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BRUSHING UP ON PAINTING: It’s not all fun and games.
BRUSHING UP ON PAINTING: It’s not all fun and games. Gary Houlder

Painting? Don’t be a drip, take our tips

GOT a simple painting project planned? Here are our top tips for making the most of the job:

1. Drops and drips

Get more dropcloth than you think you need; you will always need it. Also, tape it down around the edges of the room so that it doesn't move out of place and expose the floor.

2. Start at the top

Paint the ceiling first. This will make it easier to get all the way into the corner and it makes down-the-wall drips less of a problem.

3. Handle it

Use an extension on a roller brush for the ceiling and for the walls. This will make it go much faster and will save a lot of trouble and elbow grease with the ceiling. Use a spongey corner brush to fill in corners where the roller doesn't reach.

4. Get a good tray

Splurge on a quality paint tray. Get something made of a hard plastic. They are washable (if you do it before the paint dries) and it really is worth the extra expense.

5. Don't dot your eyes

When painting the ceiling, you should use goggles. Paint in the eye is not fun.

6. X factor

Paint with the roller in an X pattern rather than up and down or side to side. For example, paint a stroke on one diagonal, then bring it up to kind of criss-cross. This will give you a better coat of paint which will be less likely to show the pattern you painted in.

7. Start afresh

Get a new roller brush every time you start a new painting project or take a break. They are washable but it's very hard to get all the paint out - and once they get some dried paint on them it's really difficult to paint with.

8. Look for a pro

All too much? You might want to get a professional instead.

If you don't have the time or the inclination to do it yourself, you can easily find a certified local painter. Post your job request on servicecentral.com.au /painting or make one phone call to 1300 557 917.

9. Nothing succeeds like excess

HOW much paint will you need? Always err on the side of excess and get more paint than you expect to use.

Even if you estimate surface areas and coats perfectly, you may find your supply is soon guzzled up by itty bitty unquantifiable tasks, such as perfecting the top coat around an electronic socket.

Sealed cans of interior paint will last years - up to about 15 if they remain unopened. And remember, down the line when your walls are chipped and dirty, you'll be thanking your past self for setting some aside.

But ...

If your excess paint is unsuitable for storage, it absolutely, unavoidably cannot just be flushed down the drain.

Buy a thickening product or paint hardener to solidify it for disposal - check with your council about where it can go.

10. Mate, it's too hot to paint

SOMETIMES, it's just too hot to paint. Sometimes, it's just too humid.

Summer might be a good time to paint if you live somewhere a bit temperate. But paint needs reasonable temperatures for drying.

In the heat of an Aussie summer, you can find your paint drying so fast you can't even patch up mistakes. And summer often means high humidity - another painting no-no: Humidity dampens surfaces and prevents waterborne paints from drying altogether.

This could be a good time to procrastinate and check the calendar - mid-March onwards might be a safe bet.