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Everything you need to know about painting your house

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A step-by-step process to painting your home—and the pitfalls you should avoid

If you’ve ever had to tackle a paint job at home, there are three broad categories your approach to the task probably fall under: you make like an ostrich and bury your head in the couch till this inexplicable desire to DIY your way through a weekend passes; Tom Sawyer it and haul in friends and family to do all the heavy lifting; or, dive right in and splash about till you make a nice mess of things.

But it doesn’t have to be like this: with this handy guide to painting, get the down-low on stuff to avoid and the stuff you simply cannot. It all begins with getting your painting arsenal together for starters.

Just like an artist needs her palette and brushes in order, your house-painting project will go nowhere without these in your toolkit:

Rollers: Because good-quality rollers are the mainstays of house painting. The right kind of roller depends on the kind of paint you choose to use—latex- or oil-based. Invest in an extendable handle to reach up the high spots.

Brush: Because you need something to reach into tight corners and go where the rollers can’t. Be sure you get more than one size (as explained further down when the actual painting begins).

Step ladder: Because there are spots along the top of a wall that even extendable rollers won’t reach.

Paint tray: Because that roller you’re wielding will need a large surface to soak up the paint. Find a good-sized tray that can easily accommodate about 3 to 3.5 litres of paint.

Measuring can: Because you need to know the precise amount of water to mix into the paint.

Face mask: Because it is never a good idea to give dust and potent paint smells direct access to your respiratory tract.

Drop cloth: Because you don’t want to have the paint dropping and dripping on the floor or the furniture you couldn’t move out of the room.

Mistakes To Avoid:
Most people scrimp on the tools—poor-quality brushes will inevitably lead to a poor-quality job. A good brush that doesn’t shed ensures the job is done speedily, so invest in the good stuff. 

Some even tend to select the wrong kind of brush. The brush you use depends on the type of paint, so consult the hardware shopkeeper about what’s the best kind. Generally, nylon and polyester brushes are long-lasting and easy to clean.

TIME: 2 hours
The next most important part of prepping for painting is masking. Simply put, a masking or painter’s tape is made of a kind of thin paper that’s easy to tear and is super-important: it prevents paint from getting onto furniture, on the floor or places where you don’t want any paint to reach.

What You Need:
-    Blue plastic / tarpaulin sheets
-    Asian Paints Truegrip masking tapes
-    Asian Paints masking sheets

How To:
1.    Remove bed linen, moveable furniture and other accessories.
2.    Cover the bed with a masking sheet and move it to the centre.

3.    Cover the floor with a blue tarpaulin or plastic sheet and secure it along the edges with masking tape.

4.    Use the masking tape to entirely cover switchboards and other immoveable furniture.

5.    Use masking sheets to cover the windows.

Mistakes To Avoid:
Avoid cutting corners and giving this a miss! Newspapers can’t be substitutes for tarp or masking paper; they tear too easily when you walk all over them, and think about the time you’ll waste cleaning up once you have finished painting.

TIME: 6 hours
It’s really time-consuming, a bit of a pain and meant to test your patience. But prepping right separates the pros from the amateurs.

We know what you’re thinking—you wanted to wrap up the painting in a day. Well, if you want to do it right, then sacrificing a weekend (better yet, a good three days if you plan on sampling) isn’t something you can get out of.

But first, whip out your calculator; you need to measure the surface area of the wall that’s up for painting.

How To (Measuring): 
If the idea of manual measuring is making you break into a sweat, use this formula:
1.    Calculate the square footage of the floor area of the room you have to paint.
2.    Multiply the value by 3.5.
3.    The resulting value is the paintable area of a room’s four walls.

Tip: If you’re painting only one wall, given that walls in standard Indian homes are 10 feet X 10 feet, consider 100 square feet as the roughly accurate paintable area.

When you go paint shopping, tell the shopkeeper the square footage of paintable area so that he can recommend the quantity you need depending on the product and the paint type you’re opting for (latex- or oil-based, etc).

You’re all set with the tools, you’ve done the math and you’ve bought the paint—it’s time to get cracking! That begins by thoroughly examining the wall, followed by sanding.

What You Need:
-    Asian Paints Truecare acrylic wall putty
-    Putty knife set
-    Dry cloth
-    100- and 150-grit sandpaper

How To (A Surface Clean-up):
1.    Check the walls for anything sticking to its surface—leftover nails, residual glue from any posters, cracks or holes.
2.    Now sand the walls from top to bottom using a 100-grit sandpaper. The coarser the sandpaper, the quicker that unevenness of the
       wall will be dealt with.
3.    Fill up those cracks and holes you identified the first time around. Let it dry for minimum 4, maximum 6 hours.
4.    Once the cracks are taken care of comes round two of sanding, only this time, use a 150- grit sandpaper—it’s softer and is good for
       easy-to-remove unevenness. This second round of sandpapering is to tackle the extra putty that may have accumulated when you
       got those cracks filled. Also, opt for acrylic putty, as it has an enamel content which has much more strength than POP ones.
5.    Then dust the wall using a dry cloth to remove the powdery particles left from sanding (because it could affect the quality of the
       final painted wall). You can even use a damp cloth for a thorough wipe down.

Mistakes To Avoid:
A rookie mistake is to forego that all-important wall washing. An unwashed surface means that those invisible dust particles get coated with the paint, which means the outcome is not as smooth as you would have liked.

TIME: 4 to 6 hours
Before getting down to the actual painting, it’s priming time. You could give it a miss but that would be a big mistake, because—priming avoids making the just-filled-in cracks of the wall appear shiny once they’re painted; increases the durability of the paint job; serves as a protective layer over the surface and ensures that the paint aligns itself better to the surface.

Moreover, a wall treated with primer gives your paint its truest, most authentic shade.

What You Need:
    Turpentine oil 150g
-    Asian Paints Truecare Interior Wall Primer (used here: half litre for an 8-foot-by-10-foot wall)
-    Paint Brush (4 inches)
-    Asian Paints Foam Roller Brush (6 inches)

How To:
Put 150 grams of turpentine oil in half a litre of primer and let loose on that wall, first with the 4-inch brush and then the roller brush to flatten the strokes.

Mistakes To Avoid:
Don’t give this a miss. For precisely the reasons why it’s a good idea to prime your wall, bypassing it will lead to an uneven job, an unfinished look and a dissatisfied feeling.

Swatching is a good idea, especially if you’re going for a colour and not a neutral. You will need to see how the colour works during the day, at night and with your furniture. After all, you have to live with your choices for a while.

How To:
Choose a small area of the wall you’re going to paint and see how the colour you’ve chosen fares in daylight. Sleep over it and then take the final decision.

Mistakes To Avoid:
Bold shades look very different up on walls than they do in cans. And you really don’t want to be surprised once the job’s done! So get swatching.

So here you are at the last leg. If you’ve adhered to the above steps, this should be easy. But remember, go slow; there’s no reason to rush through to the end.

What You Need:
-    Paint Brushes (4 inches and 2 inches)
-    Asian Paints Foam Roller Brush (6 inches)
-    Asian Paints Painting Tray (standard size)
-    Turpentine oil 150g
-    Apcolite Emulsion Paint (shade: X218 Golden Alphonso – I) (used here: 2 litres for an 8-foot-by-10-foot wall)

How To:
1.    Mix the paint with water as instructed on the packaging of the paint can. While mixing, don’t approximately decide on how much water is
       needed. Stick to the instructions given and use exactly that quantity—it helps in getting the correct saturation.

2.    Brush before you roll, so that you can reach the corners of the wall that the roller cannot. Then, use the roller to go over any paint
       that has sneaked out of the corners so that the surface is smoothened out.

3.    Dab the 4-inch brush in the paint and make a W (or even a V) from the top left of a 3-foot-by-3-foot section and start painting.
       Move from top to bottom and left to right. (This direction is based on the fact that most of us are right-handed, hence the speed of
       painting is better.)

4.    It’s now time to bring out the big guns—the roller—and start filling up the W (or the V). Roll in one section at a time, moving in the
       same direction all the time.

5.    Once the area is fully covered, lightly dab the roller in the tray and do one more coat to flatten the strokes. Once done, lift the roller
       very gently off the wall, else you will leave a mark of the ‘lift-off’ and leave behind a noticeable trail, messing with the seamlessness
       you want to achieve. Another way these lift-off marks can be tackled is that you wait till the paint is dry; then, with a very light hand,
       gently sand the spot and apply a spot of paint there again).

6.    Do only one wall at a time and wait a couple of hours before applying a second coat. Then let it dry for 6 hours; it takes a week for it
       to be completely dried. Always wash the brush properly with water after use as it gets damaged if kept unwashed.

7.    In case you notice any spots of colour spilling out of the designated paint area, wipe them off with detergent diluted in water.
       However, this should be done only 10 days post the painting job.

Mistakes To Avoid:
Don’t be stingy when it comes to the amount of paint you pile on that roller—load it down enough that the roller’s sponge is thoroughly soaked, but not so much that you let it drip.

A wall with a window in it means an opportunity to innovate. Window trims are an interesting way to draw attention to a different detail and make the room look bigger.

How To:
1.    Mask the window frame, as any careless stroke can leak the colour outside of the designated trim area.
2.    Start painting with the 2-inch brush for the sides (use thinner brush for narrow areas; a wider one will make the painting a little less

And voila you’re done painting (like a pro)!


Nidhi Tiwari


Madhurjya Saikia

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