Interior painting is the kind of project that can get a keen DIYer excited! Why you ask? It is because compared to most DIY jobs around the house, it is considered relatively easy and cheap to do, but the result can be a very dramatic change!

Is interior painting really as easy as many think it is? The short answer, as it is with any trade, no. But that does not mean you cannot achieve a good result by learning some simple steps in the process. Below are some common questions and answers from professional tradesman.

What paint should I use to paint the walls?

When you paint the walls at your property, you want to consider what the area is being used for. In general, it is recommended to use a washable low sheen acrylic paint. A low sheen acrylic paint is easy to work with and easy to clean up. When it is dry, it provides a hard-wearing surface that can be wiped clean, while the low sheen means that little imperfections are not so easy to see. It is however recommended that if you paint walls in kitchens, bathrooms or areas that get a lot of wear and tear, an acrylic enamel is great to use. The paint will be a bit harder wearing and easier to wipe clean, it will also last better against the cleaning chemicals that are commonly used in bathrooms and kitchens these days.

What paint should I use to paint the ceilings?

When it comes to painting ceilings, you are always recommended to use a flat ceiling paint. The reason why is because of the way light is reflected from a ceiling. If you use a paint with any sheen, you are going to see lines from the roller and brush, and the larger the ceiling and more natural light present, will only make it worse. The only downside to flat paint is that it is not washable, sure you can wipe it down, but then you will be able to see where you wiped. One exception to this is bathrooms, due to the issues around steam and mould growing, it is recommended to always use a low sheen paint. This will make it easier to clean, and because most bathrooms are smaller with less natural light, it is not a problem.

What paint should I use to paint frames, skirting boards, and doors?

For all your trims, it is important to use a semi-gloss enamel paint. Enamels are perfect for all the trims, as they take a lot more wear and tear than other areas in your home. It is important to use the right one. Enamel paints can be broken in to two main categories: oil-based and acrylic enamels. If you are painting new surfaces, I would 100% recommend using an acrylic enamel. They are easier to work with and clean up better, they are even most resistant to UV damage. If you are doing a repaint, it is essential you understand if the previous paint was oil or acrylic. Oil-based enamels used to be the only option, but for the last 15-20 years just about everything has acrylic. The reason it is so important is simple, a water-based paint will not stick to an oil-based paint. Literally, within weeks or months if you paint acrylic over oil, it will start to flake off. Then it will either be a big or expensive job to fix. The easiest way to check is to get a rag and put some methylated spirits on it, then rub the paint hard. If it starts to break down the paint and leaves a residue on the rag, it is acrylic. If all it does is make the paint look shiny, then it is oil based.

Another tip is to use a mohair roller sleeve when painting your doors. With a bit of practice you can get a finish that is comparable to spray, also it is a lot quicker!

What order should I paint the interior of my house?

When painting the interior of your place, it is important to have a plan, and paint the right areas at the right time! In general, you can say, start at the top and work down. This means the first area you should paint is the ceilings, followed by the walls. Lastly, you want to paint the trims and doors. By doing the work in the order, it will help to prevent the chance of drips landing where they should not. It also makes it easier for cutting in at the right time.

Should I brush or roll first when painting a wall?

The preferred method is to cut in with a brush first when painting a wall, then roll. It is important though when cutting in that you ‘flare’ the edges where you paint. This means not leaving thick paint edges from the brush. If you do not flare out the edges, then you will get an effect called ‘framing’. This is where the brushed edges stand out and give the look of a frame around the wall.

Can I paint over old paint?

Simple answer is yes! But it is important to do just a small amount of preparation before you do. First thing is to give the walls a clean using sugar soap. A mop is an easy way to do this, but do not forget to get into the edges and corners, you may need a cloth for that. Once the wall has been washed and dried, it is important to give it a quick sand, you do not need to sand it right back, in the industry we say, ‘you just need to scuff it to take the sheen off’, basically you want it to look scratched up. If there is any bigger problems, such as flaky paint or holes, you will also need to deal with them. Once that is done, you can now apply the new paint.

Well, I hope some of these tips will help you to achieve a great outcome if you are looking to paint your property yourself. Check out some of our other articles for some more tips!

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