Painting 101

Aviva Home Insurance

Looking to give your home a new, revitalised look without breaking the bank? You don’t have to splurge on a range of new furniture and fittings to achieve this. A fresh lick of paint can help to refresh and update any room.

We spoke to painting expert Kevin Coghlan, managing director of award-winning paint and painting tool supplier MRCB, about getting a professional finish when painting your home yourself.

Preparation is key

Before you start, it’s vital you properly prepare the room.

Our expert says: Move all furniture away from the walls toward the centre of the room and cover with sheets to keep safe from any paint splatters that might occur.

Lightly sand your walls to ensure a smooth surface. Make sure all walls are clean and as dust-free as possible. The areas around light switches and sockets may need particular attention when cleaning.

If possible, remove your curtains while you paint. Place a drop cloth or layers of sheets on the floor to keep it protected. Tape around windows, doorframes and skirting boards.

Essential tools

Plan ahead and have the necessary bits and bobs to do the job.

Our expert says: It is essential to have a good quality roller brush, with both a sturdy head and frame - spending a few extra euro is really worth it! It means that more paint is picked up by the brush and you won’t need to re dip the roller as often. Ultimately, the paint will be dispersed more evenly, resulting in a flawless finish.

Equip yourself with a good selection of brushes; a smaller brush is perfect for cutting in around ceilings, doorframes, windows, cupboards and skirting boards.

Beware very cheap masking tape - it can tear paint when being removed or leave behind some adhesive on the wall.

Choosing colours

Have you ever painted a room in your home– only for 24 hours later the colour to change? What was once a springtime duck egg is now turquoise.

Our expert says: A key consideration here is to know the orientation of the room you are painting, because of the impact of natural light on colour.

East-facing rooms will receive natural light in the morning, whereas West-facing rooms receive natural light in the early evening – considering the time of day you spend most time in this room could influence your colour choice.

If the room is either East or North facing, natural light can appear somewhat blue, so choosing slightly warmer tones to balance this is be recommended.

If the room is South or West facing, then slightly cooler or neutral colours are best, although South-facing rooms can work with most colours.

The colour of your flooring can also come into play.  If it is a dark or intense colour it can reflect somewhat onto the walls and change the tone every so slightly.

I’d recommend buying a sample pot of a colour and test it out at home because the tone can appear different on the colour chart or under the lighting of the paint shop. Avoiding cheaply made paint means your chosen paint will be more pigmented and thus will interact with light better.

Paint finishes

There are numerous paint formulations to choose from. Do you know your matte from your gloss or eggshell?

Our expert says: The most popular paint formulation in Ireland at the moment is a matte finish – and for good reason! Matte is fantastic for hiding imperfections and giving your walls an overall flawless appearance.

Pro-tip: Some mattes cannot be cleaned however so check this before purchasing. Washable mattes are available for just a little extra cost and are very handy to just give a quick wipe down when cleaning, without risk of removing or damaging any paint on the wall.

Soft sheen and eggshell finishes are also worth consideration as they very easy to clean. However these finishes can sometimes show up imperfections on your walls and some lighter colours run the risk of appearing clinical.

For woodwork a satin finish is recommended over high gloss.

Number of coats/formulations and priming

Certain colours may require more coats, with priming as an option.

Our expert says: Always budget for two coats of paint as this is recommended for the best finish. This can vary, depending on paint quality, as a cheaper paint may need three or even four coats to achieve a consistent look.

While primers are not essential, we highly recommend using them if painting your home yourself - they really help in achieving the perfect finish. A good primer will also prevent damage to paint if cellotape or blu-tak is used on the walls and later removed.

Water based paints are dominating the paint market now as they are less damaging to the environment, dry faster and have a less overpowering odour compared to oil based paints. With water based paints you have less need for white spirits as they clean up with water instead.  They also hold their colour better than oil based, so you have a lower risk of yellowing, over time.

How much paint to purchase?

Let’s face it, we’ve all been there – that moment you realise you haven’t purchased enough paint for the job, or the frustrating feeling of having loads left over and feel you’ve spent excess money.

Our expert says: As a rule of thumb, you can expect to cover 12 square meters with one litre of paint. Make sure to measure the width and height of your room, taking into account the size of any windows or doors in the room. Then, when you’re at your local, independent paint shop, they will be able to calculate the approximate amount of paint you need. Remember to  factor in two coats of paint.

Now that you’re ready to take on that DIY painting job, don’t forget to protect the home you give so much TLC to. Learn more about Aviva home insurance.

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