Before heading to the hardware store or paint supply store to pick up the supplies for the next big painting project, there are a few things to remember in order to make the situation considerably easier, both for the customer and for the paint specialist at the store. After all, no one really wants to spend more time shopping for supplies than they absolutely have to (at least, no one apart from some tool-addicts out there).
Here are a few things that will make the process go just a little bit smoother:
Know the Project
What exactly does this project entail? Is it just a single room, or multiple rooms? As much as possible, figure out a rough square footage of the project. A relatively simple way to do this is to “walk” the length of the walls, then simply multiply the number of steps times three and multiply the result by eight (for standard ceilings – though if the room has high ceilings, this number can vary). Now, at least this should give a good idea of how much paint will be necessary.
How much area does a gallon of paint cover? Well, that really depends on several things. How good is the quality of the paint, what color is the paint, and what color is it covering? Most gallons cans of paint claim to cover 200 to 400 square feet of wall. The low end of this would be for very porous surfaces or attempting to cover a difficult previous coat (if this is the case, it will most likely require two coats of paint, or one coat of primer and one coat of paint).
Next, check for any “special needs” on the walls. Are there any stains that need covering? Any holes that will need patching? If so, a good coat of stain-covering primer and some lightweight spackle will be a good addition to the shopping list.
Have a Good Colour Idea
It’s very easy to spend vast amounts of time leafing through every colour sample at the paint store, looking for one that is just right. However, this is really not the best way to find the perfect colour. Colours may look very different on sheets with several other colours than they will on a wall. It’s good to have at least some good colour ideas going into the store. If a sample of a chosen colour can be obtained, chances are good that the store will have the ability to match that colour into the chosen brand of paint.
As much as possible, think this through before going to the hardware store, if for no other reason than to save a little bit of time in making an extra trip.
Colours can be very difficult, though, especially for a picky person. Paints, due to their texture and sheen, can look very different depending on the lighting of the room and the other colours surrounding it. For the person who is very picky about colours, perhaps an extra trip to the store to pick up some actual samples of paint (many brands have small packages of various colours of paint premixed as samples, others can mix up small pint containers that cover a few square feet of a wall), just to get a good idea of what the paint will actually look like.
Know the Sheen
In addition to colour, it is a good idea to know what sheen might work best for the project. First, you’ll need to read a thorough breakdown of the various sheen options.
Any Other Tools?
Is the project going to require certain fixtures or windows to be taped off? Some good painter’s tape should be added to the list. How about a cloth or some plastic to cover the floor? Of course a paint job requires paint brushes or rollers, but what exactly is going to be needed?
For cutting in along edges, a good 2” angled paint brush works well, though different people have their own methods, so it’s difficult to say what exactly will be best for the average person. As far as rollers go, though, a standard 3/8” nap roller cover and frame should work well for walls with medium texture. For popcorn ceilings or very high textured walls, a 5/8” nap would be a better idea. Conversely, for very smooth walls, probably go with a ¼” nap.
Last but not least, there will surely be some questions remaining, as every project is different and there simply isn’t space here to go over all the different variables and to list the many, many interesting and useful tools that have been developed to make painting easier.
For all of this – here is where the store employees come in handy. They will be able to answer very specific questions about each individual job, and provide recommendations for tools and products. They will surely be grateful, however, for any customer that already knows what they need before even entering the store.