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What your Painter should Know

Most people can do a decent job painting a room but professionals do a great job. Professionals have more experience and they also know techniques and tricks that make them better painters. Make sure your painter uses these techniques for your home.

First, everything should be moved from the room. Bigger objects can be left covered in the center of larger rooms. If drywall is being repaired, everything should be removed.

Doors, light fixtures and hardware should be removed and labeled with masking tape. High-quality drop cloths should be used such as canvas or paper-backed plastic. Paint soaks through lightweight fabrics. Plastic sheeting is okay but is very slippery and doesn't absorb drips.

Your painter should find, and fix, cracks and dents. Painter's putty or a lightweight spackle can be used for minor cracks and dents. Plaster of Paris can be used for dents deeper than 1/8 inch.

Spackle should never be used on wood, it won’t stick. For damaged trim, painter's putty or a two-part wood filler is best.

Repairs, bumps, and nibs should be smoothed with a drywall pole sander. For smoother walls and better adhesion some professionals sand previously painted walls regardless of condition. Sanding feathers out chipped paint and provides "tooth" for the next coat. For glossy trim, a sanding sponge should be used instead of sandpaper. If your painter is applying latex over alkyd paint, or if he is not sure of the original finish he should follow the hand-sanding with liquid sandpaper making sure the surface is completely de-glossed to prevent incompatibility problems. If latex is applied over oil based paint, it could begin to peel quickly.

Dusty walls should be washed with trisodium phosphate (TSP) or a mild cleaner so dust isn’t painted over. Smoke-stained walls should be washed with a 50/50 solution of bleach and water.

Cracks should be filled. Filling gaps with a paintable acrylic-latex caulk cuts down on drafts and makes your trim look better.

If your painter is experienced, he is likely skilled enough to “cut in” without the use of tape. Some professionals will use tape but if they do, they should use it properly. A putty knife should be used to bed the tape to prevent bleeding. After the paint dries, the edge of the tape line should be scored with a utility knife to avoid tearing the paint.

Your painter should pick quality primer. These are formulated to establish a solid even base, seal stains and ensure that the topcoats of paint go on smoothly, bonding securely to the surface. Most professionals use alcohol and alkyd primers because they cover almost anything.

Primer can affect the appearance of the topcoat. It is acceptable to spot-prime the ceilings but not the walls. Primed spots will show.

It is important that quality paint is used. In general, glossier paints are more stain-resistant and easier to clean. But higher sheens also highlight imperfections in the wall. Most professionals recommend flat paint for ceilings and formal rooms, some recommend an eggshell gloss. It is good for hallways, kids' rooms, kitchens and baths.

Latex paints are used by most painters now, though oil-based paints are still used for restoration work. Make sure that your painter doesn’t buy cheap paint. Good paint isn’t cheap. Don’t be surprised to spend $20 to $ 35 per gallon for a quality paint.

Two coats of paint result in the best-looking job. Good coverage should be made. If more than 400 square feet per gallon is being covered, it is being spread too thin. Also, he should save 1/4 to 1/2 gallon for you for touch-ups.
Professional painters often use additives in their paint. Modern paints dry quickly, and are difficult to brush out. Adding a few ounces of certain additives per gallon slows drying time and makes the paint more workable.

Although there are anti-mildew additives, most professionals prefer using paints that have built-in mildew fighters. These paints prevent mildew from forming but they don’t kill existing mildew. Therefore, your painter should prepare bath and kitchen surfaces before painting. To do this, first he should wash down the walls with a bleach solution (3/4 cup of bleach per gallon of water) then seal with a stain-blocking primer.

A professional painter should use the right tools. High quality brushes are key. They should also use quality rollers and make use of things like buckets and painter poles. These tools help them do a better job, save them time and you money.

When painting a room, professionals work from the top down. After painting the ceiling, they work down to the crown molding, then walls, casement molding around the windows and doors and lastly the baseboards.

Your painter should double check his work. Between coats he should sand off any bumps before applying the next. A light should be used to check the surface for drips or other imperfections.

Special care should be given to windows. If your painter is rushing through the
windows, you should check them closely. Even the best professional can take an hour to properly do a standard window.

It is recommended that doors be laid out on sawhorses and painted horizontally taking special care on paneled doors not to allow paint to puddle in corners.
Your painter should keep in mind that accidents happen. He should keep a cheap sponge brush on hand to blend patches with the rest of the wall or woodwork.
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