4 things you need before you start painting

You may have the paint and brushes, but you aren't quite ready yet. Before you start painting, you'll need these things as well.

4 things you need before you start painting

1. The painter’s outfit

Always have a "painter's outfit" of old clothes for paint days. A long-sleeved shirt, trousers, work gloves and shoes should suffice. Add an old hat if you're painting ceilings.

2. Cover up the work area

  • Cover up your work area with heavy canvas drop cloths rather than spreading newspaper.
  • With drop cloths, paint spatters are absorbed and won't flake off when dry. That means less to clean up later.
  • Canvas drop cloths are relatively skid-proof, a feature that you'll appreciate when high up on a ladder. Canvas also doesn't tear easily.
  • If you're painting the ceiling, bag any ceiling lighting fixtures in garbage bags tied snugly at the top.
  • Remove all switch and receptacle plates, or cover them with masking tape or painter's tape.

3. The right painting tools

  • Pry open a new paint can with the wide tip of an old screwdriver, working evenly around the lid's edges so as not to bend or deform it.
  • When it pops open, stir thoroughly. Then pour enough paint into a pail for immediate use.
  • Cover the rest to keep it from drying out.
  • To avoid paint accumulating in the rim and dripping down the sides of the paint can, puncture the rim with a nail. The excess will then run back into the can.

4. Proper ventilation

With oil paints, good ventilation is a must in all weather. Latex paints have relatively little odour when wet because they don't contain many solvents. Open doors and windows during painting anyway, since it will speed drying.

Once you begin painting, it's most efficient to keep going as the job progresses. So clear the work area of furniture, cover what you can't take out and mask any hardware that you haven't removed. You could be finished sooner, and the job could look a lot better.

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