Instructions on how to paint a room

Painting a room changes everything, and you know in Atlanta change is always in style. However, before...

Painting a room changes everything, and you know in Atlanta change is always in style. However, before you start splashing paint on the walls, it's important to know how to paint a room.

Painting involves more than adding your favorite colors on the walls. Prep work is needed before you paint. You don't have to be a professional painter to make your room look spectacular. Yet, painting requires focus and some skill. A poorly painted room, without making a sound, screams worse than fans screaming at the officials during an Atlanta Falcons game. OK, it doesn't "scream," but a poor paint job definitely shows. There's dried paint drips and slips. Also, you can see uneven paint lines. Yes, it's that bad. So, from the preparation to the cleaning, you have to focus on each painting task. Typically, the job takes a few hours, but depending on the room and your schedule it could take longer.

You probably already know this, but it is important to mention--remove all the furniture from the room and take down any curtains or pictures before painting. It's understandable if you can't remove the furniture. In that case, cover the furniture with sheets or drop cloths, and move everything to the center of the room.

Remove any wall plate from electrical switches and outlets. You want to cover all the electrical outlets with tape to prevent dropping paint on them. However, if you're painting those too, don't remove them. If the walls were previously painted, inspect them. Look for any peeling, chipped or rough areas. With new or unpainted walls you can skip the next step.

Start sanding and scraping the walls

If you're living in an older Atlanta home, you'll have to do more prep work than you may want to do. Prep work starts with scraping and sanding the walls. Sanding scuffs the wall surface so the new paint holds on to it better. You don't have to sand the entire wall. You also don't want to scrape the entire wall. Instead, look for existing bumps and drips on the wall surfaces to scrape. Scraping removes existing drips and bumps that prevent the walls from looking smooth. However, you do not want to scrape too hard or you risk removing too much of the wall.

Patching the walls

Whether you're working with previously painted or new walls, you probably have to patch some caulking gaps or holes. For instance, with new drywall you may notice some nail holes. Use spackle or joint compound to fill any holes, gouges, cracks or gaps. Let the spackle dry, and then sand.

Once you're finished with the preparing the walls, wash them with soap and water. You need a clean wall surface to paint.

Priming and taping the walls

This is another step in preparing the walls. You want to prime the walls for a variety of reasons. New or patched walls do not absorb paint well. You may notice that a painted room that wasn't primed has light and dark spaces on the walls. This indicates that the walls absorbed the paint better in some places than others. Primer fills in the sponge-like pores on the walls and creates a solid, even wall surface, which allows the paint to absorb consistently in all areas.

Another reason to prime is your color options. When you change the color of the room from light to dark or vice versa, the walls may not absorb the paint well. For example, if you paint a purple room pink without priming it, you risk the purple bleeding through the new paint.

Painting the walls

Use an angled brush to cut in around the walls. Cutting in refers to the corners and edges of the walls (along the baseboards and ceiling). Before you start painting, dampen the roller. If you are using latex paint, then dampen it with water. However, use paint thinner for oil-based paint. Dip the roller in the paint tray until you reach the grate, and then roll it back against the grate. You want the roller to have an even coat of paint.

Paint in about 3-square-foot areas at one time. This helps you paint consistently. Start painting away from you; for example, if you are left-handed, then start at the right side. Roll the paint without lifting the roller. The most effective way to paint is starting with an N, W or M. This is called a zigzag pattern. Without lifting the roller, completely fill in the unpainted areas in the zigzag pattern. Use vertical strokes to paint between the lines evenly.

Continue until the wall is covered in the new paint. You want to make sure you overlap the cut-in or trimmed edges of the wall to eliminate any brush marks that are visible. Remove the painter's tape before the wall dries. Wait until the walls are completely dry before adding a second coat of paint.

Anytime you hear a sticky sound as the roller moves along the wall, stop. You need to add more paint to the roller. Also, keep a damp cloth with you as you paint. If you make any mistakes, wipe off any stray marks immediately. Learning how to paint a room isn't complicated. However, if you run into any problems, don't hesitate to contact a professional painter.

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