Have you ever painted a room in your home, spent all weekend doing what you think is a great job, and then returning to find things don’t look right? Or have you been in the position of painting a wall in your hallway, only to see it scuffed up within a few weeks?
Painting indoors can be a tricky old thing. More times than not, a poor looking paint job can occur when the paint isn’t tough enough. You would be surprised just how much work paint has to do on different surfaces. Any hindrance to helping paint work its magic could see all your hard work amount to a big waste of time.
So what can someone do if they want to make paint “tougher”? Here are a few places I find it helps to look at.
Take your time
A rushed paint job is the worst kind of paint job. There’s a rather odd example I use to help explain how to view paint drying in, which we all should have experienced, and it involves soup.
Don’t you hate it when you’re having soup at home, or out at a restaurant, someone puts the bowl down in front of you, and the liquid seems to have formed some skin on top? It is a practical example of how letting a liquid sit out can allow the surface to dry.
Unless you’re a monster who would happily tuck in and slurp up the skin, let things settle on the wall first, before applying your next coat. It is the easiest way to help paint firm up. When the paint can says dry and recoat in 1-2 hours, go as long as possible. Maybe even make some soup while you’re waiting!
Look for vinyl
Like a cratedigger in a music shop on a Saturday morning, you will want to find a good vinyl paint for your walls. Vinyl paints don’t look like shiny vinyl records. It is simply highlighting that the paint is formulated with vinyl resins (although you can get vinyl gloss paint). Why does this matter?
When vinyl has the chance to dry in, it becomes quite hard-wearing and durable. Let’s say you wanted to paint a hallway because bags, coats and shoes are always rubbing against the wall and leaving marks. If you used vinyl paint, you would have something which lets you wash and wipe the surface without leaving any big watermarks.
A personal favourite of mine is Johnstone’s Covaplus Vinyl, which is water-based (remember, great for drying time). It is decent when you want a reliable matt.
Get primed and ready
Imagine watching a boxing match or UFC fight where a fighter goes from sitting on a sofa all day to jumping in the ring. Or watching an Olympic athlete start a race while still eating their lunch?
You would know in an instant they are not ready for the task at hand, and conditions aren’t right. Paint can act just the same. Bleeding is a big problem people have when painting a room. It refers to the shade you are trying to paint over seeping through after the paint has dried. When you’ve already spent the money on paint, and two or three coats are still letting paint through, you would be rightly annoyed.
That’s why I am a big advocate for buying a primer (when painting new surfaces) or undercoat (when painting over existing colours). Your paint will always bind to the first thing it touches, and having an undercoat in place gives paint the best chance to sit and dry as it was meant to. Pop fresh paint directly over existing paint, and it may not sit right. Trust me; a decent primer can be your best friend.
Sand Away Flaws
To apply a perfectly smooth coat of paint to walls, ceilings and woodwork, you must start with a perfectly smooth surface. One pro told us that Sander would be a more-fitting job title than Painter, since he spends so much time pushing sandpaper. Sanding with the appropriate abrasive paper helps level out spackling compound and drywall joint compound patches, flattens ridges around nail holes, and feathers out repairs to inconspicuously blend into the surrounding surface. Sanding also removes burrs and rough spots in painted wood trim, such as baseboard moldings, and window and door casings. And roughing up a glossy painted surface with fine-grit sandpaper allows the new paint coat to adhere more easily.
Use a sanding pole fitted with 220-grit sandpaper to sand the walls vertically from the baseboard up to the ceiling. Be sure to overlap each stroke slightly to ensure you don’t miss any spots. Then sand horizontally along the top of the baseboard molding, and along the tops of the walls at the ceiling. Don’t apply too much pressure on the sanding pole or its swiveling head might flip over and damage the wall. Plus, sandpaper tends to load up (clog) when you press down too hard.
To sand decorative woodwork, try using a sanding sponge, which gets into crevices and easily conforms to contours.
I hope you found my thoughts on toughening up paint useful, and you don’t run into any problems the next time you’re painting at home.