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Published: Thursday, 5/25/2006

Painting Tips Give Professional Results

In any painting job, selecting the right shade is only the first of many steps to ensure a successful project. The equipment you use and how you use it, surface preparation and the type of paint impacts the final finish quality and color of the paint on the walls. Here are a few recommendations from painting professionals.

Which brush or roller should I buy?

For large, flat areas, a 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch synthetic composition roller will apply the paint most evenly, as long as you don't overload your roller with paint. For more irregular surfaces, use a nylon-polyester blend bristle brush and maintain a wet edge while you paint. "Although the recommended brush and roller may cost a few dollars more, they will save time and paint by getting great coverage the first time," says Bill Hudson, product manager for Masterchem Industries, makers of KILZ Casual Colors paint.

How do I prepare the surface?

For previously painted items, the surface must be cleaned, dried and in good condition. If you are painting high-gloss surfaces such as cabinets or furniture, take the gloss off by lightly sanding with 180 to 220 grit sand paper. Where necessary, wash with a non-soapy detergent such as trisodium phosphate (TSP) or a TSP substitute. Rinse well and allow to dry before painting. When working with unpainted and porous surfaces, prime before applying a topcoat of paint. For stained surfaces, be sure to seal the stain with a stainblocking primer before applying the topcoat of paint.

What sheen is best for the space I am painting?

Most paint brands offer several sheens. Using a flat or semi-gloss paint can make a difference in the look of the topcoat once it is on the wall. Consider the space being painted, its lighting, moisture levels and traffic flow when determining the best sheen for your project.

For ceilings and walls with minor surface imperfections, the minimal reflectance of a flat sheen looks best. A satin sheen provides a pearl-like finish that is durable enough for bathrooms, kids' rooms and mildew-prone areas. Semi-gloss paint offers similar durability to the satin sheen, with an easier-to -clean finish that is perfect for kitchens. For the highest traffic areas, high gloss provides durability in areas subject to scuff marks and splashes, such as cabinets and trim.

How much paint do I need?

Paint composition varies, but it is generally recommended to estimate one gallon for every 300 to 350 square feet on smooth, sealed surfaces and 200 to 300 square feet on rough surfaces. If painting over a previous color, many brands of paint require several coats to adequately hide the existing color. For a time, energy and cost-saving alternative, look for paint that offers one-coat coverage over any color.

"By only having to paint your wall once, you are saving time and money while achieving a long-lasting, quality look," says Hudson.

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