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A successful paint job starts with properly preparing the surface you’re going to paint. That means you must scrape, sand, patch, and fill every hole, crack, dent, and surface imperfection. This isn’t the fun part of painting a room, but it is the most important part. No paint, regardless of its cost, color, thickness, or manufacturer’s claims, will hide a pockmarked or cracked surface. You can now buy paints that contain primers, but nothing covers as well or improves adhesion as much as a dedicated primer.
Priming walls and ceilings is mandatory whenever you’re painting new drywall or painting over a dark color. But it’s smart to prime any time you paint. Primer serves three main functions. First, it blocks stains from bleeding through. Second, it allows one-coat coverage for the paint. Third, and most important, it improves paint adhesion, which greatly reduces blisters and peeling.
Go for Canvas Rather Than Plastic
Plastic dropcloths provide an inexpensive way to protect floors and furnishings from paint spatters, but you’d be much better off investing in canvas ones. Canvas is extremely durable and rip-resistant. It lays flat and presents much less of a tripping hazard. Canvas absorbs paint drips, unlike plastic dropcloths, which become slippery when spattered with paint. Canvas dropcloths can be easily folded around corners and doorways, something that’s impossible to do with plastic sheeting. Plus, most plastic dropcloths must be tossed out after using. Canvas dropcloths will last a lifetime.
Reach for an Extension Pole
Forget the stepladder and get yourself a telescoping extension pole for your paint roller. Extension poles come in various lengths, up to 18 feet long, but one that extends from 18 to 36 inches is good enough to paint rooms with 8- to 9-foot-tall ceilings. Check that your paint roller’s handle has a threaded hole in the end, then simply twist it onto the extension pole.
When shopping for extension poles, look for one that has a soft, nonslip grip and a rigid metal core. And be sure the threaded end of the pole is also metal. All-plastic handles are too flexible, which makes them hard to control.
Use a Paint Grid, Not a Tray
Rolling paint from a paint tray is a futile, messy proposition. Here’s a faster, neater, better approach: Roll paint directly from a 5-gallon bucket using a paint grid. A paint grid is simply a rectangular, rigid metal or plastic screen that hooks onto the rim of the bucket. Fill the bucket about halfway with paint, then hang the grid inside the bucket. Dip the roller sleeve into the paint, and roll it against the grid to remove excess paint. It’s that easy. At the end of the day, drop the grid into the bucket and snap on the lid
If you’re done painting for the day but still have more to do tomorrow, you don’t have to go through the laborious process of cleaning your paintbrushes and paint-roller sleeves. Instead, simply brush or roll off the excess paint, then tightly wrap them in plastic food wrap. If necessary, double up the plastic to seal out any air, then place the wrapped brushes and roller sleeves in the refrigerator to keep them fresh. This might sound crazy, but it works—it’ll keep the paint from drying overnight and rendering your equipment unusable.
The next day, simply remove the gear from cold storage 30 minutes prior to painting, and it’ll be supple and ready for use. Properly wrapped paintbrushes and roller sleeves can be stored this manner for several days if you’re tackling a really ambitious job
Assemble the pressure washer by attaching a hose to the intake valve and the “wand” to the appropriate nozzle.
Make sure the safety latch on the wand is in place and then start the motor. It starts just like a lawn mower, but keep in mind that once the motor has started, pressure starts building up right away, so don’t let the motor idle for long. The jet from a pressure washer can be 50 times more powerful than a garden hose. So it can do a lot of damage if used incorrectly.
Release the safety lock and point the wand away before pulling the trigger. Never point the wand at another person.
With a steady “sweeping” motion, move the spray back and forth across the deck surface. The trick is to keep the spray moving. Don’t rest in one spot for too long or it could permanently damage the surface. Steadily move the jet back and forth across the entire deck. The difference after each pass will be noticeable. A cleaning solution can be added to help with those tough spots on the deck.
Let the deck dry and then apply a sealer to protect it from the elements.
Use the pressure washer to clean other surfaces around the house. Use it on brick walls to make sure every nook and cranny gets clean. Siding can be cleaned with a lower pressure spray tip. It is also useful for removing algae stains from a backyard fence.