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Top tips on painting your property

Dear Heather,

I am going to be selling my house. I know I should repaint the interior before I put it on the market but I'm not a very good painter, do you have any tips?


Dear Seller,

Painting is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to transform a space. But it can also be a hassle with all that taping and prepping and cleaning up. Here are some “fun” tips which will make it easier for you:

1. Dust those walls

Prepping is key to a successful paint job, but if you're doing a quick clean-up of your walls before painting, you may not want to spray cleaner on them for fear that the paint will not adhere well. Use a Swiffer duster instead. Dust will cling to it and you will have a clean surface to paint on. A dryer sheet is another good option for getting the dust off your surfaces — especially baseboards — before you begin.

2. Line it

Paint tray liners are helpful in extending the life of your paint tray and minimising clean up, but if you do not want to spend the money, head to your kitchen instead. Aluminium foil or plastic wrap wrapped around your paint tray will keep it clean.

3. Keep that foil handy

Aluminium foil is also great for wrapping doorknobs to keep paint off them when painting a door. Overlap the foil on to the door when you wrap the knob, then run a sharp utility knife around the base to trim the foil. That way you can paint right up to the edge of the knob. In addition to wrapping knobs on the doors that you will paint, wrap all the doorknobs that are along the route.

4. Use a quality paint brush

You can spend about $1 on a paintbrush or you can spend the equivalent of a good lunch, and the difference will be obvious when the cheaper version leaves brush marks and bristles on your wall. Get a decent one for a better finish, and choose an angled version for cutting in. The better the brush (and paint!), the better the chance you can do without all that pesky taping.

5. Buy the right amount of paint from the start

“Oh, I just need one gallon,” says everyone, everywhere. Knowing how much you really need ahead of time will keep you from having to make a return trip to the store, and help ensure your colour is consistent. The general rule is one gallon for every 350 square feet of surface area.

6. Wipe it up

Have a few drips to clean up on tile or wood floors? An alcohol wipe or wet rag will do the trick. Or, grab a cleansing facial wipe that contains alcohol. You will be surprised how well these work.

7. Put some holes in it

When you pour the paint it can go everywhere. It drips all over the sides of the can and then dries hard as a rock on the edges. When that happens, not even King Kong himself could pound that lid down hard enough to close it securely.

Hammering a few holes in the lip of the paint can will help the paint drain back down into the can.

8. Combat humidity

Humidity means drips and slow drying so avoid painting on a rainy day. If you must paint when it is humid, take your time — and take advantage of slow-drying paint to correct your errors before moving on to the next coat.

You can reduce the amount of humidity in your home by flipping on your air conditioning as well as any vent and exhaust fans you have in the home — in bathrooms, kitchens and laundry areas.

9. Wrap it up

One of the most painful tasks associated with painting is having to clean up at the end of the day. If you hate cleaning your brushes, this tip is for you.

The best way to preserve your brush if you're not done with the job is to put it in plastic wrap and throw it in the freezer overnight. It does require about 15 minutes of thawing out the following day before you can begin again but it is worth the wait.

10. Use drop cloths

Be sure to use drop cloths beneath where you are working; if they get messy replace them. Old sheets make good drop cloths.

Heather Chilvers is among Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty's leading sales representatives. She has been working in real estate for 27 years. If you have a question for Heather, please contact her at or 332-1793. Read this article on Facebook: Ask Heather Real Estate

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Published May 02, 2017 at 9:00 am (Updated May 02, 2017 at 9:27 am)

Top tips on painting your property

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