristles do not touch bottom.

When done, immediately wash paintbrush as described in the “Cleaning Equipment and the Premises” section.

Properly handling roller

Pour paint into the paint tray until it comes halfway up the slope.

Place roller in the deepest part of the tray, soak in paint and then roll it back and forth.

Remove excess paint from roller by rolling the cover up and down the ribs along the shallow portion of the tray.

When painting, make sure the amount of paint on the cover is even.

Place moderate pressure on the cover. Do not apply too quickly or you may splatter paint.

Foam may form in some paints. If you can’t find a way of preventing this, immediately smooth over the wet paint with a paintbrush to get rid of the bubbles.

When done, immediately clean roller as described in the “Cleaning Equipment and the Premises” section.


Maintaining surfaces

Here are a few tips for maintaining painted surfaces.

Before cleaning a painted surface, make sure the paint has properly hardened. You should generally wait 7 days for solvent-based paints, 14 to 30 days for water-based paints.

Remove typical stains using the cleaners recommended in the cleaning section.

If using concentrated cleaners to remove tough stains, delicately rub the surface, as some cleaners may soften the finish and permanently ruin it. Rinse the surface once the job is done.

Avoid abrasive powders that could scratch glossy finishes or give sheen to flat finishes.


Paint application

Some basic rules will help ensure good results for painting interiors.

Checklist

Paint tray

Canvas or plastic drop cloths

Clean, moist and dry rags

Ladder, stepladder, scaffolding

Rubber gloves

Goggles

Cap

Comfortable clothes

Extension handle

Sandpaper (120 to 320)

Roller Masking tape

Screwdriver

Electric sander

Sanding block

Shop vacuum cleaner

Container of water

Pad

Water or thinner (depending on paint)

Paintbrush

Compressed air gun

Some basic rules will help ensure good results for painting interiors.

Before painting:

Apply paint when the temperature and humidity permit. The ideal temperature is between 15 °C and 25 °C (60 °F and 77 °F). The relative moisture content is between 30% and 55%.

Don’t paint cold walls. They should be the same temperature as the room.

Make sure the surface is clean and in good condition for painting.

Have your entire equipment ready (see Checklist on preceding page).

Put on comfortable clothes.

Protect glasses against splatter by covering them with a plastic mask held in place by an elastic band.

Ventilate the room before and during painting.

Try to prevent drafts that could hasten evaporation and produce an uneven finish.

While painting interiors:

1. Cover or mask off surfaces you don’t want to paint and make sure drop cloths are carefully placed.

2. Stir paint but not so vigorously that bubbles which could remain on the surface after drying form.

3. Pour the quantity of paint needed into another container to avoid contaminating the original paint can. Lightly close the paint can to preserve the paint.

4. Apply paint generously, leaving no skipped spots or excesses (see “Handling Brushes and Rollers” section).

5. Let dry completely.

6. Lightly sand rough spots if necessary using grades 120 to 220 of sandpaper and vacuum up dust.

7. Generously apply a second coat, without leaving behind uncovered spots or excesses.

8. Clean tools.

9. Let surfaces dry completely and make sure the paint has properly hardened before cleaning them. (see maintaining surfaces)


Painting baseboards

Use a cardboard or plastic guide or masking tape to protect walls and floors and paint lengths of about three feet.

1. Use a cardboard or plastic guide or masking tape to protect walls and floors and paint lengths of about three feet.

2. Paint the top edge of the baseboard.

3. Paint the bottom edge of the baseboard.

4. Paint the central section of the baseboard.

5. Smooth out the unpainted portion in the direction of the painted portion.

6. Repeat steps 1 to 5 for other baseboard sections.


Painting doors

Remove handles and hinges from doors if possible before painting.

Remove handles and hinges from doors if possible before painting. Although not essential, this makes it much easier to apply paint. Place the door you want to paint on a pair of sawhorses or a small table.

Painting non-paneled doors

1. Start by painting the bottom edge, top edge and sides of door.

2. Paint small sections of door at a time, applying paint width-wise.

3. Paint lengthwise (with the grain).

4. Smooth out paint lengthwise from unpainted to painted area.

5. Repeat steps 2 to 4 for other sections of the door.

Painting paneled doors

1- Start by painting the bottom edge, the top edge and the sides.

2- Paint moulding.

3- Paint panels.

4- Paint the central mullion.

5- Paint transoms.

6- Paint outer mullions.


Painting the ceiling

Use a stepladder or a roller with an extension handle to paint the ceiling and ask for help if you have large areas to paint.

When painting a ceiling, always paint toward the narrower side of the room so sections you paint over will still be damp.

1. Start in the corner and paint the borders of the ceiling with a brush.

2.Mark out a section of about 2 x 4 feet with a roller by drawing a “W.”

3. Without lifting the roller from the ceiling, fill in “W.”

4. Smooth out the unpainted portion in the direction of the painted portion.

5. Proceed in the same way with the other sections.


Painting walls

Start in a corner and paint the boundaries of one wall at a time with a paintbrush.

1. Start in a corner and paint the boundaries of one wall at a time with a paintbrush.

2. Mark out a section of about 2 x 4 feet with a roller, by drawing a “W.”

3. Without lifting the roller from the surface, fill in the “W.”

4. Draw another “W” under the first section.

5. Fill in the new “W.”

6. Roll the roller vertically along both sections, since some rollers leave different textures according to the direction the paint has been applied.

7. Start over next to the section just completed and repeat steps 2 through 6.

8. Continue in the same manner with the remaining sections.


Painting windows

The exact painting method will depend on the type of window. Below we describe methods for casement and for sash windows.

Casement windows

Sash windows

Painting casement windows:

1. Place masking tape along sides of panes.

2. Paint pane frames

3. Paint transoms.

4. Paint jambs.

5. Paint frame.

6. Make sure paint is dry before closing window.

Painting sash windows

1. Place masking tape along the sides of the panes.

2. Raise inner casement and lower outer casement.

3. Paint bottom of outer casement.

4. Reverse casement position and paint top of outer casement.

5. Paint inner casement.

6. Paint frame.

7. Paint sill.

8. Wait for paint to dry before closing window.


The right way to paint a room

When painting one surface, be careful not to get paint on another that you have just completed.

When painting one surface, be careful not to get paint on another that you have just completed. We suggest you proceed in a step-by-step manner, like professionals.

The right way to paint a room is from top to bottom. Start with the ceiling, do the windows, doors, baseboard and walls next.

The five stages in finishing a room

1. The ceiling

2. The windows

3. The doors

4. The baseboard

5. The walls

 

 

 

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