While there seems to be a hardware superstore popping up on every corner, it can be hard to find anyone to help you. Local paint and hardware stores are full of people who are not only helpful but also very experienced.
How do I prep walls for paint?
The key to a good paint job is the prep work. Between cleaning the walls, taping the wood trim off, and protecting your floors with drop cloths, there is quite a bit of work to do before you even crack open a paint can. Talk to the experts at your local store about the best tips and tools they have for the proper preparation of the walls on your project.
Do I need primer?
While everyone will likely agree that you need primer, there is a lot of wiggle room on what type, brand, and color of primer you should use for your particular project. Primer is designed to not only neutralize the color of paint beneath it but, in some cases, it can also seal the wall. There are primers designed to prevent water from seeping into basements as well as to seal off strong odors, like previously smoke-damaged walls. The paint expert at your local hardware store can help you with your individual primer needs. Feel free to share pictures on your phone if you feel it would help explain your scenario.
What type of paint should I buy?
After an educated decision has been made on what type of primer you need for your project, you still need to choose what type of paint will work best. Paint comes in four finishes, flat, eggshell, semi-gloss, and gloss. While flat paint (hard to clean) and gloss (shows all the imperfections) can usually be ruled out, it can be hard to decide between eggshell and semi-gloss. While the two finishes are similar, they each have pros and cons that your paint expert can talk through with you.
What should I do with leftover paint?
When you are finished with your project, you may have leftover paint. Some homeowners like to purchase a small container at the paint store and keep the extra painting for touch-ups. If you prefer to get rid of the paint, however, you have three options. For a small amount of paint, leave the lid off overnight. The remaining paint will dry out and you can throw it out with your normal household trash.
If there is an excessive amount of paint left, you can donate it to a building supply re-use site where it will be used by another family for a project. You can also fill the can with kitty litter, which will soak up the remaining paint.
Depending on what part of the country you live in, your municipality may have specific rules different than these suggestions. Your local paint store will know exactly what to do, however.
When you are lucky enough to have a local paint store, use their experience to make your project a success.