Painting: It’s all in the prep

Painting the interior of your home is a quick and easy way to revamp a room. So how do you get started? First off, get a sense of what exactly you want to do.

“We’re going to ask right off the bat what room you want to paint,” said owner of Puhi Paint Ron Garlie. “If it’s for a bedroom, you probably have some color patterns you want to go through in choosing a color for your walls. You can take a bedspread or curtains on the walls to pull color from, that kind of tie the room together.” Once the room and the color scheme are established, it’s time to move onto the type of paint you want to use.

“Next up, we’ll ask what they want the room to look like,” Garlie said. “If people want the soft, off-white look, is it because it’s what they really want, or is it because it’s easiest?” On Kaua‘i, Garlie said, most people tend to use an eggshell or satin finish to paint the interior walls. This is because of the washability factor of the paint.

“Here on Kaua‘i there’s a lot of red clay and when you come in from outside, dirt can get on the walls and with the eggshell finish, the dirt washes off easily,” Garlie said.

The type of paint with the highest washability factor is the semigloss finish. The chemicals in the paint give it a shinier film on the paint than the others, which makes things like dirt wash off easier.

“It’s going to come down to personal preferences,” Garlie said. “If you don’t want the shine, you can go for the eggshell or a flat look.” Another thing you might want to consider is the volatile organic compound (VOC) level. VOCs are the fumes you smell when you’re painting. The paint cans should all labeled with high, low or no-VOC.

“For people who are sensitive to the chemicals, then that’s when it becomes a factor. The no fumes is an added benefit,” he said.

No-VOC is probably best for a kid’s or a baby’s room, he said.

When it comes to materials, Garlie said, you should buy the higher quality tools.

“Some people want to get cheap brushes and rollers because they’re just going to throw it out when the job’s done, but the better the tools, the better the job,” he said. “Tools are very important to how the job will look.” The main thing is to examine the materials.

Compare two brushes of the same size and look at the amount of bristles on the brush. The brush with the more bristles may be a bit more expensive, but it will save you time and effort, and a lot of headaches, in the long run, Garlie said.

“The paint job is reflected by the tools you use,” he said.

The brush with more bristles will hold more paint, so you don’t have to stop and re-dip the brush in the paint can as often.

When using a roller, look at the thickness of the wool of the roller. The thicker, slightly more expensive roller, like the thick-bristled brush, will hold more paint, so there’s less stop and dip and restart times.

“Stopping and dipping and starting again is a waste of time. So was the savings of the $1 brush worth it?” Garlie said.

2006“The more paint the brush or the roller holds, the less lap marks — from when you overlap from stopping and starting — you’ll have. To paint with better results, get the better brush.” So you’ve got the color, you’ve got the paint and you’ve got your brushes. Next up, the setup.

“You’re going to want something to cover the floor with, a drop cloth or an old sheet and then some tape for the walls,” he said.

Yellow masking tape or the blue painter’s tape will do. Look at the adhesive levels in the tape, marked low or medium.

“With the blue painting tape, you can leave it on for days. But if you leave the yellow tape on in the sun, for days, when you go peel it off, the tape will come off, but the adhesive will still be stuck on the wall,” he said.

Although, Garlie also said, you really don’t want to keep tape on for a long period of time.

“Once you’re finished with the job, you want to remove the tape right away. When you’re painting, for instance a trim, you’re painting and paint will get on the tape. If you leave the tape on and the paint dries on the tape, when you go to rip off the tape, you might rip off some of the paint on the trim,” he said.

Another reason you want to remove the tape is because paint might leak underneath it.

“When that happens, if you remove the tape, you can wipe off the paint while it’s still wet,” he said.

Once you have everything you need, you’re good to go. The key to a good paint job is in the preparation.

“Preparation is about 70 percent of the job. If you prepare for (the job) right, then you’re going to do a good job,” Garlie said. “If you don’t know what you want, you should probably ask someone who will steer you the right way.”

Lanaly Cabalo, lifestyle writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or


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