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Painting Supplies and Preparation Checklist by Libby Langdon

Read Libby Langdon's checklist for painting a room efficiently

First, purchase your painting supplies (expect to shell out around $150 for your first room; costs will go down after that). Here's what you need to get started:
  • Screwdriver for removing wall plates
  • Sponge/dishwashing liquid for wiping down walls (remove any cobwebs/debris)
  • Blue removable painter’s tape
  • Canvas floor covering
  • Fine grit sand paper
  • Dry wall repair supplies (as necessary)
  • Caulk
  • Spackle
  • Spackle knife/trowel
  • Paint roller, pan and roller covers - be sure you pick the right one for your wall surface (smooth, stucco, brick), should take care of most standard rooms.
  • Tinfoil or tray liners for easier clean up
  • Roller extension pole
  • Angled brush
  • Primer
  • Stirrers (you can score these for free with purchase)
  • Paint
    • Pick a safe paint made for indoor use; avoid outdoor paints which usually have higher toxicity and fume levels. Stick with water or latex paints indoor as they release fewer chemicals.
  • Pick the right finish
    • This dull finish is best for low traffic areas and ceilings as it is hard to clean.
      • Satin and Eggshell Paints - Use in higher traffic areas that get dirty more quickly as these finishes are easier to clean.
    • These finishes also have light reflecting properties to give your room a special ambiance.
      • Semi-Gloss and High Gloss - Great for trim, moldings, sills, rails and banisters. Not aesthetically pleasing on walls.
  • Several clean soft cloths for clean ups
  • Face mask, if desired, to minimize inhalation of fumes.
  • Step ladder
Prepare Your Space
  • Properly cover furniture
  • Scrape off any paint or drywall that is raised from the surface
  • Fill nail holes/dents in wall and spackle and allow them to dry completely before sanding down the area to match your wall
  • Fill in gaps around molding with caulk
  • Tape the top of borders you don’t want covered in the new paint
  • Vacuum dust, spackle or other debris in the room
  • Clean the blades of any ceiling fans or other items that might throw off dust
  • Paint and removers can be highly flammable – avoid smoking or the use of any lighted implements
Create a clean, blank canvas
  • Wipe down your walls with a sponge that has been dampened with water that has a few drops of dishwashing liquid on it
  • Begin with the white primer which will increase adhesion and create a unified, polished finish. Tip - you may blend in a small amount of your color with the primer.
  • Line your paint tray with tinfoil or disposable liners for easier clean up
  • Pour primer in your tray
  • Paint your corners first with your angled brush
  • Dip the roller in the paint (be careful - avoid having too much paint on the roller!)
  • Begin covering walls, meting up with the paint in the corners
  • Trim out along borders with your angled brush
Adding Color
  • Allow primer to dry - usually 6-8 hours
  • Once primer is completely dry, apply paint in the same way you primed
  • When needed, use a damp cloth to clean up mistakes along the way - don't let those drips dry!
  • Keep an even hand when rolling to avoid peaks and valleys of paint
  • Use your extension handle as necessary for higher areas
  • Don't be tempted to rush - allow the first coat to dry completely before applying the second.
Finish up
  • Experts from the Georgia Institute of Technology recommend running fans and leaving windows open for two- three days after your project is completed to ensure any dangerous fumes have been entirely diffused.
  • Firmly seal any extra paint in its can otherwise fumes may escape and the paint may dry out.
  • Be sure to label leftover paint on the lid with the name of the room you just painted. Helpful hint - write the brand, color name and finish in a notebook for future reference; attach a paint swatch alongside.
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