All You Need to Know Before You Paint

June 9th 2007
All You Need to Know Before You Paint

Painting a room or an entire house is a project you can perform quickly and without too much difficulty if you are properly prepared.

Keep these tips in mind to help you get off on the right foot:

- While it's tempting to start applying paint as quickly as possible, the preparation is crucial since most problems when painting can be attributed to poor preparation.
- Be sure you are prepared to take on the project from start to finish, keeping in mind that this is a two-person job.
- Decide on colours that you both can live with to ensure you are on the same page before getting started. Consider using the services of a professional colour consultant.
- Before you have your paint supplier mix the paint, consider purchasing a sampler of your colour choice and paint an area approximately 48 by 48 inches to determine how the colour looks in the morning, afternoon and evening light.
Note: Most paint dealers, including Cloverdale Paint, Benjamin Moore and General Paint, make samplers available for this purpose.
- Ensure you have the right tools and equipment before you begin, i.e. stepladders, scaffolding and dropsheets (cloth type, not plastic.)
- Don't guess the room size or the amount of paint required. Measure the width, length and height of rooms to be painted. Your paint dealer can then calculate the required amount of paint for you.
- If you have paint left over, store in a tightly sealed container and set aside for touch-ups.


All walls, woodwork and flat-surfaced ceilings must be washed and rinsed as a first step. Use the Shell Busey Home Cleaning Formula, available at most paint stores. This will prepare the walls for the best paint job.

- Prepare the surface. Repair small holes and cracks in the walls in addition to sanding and priming where necessary.
- Some paint colours may require a primer first. Discuss this with your paint dealer.
- Delegate the painting duties. Decide who is going to paint the trim, who is going to do the walls and stick to your plan to stay on schedule.
- Prepare the room. Decide which room you are going to start with and create a functional workspace by clearing out small items. Move large furniture to the centre of the room and cover with protective sheets. Don't forget the drop sheets on the floor, and use painter's masking tape.
- Always apply paint in this order: ceilings, walls, trim.


  • - Measuring tape
  • - Drop sheets (cloth type)
  • - Painter's overalls and rubber gloves
  • - A selection of brushes -- good quality pure bristle for oil/alkyd paints and nylon or synthetic for water-based/acrylic latex paints
  • - A spackling knife four inches wide and patching spackle for picture-hook nail holes
  • - Sandpaper
  • - Rollers and pans
  • - A leveler, if wallpaper is being considered
  • - Cleaning solvents if required
  • - Two empty 20-litre pails to clean brushes and rollers
  • - Patience


Ask your paint dealer for the best quality paint. High-quality paint will get the value back in resistance to wear and tear.

Most paint suppliers have a low VOC or low-odour paint available if you are sensitive to paint odours.

Don't forget the environmental features of your paint choice. Acrylic latex is an excellent choice for most interior and exterior applications.