Choosing the right color or creating a palette for your home may seem challenging. With a few quick tips here and some expert advice from our service professionals, you will be on your way feeling confident as ever, in no time.

Good Prep = Success
Preparation and planning are key to a good paint finish.

 
#1 Tip
Ease of application and a successful finish are hugely affected by the quality of material being applied and tools being used. Choosing a cheaper grade of either one could not only make the project take longer, but could also create disappointing results.
 

Tools for Your Painting Project

The key to a successful paint job is preparation and having the right equipment.

Drop Cloth: It's ideal to remove all the furniture and floor coverings from a room before decorating. However, this is often impractical, so drop cloths and tape are used to prevent splashes and spillages that damage surfaces. Fabric drop cloth sheets can be washed and reused, but large spills soak through. Plastic sheets are an alternative, but are easily damaged and
slippery underfoot on floors.

Tape: Use low-tack tape to protect surfaces and help you create clean, straight lines where areas with different finishes meet.

Paint Bucket: Besides the more obvious painting tools such as brushes and rollers, there are other items that can be used to make the job easier, restore
tools, and provide the best finish. Pour paint into a bucket so it is easier to carry and to keep debris such as dried paint on the brush from contaminating the main tin or container.

Brushes: Paintbrushes are the most versatile and essential of all decorating tools. Ease of application and a successful finish are hugely affected by the quality of a brush. Remember, whether you choose natural or synthetic bristle brushes, a good brush is not cheap, and should have long bristles of equal length. It is normal for a brush to shed a few bristles when it is first used, however, this should not continue through the life of a brush. Good-quality pure bristle brushes are expensive but last for years if they are cleaned well and stored properly after each use. Although brushes made from pure natural bristle used to be considered superior quality, vast improvements have been made to synthetic bristle brushes.

Rollers: Large rollers can cover flat surfaces such as ceilings and walls quickly and efficiently, although be aware that very large rollers may be tiring to use. Mini-rollers are available for woodwork, although they tend not to provide as pleasing a finish as a brush. Rollers are best used with waterbased paints. Cleaning a roller of oil- or solvent-based paints is difficult.
It is best to simply throw away the sleeve and buy a new one. The best roller sleeves are pure sheepskin, although synthetic sheepskin also provides
a good finish. Smooth, medium, and rough sleeves are available and should be chosen to match the texture of the surface being painted. Other sleeve materials may produce a rough finish or shed fluff.

Roller Cage: The cage holds the roller sleeve and is attached to a handle. When choosing a replacement sleeve, be sure that it fits the cage you are using.

Roller Tray: A reservoir holds paint and also has a flatter, ribbed area adjacent to the reservoir that is used for distributing paint evenly over the roller surface. The tray needs to be of the same width as your roller.

Extension Pole: An extension pole attaches to the roller-cage handle to extend your reach. Buy a pole that is compatible with your roller.

Paint Terms

Sheen is the amount of gloss or shininess in the
paint. The higher the sheen, the more vivid the
color will appear and the more durable the finish.

Matte or flat paint has a smooth finish with little
or no shine. It absorbs light instead of reflecting it.
If your walls have some imperfections, flat paint is
going to be your best friend. But a flat finish can
suffer damage more easily than other finishes and
it can also be harder to clean so it may have to be
touched up more often. Flat paint is most often
used on walls and ceilings. Some paint manufacturers
make a special version for ceilings that is
designed to roll on with little splatter.

Eggshell has a velvety sheen and is easier to clean
than flat paint. It is a great middle-of-the-road
option between flat and gloss. It gives a flatter look
than glossy paint, but still provides a hard-wearing
and protective coating.

Satin paint has a silky, pearl-like finish that is stain resistant. It creates a protective shell that resists
moisture and mildew so it works well in kitchens,
bathrooms, and high-traffic areas like hallways and
mudrooms.

Semigloss finishes are sleek, radiant and have
a high resistance to moisture. They reflect light
to make walls and furniture shiny. It is good for
cabinets, doors, windows and molding because it
is easy to clean off fingerprint smudges and dirt
marks like the kind a pet will leave when they rub
against a doorway.

High-gloss is very durable and easy to clean. Its
glass-like finish makes it good for trim, cabinets,
fireplaces and furniture. But beware: high-gloss
will not hide blemishes or flaws; in fact, it may
make them more evident. If you’re going for a
formal, glamorous look, high-gloss can be exquisite
on walls, but make sure the walls are perfectly
smooth; otherwise every ripple and dimple will
show through. To get an even finish, apply a skim
coat to the walls before painting.

When Is Primer a Must?
The most important coat of paint is not the last coat, but the first. It is a safe bet your walls will benefit from a coat of primer before you change colors, especially if you’re going over a darker color or if it’s been a few years since you’ve painted. Primer is a must if you are painting a bare surface like new drywall that has never been painted before.