Tips and tricks for DIY room painting

Before running a paint roller over any wall in your home, Ryan Tantzen, manager at Anilin Decorating Centre, says you should first “figure out your needs for the project.”

“Whether you’re looking to sell your home, or stay in it, will dictate those needs,” he said.

The general rule of thumb? If you’re looking to sell a house, it’s advisable to use a light colour.

“Lighter colours open up your space and make it feel clean,” said Tantzen. “If you’re planning on staying in your home, you don’t have to worry about trends – you just have to worry about what you like.”

Once your needs are established, Tantzen says the next step is to select the correct paint for the project, a decision largely influenced by the humidity level of the room in question.

The most humid rooms in a house are the bathrooms. Tantzen says paint technology has come a long way from the oil-based paints of yesteryear, which are lauded for their ability to resist moisture. Contemporary brands offer humidity-friendly options that prevent condensation from collecting on walls.

When it comes to paint finish, Tantzen says many customers prefer a matte finish, as mattes are less likely to show surface imperfections when compared with gloss finishes. The most popular finish, in Tantzen’s experience is Regal Eggshell.

“If you’re planning on staying in your home, you don’t have to worry about trends – you just have to worry about what you like.” – Ryan Tantzen, Anilin Decorating Centre manager

“It’s a balance between a flat and a pearl,” he said. “With most products on the market, you require some sheen to have a durable, washable finish. Eggshell offers a nice middle ground. It looks soft and elegant on walls.”

Tantzen emphasizes that one main advantage of paints with higher-gloss finishes is that they are washable.

Before applying a fresh coat of paint, Tantzen says it’s crucial to make sure the walls have been prepared for painting, a procedure that can involve scraping off lifting paint, sanding the walls, and patching any divots and imperfections with a product like Drydex. In the case of a bathroom, Tantzen says it’s then necessary to apply an oil-based primer to the walls to “seal in the trouble spots” before applying fresh paint.

Tantzen says you should always work from top to bottom when painting, keeping a “wet edge” – the still-wet section where paint has just been applied – and working out from that. Always saturate the roller. Also, to avoid issues like texturing, uneven sheen and lap marks, don’t overwork the paint.

“Once the paint starts to set, if you touch it, it will texture it. You don’t want to go back and start working it,” said Tantzen, noting that two hours between coats should suffice.

Tantzen also suggests that, after cleaning paint brushes to the point that no cloudy water can still be squeezed from them, you rub a bit of hair conditioner into the bristles before storing them.

When taping baseboard edges, Tantzen says there a couple of tips to remember. First, he suggests pushing hard on the leading edge of the painter’s tape to seal it. Second, Tantzen says, you shouldn’t leave the tape on for too long, as it will either start to lift or to bond to the surface.

When it comes to planning feature walls, Tantzen recommends either selecting the first wall you see within a room, or painting a wall across from a window, as it will be highlighted, literally.

Ultimately, Tantzen says, if you don’t like your colour choice, or how the new paint looks, you can always buy another can of paint and start over.