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Fix-It-Yourself Project #102
"Tips and Ideas that Make Painting Easier"

Tool and Material Checklist

Paint brushes, Roller tray, Ladder, Extra paint bucket, Paint scraper, Putty, Wood putty, Caulking gun, 1/4" power drill, Wire wheel (drill), Special V-shaped putty knife, Long handled putty knife, Paint rollers, Wire screening, Solvent, Masking tape, Drop cloths, Putty knife, Crack filler, Caulking compound, Sanding disk, Sandpaper, Wire brush, Propane torch

Here are tips and ideas that will help to make any painting job easier. Take time to read thoroughly. Following these instructions and suggestions can save you time and effort. It can also help you end up with a neater, more satisfactory paint job with far less waste.

1. Take Time to Prepare the Surface Before Painting

Take time to caulk all joints, cracks and seams in the surface before painting. This can be done easily and quickly with a caulking fun and caulking cartridges readily available. Don't start the painting job until the caulking of all joints and cracks is finished and thoroughly dried.

Before painting windows, check around the window panes for loose putty. If putty is loose or missing, replace with new putty before starting the painting job. Use a good grade of putty and apply according to manufacturer's instructions.

Be sure the surface to be painted is clean. Use a wire brush sanding block or power sander to remove loose paint and grime before applying the primer coat. Any attempt to cut corners and save time by failing to clean the surface merely causes trouble later.

Any cracks or large holes should be filled with wood putty, figure 4, before starting the painting job. The putty should be of paste texture, as illustrated. Allow time for the wood putty to dry before applying the primer coat. A special V-shaped knife is available for puttying along a window sash. This special tool is inexpensive, but it helps you do a professional sash puttying job much faster and easier. With a little practice you can do a profession looking job with this simple tool.

If you need to remove a heavy build up of old paint, a propane torch can help make the job a lot faster and easier. A wide-mouth burner tip is available to spread the flame over large areas. Use a long handled scraper to keep the fingers away from the heat as you work.

Your power drill will make an excellent tool for smoothing rough spots before painting. A sanding wheel that fits into your drill will do a job much faster and easier than hand sanding. A wire brush attachment for a power drill is an excellent tool for taking the rust and scale off of metal.

Use plastic or paper drop cloths to cover sidewalks, shrubbery or any other area which needs protection before you start the painting job. Drop cloths can also be used to cover floors, furniture, etc. for inside painting. Such cloths are inexpensive and they save a lot of cleanup time.

2. Proven Painting Pointers

All paint should be thoroughly mixed. First, pour off the thin portion of the paint that settles at the top of the can. Next, use a paddle to stir the paste settled in the bottom of the can.

After stirring the paste and mixing it with a small amount of the thin portion of the paint, use the paint paddle to stir with a figure eight motion. As you stir gradually return the thin portion from the clean container back into the main paint can. Finally, pour the paint back and forth several times from one container to another. This will thoroughly mix the paint and get it to the proper thickness for application.

You can save a lot of cleanup time by lining your roller try, with aluminum foil. Take a large piece of aluminum foil and press tightly against the sides of the tray. When the painting job is over, you can simply remove the aluminum foil and throw it away. This leaves little or no clean up to do.

You will get a much neater painting job if you use masking tape where two colors come together. The masking tape can be applied at the point where the two colors join. It can then be removed when the paint is dry to give a much smoother joint between the two colors than can normally be created by free hand painting.

When painting in corners, always use the flat side of the brush. Painting with the side of the brush causes "fingering". You will get a neater appearing paint job and make your brush last a lot longer by using the flat side of the brush as illustrated.

First, dip the paint brush into the can to load about half the bristles with paint. Never dip the brush into the paint more than half way. After loading no more than half the bristles with paint, touch the brush lightly to the surface at several points to apply spots of paint. After the spots of paint have been applied, use long leveling brush strokes to smooth out these paint spots. Finish each area by back and forth motions and zigzag strokes. A little practice with a brush will enable you to do a professional looking painting job with a minimum of effort.

Paint which has been kept for a considerable period of time often develops lumps. There is no need to throw lumpy paint away. Cut a disk of window screen to fit just inside the paint can. The screen will sink down into the paint and carry all lumpy paint particles to the bottom of the can as the level of the paint is lowered.

You can avoid paint rings on the floor and dripping paint from the can by sticking a paper plate on the bottom of your paint can before you start the job. Just apply a little paint to the bottom of the can, press the paper plate against it and go ahead with the job. The paper plate will stick to the bottom of the can and prevent the dripping paint that might cause problems.

You will avoid ridges and lap marks on a flat surface painting job by always stroking into the wet paint area, never away from it. Blend each stroke of the brush toward the wet paint area to bring the layer being applied into the wet paint previously applied.

If you are planning to do a small painting job outside, you may be bothered by insects flying into the newly applied paint. This can often be avoided by adding a small amount of insect repellent to the paint when it is mixed. Do not use too much. A small amount will do the job without damaging the color or quality of the paint in any way.

Wire fences can be painted with special long nap roller As this type of roller is pushed across the face of the wire fence, the paint is applied to the front and sides of the wire. Repeat on the opposite side and the job is done. The fence can be painted in almost a single stroke if the correct roller is uses.

When painting with a roller, start the job by making several criss-cross strokes on the area to be painted After these strokes are made, continue to work up and down to spread out the newly applied paint evenly over the area. Special trim rollers are available, although many people prefer to use a brush for trim work.

Special rollers are also made for painting beveled or weatherboarded area. A special "doughnut" shaped roller is used to paint the underedges of weatherboard. A wider type roller is then used for painting the main surface area. With rollers of these special types, the entire exterior of the house can be painted without touching a brush.

3. Cleaning up After the Paint Job

Special waterless hand cleaners take off both rubber base and oil base paints easily and quickly. Such waterless hand cleaners will not irritate the skin like many solvents. The paste type cleaner is simply wiped on the hands and then wiped off, taking the paint with it. Get a can before you start any painting job.

Take care of your brushes by cleaning them carefully after each painting job is done and then wrapping and storing for future use. Fold wax paper around the brush as illustrated and seal with a rubber band. Latex paints can be washed out of a brush with clear warm water. However, take time to clean any brush thoroughly before storing it away.

Brushes used for applying oil base paints must be cleaned with regular paint cleaner of some type of solvent. Clean the brush thoroughly, then wrap it in pape and store away for future use. Rollers can be cleaned in the same basic way as paint brushes. Take time clean them thoroughly.