A beginner's guide to painting your home

A new coat of paint can be an instant fix. It's cost-effective and easy to apply, and with a little planning and the right equipment, you can completely change the look of a room in a couple of days.

Couple Painting DIY

So, you’re keen to lend a new life to your home with a fresh coat of paint. Here is our guide to painting your house with everything you need to know before you start.
How many coats will I need?
Generally, you’re going to need to apply a primer or sealer, then two topcoats – or if you use an acrylic undercoat, one coat of the acrylic undercoat and one of the topcoats. Some colours, such as yellows, may require a third coat to get the best finish. Check the paint label and ask for more information on when and where to use primers, sealers and undercoats.
Sometimes it can be tempting to skip a coat, however it’s a false economy as the paint will generally fail faster and you’ll have to repaint more often. Most of the cost of a paint project is the cost and time of the labour, so it’s worth doing a good job for the first time to save more work in surface preparation and more painting later.
How much paint do I need?
Simply calculate the surface area to be painted – don’t forget to deduct the area of windows and doors – and multiply by the number of coats you need to apply. Then, have a look at the paint container label to find out how much area the paint will cover. And don’t skimp, because spreading your paint too thinly will lower its performance.
Take the total area you are going to paint, multiplied by the number of coats, and divide this by the paint coverage. This will tell you how many litres you’ll need to buy. If the surface you’re painting is particularly irregular or porous, you are likely to need more paint. The Resene website has a handy paint calculator to help you find out how much to buy.
Try it free at www.resene.co.nz/homeown/problem-solver/paint-calculator.htm

What kind of paint should I use?
There are basically five finishes available: flat, low sheen, satin, semi-gloss and gloss. The higher the gloss, the better the paint will resist stains and the easier it is to clean. However, lower gloss paints are better at hiding imperfections and are generally preferred indoors as the reduced sheen is easier on the eye. You also need to ask whether a waterborne or solvent borne paint is going to be better for your requirements – in most cases, you’ll find that there is now a waterborne product ideal for the project. Waterborne products are generally lower odour and can be washed up easily in water so it’s easier to wash your hands and your decorating accessories.
What else do I need?
A bristle brush for solvent borne paints, drop sheets, an extension pole, gap fillers, a ladder, masking tape and paper, paint thinner or solvent (depending on whether you’re using solvent borne or waterborne paint), putty, rags, a roller, a roller tray and roller sleeve for larger areas, sandpaper, a scraper and wire brush, a speed brush and a synthetic brush for waterborne paints.
Is a roller best?
Rollers are a great way to paint a large area quickly and get a professional result. Painting with a roller is fast and easy if you let the roller fabric do the work. The fabric pile on the roller will control the paint application, so you just need to provide the elbow-grease. Good quality rollers hold more paint and give a better finish than inexpensive rollers. If you are unsure as to whether you are using the right roller, check the information on the Resene roller stand or ask at your nearest ColorShop.

What about brushes?
It takes time to become good, accurate and fast with a paintbrush. Have patience with yourself if you’re just starting out. Work on your quality first, then on speed. Nylon and nylon-polyester blend brushes are excellent for waterborne products, because they hold their shape and resilience. They are easy to clean and their filaments will not soften and become limp. Solventborne paints should be applied with a natural bristle brush. Either way, it’s best to opt for a higher quality brush that will hold its shape, and make sure you look after it well.
Two critical points to consider when choosing a brush are the surface you are planning to paint and the type of paint being used. It is generally best to use a variety of brush sizes – you will get better results and save time and effort. For example: use an 88 to 100 millimetre wide flat brush with a thickness of 18 to 25 millimetres for large exterior surfaces; a 75 millimetre wide flat brush for interior walls and ceilings; a brush with a tapered edge for cutting in corners; and a 25 to 63 millimetre brush for trim and joinery.
How important is preparation?
Very. Careful preparation of your painting surface is the single most important factor contributing to the success of the job. Even though it may take longer than the painting itself, it’s well worth the effort. A clean, smooth, sound surface is the key to a good long-lasting finish. You can paint over existing vinyl wallpaper too, without stripping off, as long as it’s sound. Just paint over the wallpaper with Resene Vinyl Wallpaper Sealer, let it dry, and then paint over the top. If you’re painting outside, wash your house down with Resene Paint Prep and Housewash before you start, and rinse it clean with fresh water. Treat areas of mould indoors and outdoors with Resene Moss and Mould Killer, so the mould doesn’t reappear and ruin your new paint finish.
And the painting?
Carefully mask off any area that doesn’t need painting with masking tape and paper. Always stir your paint thoroughly, even if you’ve just picked it up from the shop. Use your roller on larger areas, overlapping the wet edges for consistency. Then, use your brush for the areas your roller can’t reach or small areas where the roller won’t fit. Allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next one. If you have to take a break from the job, wrap the roller or brush in plastic wrap, so you don’t have to clean it and it stays moist. Watch the Resene  ‘how to paint’  videos on the Resene website, www.resene.co.nz/videos, and view the project sheets for step-by-step instructions.
For a little money and effort, you can get a whole new look. The possibilities of paint are endless – you might experiment with stripes or a whole range of different paint effect – the only limit is your imagination.

Top 10 painting tips from Resene

  1. Don’t skimp on your decorating accessories. The best paint job is achieved with the right brush, roller or application equipment for the job. If you use a poor quality brush with a high quality paint you will not get the best performance out of the paint.
  2. Prepare prepare prepare. Allow plenty of time for surface preparation. Many paint failures are caused by poor surface preparation. 
  3. If in doubt that a colour you are looking at on a colour chart may be too dark, choose a lighter colour. Colours will look more intense when they are painted onto a large area.
  4. Always use a testpot to confirm your colour choices in the area you are planning to paint.
  5. When selecting colours, don’t forget to factor in the gloss level. Most colour charts are produced using low sheen chips. If you use a gloss finish it will look brighter and cleaner; if you use a flat finish it will look darker and more intense.
  6. If you have a less than perfect surface, use a lower sheen paint. The lower the sheen the more imperfections the finish will hide.
  7. Don’t paint in very hot or very wet conditions. If it’s too hot the paint will dry too fast and give you a patchy result. If it’s too wet the paint won’t be able to cure and long-term performance may be affected. 
  8. If your paint is drying too fast in summer, add Resene Hot Weather Additive. This will slow down the drying and give you a longer wet edge, making it easier for you to get a great finish.
  9. If you have to paint outside on a hot day, avoid painting in the sun. Instead paint on the shaded side.
  10. Always clean out decorating tools well at the end of each job and hang them by their handles. ## Thinking about renovating? Get in touch with one of our renovation specialists today!

Read Next

All Refresh Renovations franchises are independently owned and operated.

Get in Touch

Get in touch if you are interested in a quote or consultation

(Don’t worry - if you change your mind you can unsubscribe anytime)

Please Wait ...


Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Talk to a renovation consultant today

If you would like to find out how Refresh Renovations can support you with a high quality, efficient home renovation, get in touch today. Your local Refresh Renovations consultant will be happy to meet with you for a free, no obligations consultation.

Get in touch