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Painting: From brushes and rollers to drop cloths and ladders, this job requires the right tools


Few home projects are as satisfying for the do-it-yourself property owner as a fresh coat of paint.

Whether it’s your first time tacking a paintbrush or you’re a veteran home-painting pro, in addition to these essential tools — gallons of premium paint, brushes, rollers, roller covers and drop cloths — good planning goes a long way to a successful project outcome.

Angela Carroll Ast, an interior designer and owner of ABCA Design Decorating Den Interiors in Milford, Pa. said many of her clients opt to do home painting themselves and call on her services for help in selecting paint colors.

“If you want to do (home) painting projects yourself, it’s a way to cut costs. I give clients a color palette for the entire house, so they can put it in the file ‘keep those color names,’” Ast explained.

Settling on a complete color palette takes the guesswork out of repainting projects or coordinating different rooms during a renovation transition.

“Pick the palette right away, and stick with it,” Ast said.

High vaulted ceilings — common in many new construction communities — may still need professional painting services for ceilings or areas out of reach. Ast said many contractors are willing to bid on specific portions of a job.

“People underestimate how tall their ceilings are. You don’t want someone up on a ladder that isn’t used to being on one…for that higher reach work, call in a professional,” Ast explained.

The need for scaffolding is another reason to call in the pros for ceiling and high wall work.

While they’re at it…

Ast said if the paint contractor is willing — and for an additional cost — ask about chandelier or light fixture cleaning, or if drapes or drapery rods are needed to be mounted or adjusted at that time.

“For contractors who work together, like the painter and electrician, it could also be a good time for lighting fixtures to be mounted,” she said.

Paint quality counts

While every paint company sells grades at various price points — from low to high — seriously think about investing in the best quality paint you can afford. You won’t be sorry.

You’ll never regret the durability, finish and performance longevity of using high-quality paint.

Many companies also offer paint formulations that include primer and color all in one. If you’re hiring a painting contractor ask about those formulations during your project discovery time, Ast said.

“Investing in higher quality paint — even with a painting contractor — can mean less labor costs” in the end, Ast said.

Samples set expectations

If you’re unsure about the color and finish, take the time to invest — and try out — different paints through samples.

Expect to live with a wall section for a while, or paint large rectangular poster boards with the colors you’re considering and move them around the room throughout the day and evening hours, Ast said.

Why samples are smart:

• Light changes the way a color looks. Samples allow you to see it. You may love the paint color in the morning, but be less impressed with it by the end of the day. Samples let you see those subtle changes in advance of the commitment.

• Preview the entire room’s colors. Samples let you see how the new color works with your existing room furnishings.

• Consider transition spaces. If you are not repainting the entire downstairs there will be “transition” space from one room to the next; samples let you try out this new look first.

• Show color changes with artificial light. From natural daylight to LED or incandescent bulbs and various types of lighting, paint will look different under different light sources.

The time and investment made in sampling paint before beginning a project — whether it’s DIY or contractor-hired — ultimately yields big dividends in project satisfaction — and contentment with a job well done.

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