Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Post Pesach Painting Pointers

I wrote this article 3 weeks ago. It was originally intended as a pre-pesach painting tutorial. Then I started having pangs of conscience. Could I honestly attempt to inspire a Do-It-Yourself project at a time when any activity beyond chametz removal is out of place? On the other hand, I completely identify with the simple chametz search turned massive spring cleaning production. I totally get it. Some of us just can’t help ourselves. If I'm already going through the trouble of emptying the closet to look for chametz, is it such a big deal if I sort, pitch, and organize the contents as I put them back in? (In my mind, consciously dumping items back into a closet haphazardly feels almost as wrong as putting on dirty clothes after a shower!)  And if the closet is already empty, wouldn't it be just a crying shame to not move it away from the wall and paint?  Thankfully, that’s the point where I grabbed my Yetzer Hara by the paint brush and said  “No! You will NOT move that closet! Not only that but when you do paint, AFTER Pesach, you’ll paint around the closet (gasp!) because no one will see behind it anyway! Now, back to your search for Chametz!”

Thankfully, one can still spring clean (and paint) even after Pesach. Now that the Pesach dishes are packed away and chametz is once again abound, this is a great time for Do-It-Yourself projects. Here are some things to know before you head out to the hardware store:

First, understand that the hardware store is a black hole. It sucks you in. I don't think I've ever come out of that place with just what I'd originally intended to buy. And when I'm in a Do-It-Yourself fixity kind of a mood, it's worse than going food shopping when I'm starving. Go in knowing exactly what you want to do and precisely what supplies you need to get the job done quickly. (Though, now that you don’t have that “pre-pesach-pressure”, maybe you can afford a little holiday perusing the isles. Yes, I am a Do-It-Yourself junkie….I even built my own peregola….but I digress…)

That said, there are a few things to consider when choosing your materials:


Paint FinishAdvantagesDisadvantagesRecommended Usage
Matte (least shiny)hides imperfections, goes on smooth over rough surfaces  harder to keep clean                   Not the best choice for high traffic areas
eggshell (slight luster)             can be wiped with rag                                                 imperfections are more noticeable     good for use in bathrooms, kitchens, and other high traffic area
semi-gloss (very shiny)       stands up the best to water and scrubbing                           imperfections are very noticeable            Use this for trims and doors

Latex (water) or Oil?

Latex based paint cleans with water, doesn't give off a strong odor, and dries quickly. While oil based paint is quite odorous and takes a long time to dry, it provides a smooth service that resists scratches, finger prints, and stains.  For walls, latex us usually the paint of choice.

Make sure to choose paint that has a low VOC (volatile organic compound), High amounts can cause breathing problems and environmental issues

How much paint do you need?
Add the width of each wall and multiply it by the height of the ceiling. Divide that number by 15 (as there are approximately 15 meters of coverage per liter of paint). This equation doesn't take into account doors and windows so you should have a bit left over touch ups

You want to use a synthetic-bristle brush when working with latex paint. Natural bristle brushes absorb the water from the paint making them difficult to work with. It is worthwile to invest in quality brushes, especially if you are an amatuer, because compared to inexpensive brushes, they apply paint in a thicker, smoother film providing for maximum and uniform coverage. You'll need a 2" angled brush, for cutting into corners, a 3" brush, and rollers.

Don't forget to add painter's tape, a putty knife, and a roller tray to your purchases.

Once you've freed yourself from the clutches of the hardware store, bring home all of your painting paraphernalia block off solid amount of time to complete the entire project, or at least one wall.
A good paint job starts with good prep work. Begin by removing or covering all of the furniture in the room. Do not skip this step! Assume that your paint will drip and will be difficult, if impossible, to clean when it dries.

Remove any nails, brackets, or picture hangers and fill holes or imperfections with spackle, allow to dry, and sand the patches (lightly). Note: if you have a crack, you need to widen it a bit before spackling because otherwise, the spackle will just sit on top. Scrape away any peeling paint and sand that area as well.

Painting directly over spackle or joint compound will likely result in an irregular surface or dull spots, known as “flashing”. This can be remedied by priming the walls after spackling.

Primer, otherwise known as "base coat",  is the first coat of paint (or paint product) that is applied to the surface. Priming guarantees that any ensuing layers of paint adequately adhere to the surface. I know what you’re thinking – a n o t h e r coat?!! The good news is you can have the primer tinted the color of your paint and this can save you a coat of painting later on.

You don’t need to use a primer if your wall doesn’t require any spackling or you’re painting a previously painted room, where the original paint is in good condition (and close to the new color). paint will stick well to paint, as long as the original paint is in good condition.

Use a damp cloth to wipe walls and allow them to dry.

Apply painter’s tape to the ceilings, trim, outlets, and baseboards. This is not a good opportunity to get rid of left over masking tape that you just happen to have at home. Painter’s tape is specially made to leave no residue and will come off the wall easily even after the paint has dried.

Wet your brush or roller before painting – this makes it easier for the brush to pick up and release paint.

Holding the brush the narrow way (not the way you would naturally hold it) makes it easier to get a crisp line when painting trim. Hold the brush near the base of the handle and dip the brissles a third of the way into the paint. Tap (don’t wipe!) the excess paint off the brush.

When you’re painting with a roller, you can’t get right up to the edges were the walls meet  the ceiling or the walls intersect with each other.  Filling in this area with a paintbrush  is called “Cutting in.”
Paint with enough pressure to bend the bristles slightly. Baring down too hard will leave brush marks.

When you’ve finished cutting in, load  the roller.  and paint onto the wall in an overlapping “W”. Fill in the W without lifting the roller to ensure even coverage.  Work in 3-4 foot sections beginning  at the ceiling and working your way down to the floor.

The sequence should be: Cut in one wall, fill in with the roller, cut in the next wall, fill in with the roller, etc. You shouldn’t cut in the entire room at once because the paint will begin to dry around the edges before you reach your final wall.  This will make your room look like it has a frame.

Latex wall paints take 1 hr. to dry to touch, 4 hours to re-coat, and up to two weeks to fully cure (i.e. if you want to wash the walls, or place something against it or on it if shelving). In other words, Yom Tov would have necessitated putting the furniture back right away which would have compromised all of your hard work. So congratulations to you on deciding to wait! (And thank you to my husband who insisted that I wait - hid my paint brushes- for without him, we would have had pretty walls and very very stressful erev bediat chametz….)

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