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Home Improvement Guide 2007
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Ideas and suggestions for your next project, from simple plans to designing extensive renovations.
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Twenty-two top painting blunders
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15. Not buying the right tools. Different paints, walls and wall textures will require different tools. To paint around trim and windows, use a brush. For large, open areas, use a roller. Textured walls will require a roller with more nap on the roller.

16. Not considering hiring a pro. Even with little or no experience, painting can be fun if you enjoy it. If you don't, it might pay to hire a pro. Or, if your spouse enjoys painting and you don't, have he or she tackle it with a friend while you contribute something else to the home fix-up project. Hanby-Robie often recommends best-friend painting teams over husband-wife ventures. "Very few couples can do this" and stay on great terms throughout the project, she says.

17. Not prepping the wall. The steps before you actually start to paint are the most important, says Hanby-Robie. Beginning do-it-yourselfers are so anxious to get the paint on the walls, "they skip the most important step, which is the prep work," she says.

Get all the furniture out, don't just push it to the other side of the room. "When you get started painting, you don't want to stop" and move furniture," says Gillingham-Ryan. And before you start, give the room a really thorough vacuuming to get rid of all the dust. Then patch or spackle any walls that need it.

18. Not having a plan of attack. One pro trick: When you apply a coat of paint, go around the room with the brush and do all the edges and corners first, then go back with the roller and apply a coat of paint to the rest of the wall, says Gillingham-Ryan.

19. Using thick coats of paint. Paint isn't pizza crust. With paint, thin is the only way to go. "Thick coats don't hold as well as thin coats," says Hanby-Robie. And many decorating pros recommend three thin coats of paint when you do a room. It will dry correctly, cover your old paint, and give you a great new look.

20. Not considering painter's tape. OK, this one is a matter of personal preference and experience. Some pros will tell you not to waste the time, while others swear it can make the results look really first rate. And you definitely don't want to be without it if you're doing any sort of striped or geometric look that involves painting a straight line.

21. Neglecting your tools. If you're doing the project over a number of days, clean up every night. That means capping the paint cans and cleaning the brushes. Ask about proper disposal of unused paint you don't want to keep. To keep chemicals out of drinking water, most cities have a designated dump for paint cans.

22. Forgetting what colors you used. Keep a record of your color choices. "Write them down in places you can find," says Gillingham-Ryan. "Record the name, brand, number, and what room you used it in. Then keep a little for touch-ups."

-- Posted: April 4, 2007
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