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The products on the market today are diverse, tailoring to specific needs. From painting appliances to simply changing the colour of your walls, find the product that is right for your specific project to prevent problems with drying and peeling.
Choose a high quality paint that will cover more easily and last, keeping you enjoying your freshly painted walls (or other surface!) longer.
Preparing the surface and choosing the right primer are two key steps in the painting process. You'll want to read these tips on surface preparation, paint selection, paint application and safety before you begin. You are sure to produce professional looking results in no time!
What interior material do you plan to paint?
Will you be painting this surface for the first time?
Does your surface need preparation to be ‘paint-ready’?
What amount of wear will the painted surface endure?
Water-based coatings contain pigments, a binder, a coalescing agent and water. They are also known as latex coatings. Solvent-based coatings contain pigments, a binder and solvents.
Water- and solvent-based coatings are formulated differently and so they behave differently under moist and dry conditions. Such differences are used to determine which type of coating is best suited to a particular job. The following chart presents the main advantages between these two types of coatings.
Water-Based (Latex) Paint
The liquid solvent is water, acting as the carrier for the pigment and binder.
Solvent-Based (Oil or Alkyd) Paint
In oil-based paints, the liquid solvent is a thinner. The other components are pigment and resin. The thinners evaporate, leaving the pigment and hard-coating resin.
In general, water-based paints are more user-friendly than their solvent-based counterparts. However, there are certain applications where the benefits of the finished application outweigh the hassle of dealing with oil-based paints.
If the surface is already painted, you must check to see if the previous coating was water- or solvent-based. Here are two simple ways to find out:
If you are still unsure, apply a base coat before the finishing coat.
It should be noted that water-based (latex) paints will not adhere to oil-based paints. Oil-based paints can be applied over water-based paints, but do not apply water-based paints over oil-based paints unless specific preparatory work has first been completed. Always read the manufacturer’s recommendations for specific product details.
Though primers are always a good idea, you should definitely use them when you are painting:
If the paint that will go over the primer is a darker hue, ask the paint department to tint your primer. The results will require less coats of paint in order to adequately cover the primer.
Many paints on the market now offer a primer and paint in one can. With the single swipe of the brush, you’re literally priming while you paint.
It is vital that you start any painting project with both high quality paints and applicators. You will likely spend more money up-front for these materials, but in the long run, you will save yourself both time and money.
High quality paints contain a greater volume of solid material, pigments and binders than lower-grade paints. These will help:
In addition to high quality paints, you should also invest in high quality brushes and rollers. In a paint brush, look for these qualities:
When choosing a roller, make sure the nap of the roller accommodates the surface to be painted:
Appearance is a general term used to express the percentage of light reflected by the film in a paint or varnish. Other terms like “finish” or “luster” or “sheen” are also used to designate the appearance of such products. We typically distinguish between the following kinds of finishes: lustrous, glossy, semi-glossy, pearly, melamine, platinum, velvety, satiny or eggshell and flat.
Not only does the type of appearance determine how much light is reflected, it also determines product toughness.
Glossy products last longer and can withstand moisture better, because they contain more resin. Resins harden in the coating film once the liquid evaporates. This is why glossy products are recommended for kitchens and bathrooms. They are easy to clean and better resist rubbing and repeated washing. However, they require a very smooth base because they will reveal surface flaws.
On the other end of the spectrum, flat products easily retain dirt and are not as resistant to moisture because they are more porous. They allow microorganisms to form when they retain moisture. However, they do an excellent job of concealing surface imperfections and brush strokes. They are thus recommended for walls and ceilings requiring little washing, as well as less busy parts of the house.
Choice of finishes ultimately depends on how a room is used.
The following table outlines the recommended finishes for walls and ceilings in various types of rooms. Also indicated is the percentage of light reflected for each type of finish.
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Colour selection is of critical importance when choosing paint. It is the easiest (and cheapest!) way to transform any room. It brings personality, creativity and soul to a space or it can serve as a neutral backdrop, allowing other items to be the star of the room.
Interior colour schemes should contain a maximum of four colours. The most popular schemes have just three: dominant, intermediate and accent colours.
The dominant colour should occupy about 60% of the room, such as three walls.
The intermediate colour should take up about 30% of the room, such as one wall, or the ceiling if the dominant colour is applied to all walls.
The accent colour makes details stand out. It should be present in about 10% of the room, for example on the moldings, the frames, the doors and so forth. The accent colour could also be a piece of furniture, a lamp or an accessory, like a throw pillow or cushion.
Colours should be distributed within a space according to their relative degrees of intensity. A brighter colour should take up more space and a darker one, less.
If you are selecting colours for an open-plan house, make sure they coordinate. Select a dominant colour for the house as a whole, then assign specific intermediate and accent colours to each room.
To choose a colour, begin with an article of inspiration in the room (or something that you want to bring into the room) that you like. It could be a painting, a rug, a fabric, a piece of furniture or even an accessory. Then, work from there. Choose colours that coordinate with the item.
You can also begin choosing a colour at the colour wheel. The wheel gives you recommendations of colours that go well together—whether you choose a harmonious blend from one side of the wheel, or if you opt for a contrasting scheme from opposite sides of the wheel. Either scheme will produce beautiful results, and chances are your colour selections will reflect your tastes and personality.
There are a wide variety of effects that can be accomplished through painting. From using two tones on a single wall to intricate faux finishes, incorporate a design effect to take your painting project to the next level.
Stencils (available in an assortment of motifs)
Crackle (achieved by applying a special coat of paint that almost shrinks, making the finish appear decades old)
Chalkboard (perfect for kids rooms, playrooms or even in the kitchen, chalkboard paint allows you to write on the surface with chalk---and easily wipe it down as well!)
Textures (usually achieved through specialty rollers, giving walls dimension and depth)
Effects (from linen-looking to plaids and everywhere in between, special brushes can be used to create beautiful painted effects)
Faux Finishes (whether simulating a precious stone finish on an inexpensive piece of wood, or perhaps a wood grain on drywall, faux finishes are best performed by artists—with a good faux finish, it won’t look faux!)
Always choose a paint colour and application that you enjoy, but if you need some ideas, here are the latest trends:
Earth tones and subtle shades are popular with intermittent splashes of intense colour.
Colours that complement the green movement are also gaining ground—earthy greens, browns and creams.
A relaxed, informal and simple way of life is conjuring up colours that are easy going and joyful with warm tones.
Very neutral backdrops, think white or soft grays, are widely being seen with bright accents—such as a pink door or a canary yellow dresser.
Though it is often tempting to jump right in, immediately getting the new colour up on the wall—don’t do it. A successful paint job relies mostly on surface preparation, careful planning and tedious attention to details.
Secondly, invest in good quality tools. Like with any other home improvement project, quality painting supplies will last a long time and make your experience run smoother, easier and more efficient.
Basic tools for painting include:
Take the structure's measurements before heading to the store to purchase.
Always purchase a little extra paint in case you need to apply touch-ups in the future.
The surface must be contaminant-free and dry.
Before launching into a painting project, it is important to first prepare the surface. Whether the contaminant is grease, soot, chalking or old paint, it must be removed to allow the new paint to adhere to the surface evenly and properly.
Remove dirt with trisodium phosphate (TSP).
Remove mold with a chlorine-based cleaner.
Remove old paint with a scraper and sandpaper. (If you get down to raw wood, be sure to prime before painting.)
The surface should be smooth if possible.
If you are painting interior drywall, patch holes with a putty knife and spackle. When the spackle has dried, lightly sand flush with the wall using 220-grit sandpaper.
Primers can help fill cracks, crevices and small holes.
If the surface is too smooth and shiny for paint to adhere, consider scratching the surface with a light sandpaper for better adhesion. Primer should also help the paint adhere.
Safeguard areas that you don’t want painted.
Use a drop cloth for the floor and painter’s tape and/or tarps to cover other items.
Prime for a successful project.
Primer plays a critical role in painting.
Always use a primer when you are painting:
Ensure proper ventilation in the area you will be painting, especially if using oil-based paint.
If you are painting a room, follow these steps:
1. Cut in around edges—trim, windows, doors, etc.
2. Run a line of paint around the ceiling, ensuring there are no drips.
3. Use a roller to cover the walls.
4. Repeat steps 1-3 as necessary for a second or third coat of paint.
5. Paint the trim and other mouldings.
Before you begin protecting your possessions from potential paint spills and splatters, think protection for yourself first!
Ladders: The use of ladders requires certain precautions. The base of the ladder should be set away from the wall, at a distance equivalent to one quarter of its height. If the top of the ladder is 12' off the ground, the foot of the ladder should be 3' away from the wall. And if at all possible, tie the foot to the side of the house.
Lead Paint: If you suspect the previous coat of paint contained lead, call your local professionals to ensure everyone’s safety.
VOCs: Follow the paint manufacturer’s recommendations on the warning label for dealing with the paint’s VOCs. Take the necessary precautions to ensure your safety.
Use safety goggles or glasses to protect your eyes from flying particles while sanding or paint droplets while priming or painting.
Use gloves when handling chemicals or even certain paints.
Use a respirator when you smell a solvent or paint because that means you are breathing it. Ensure the area is properly ventilated, especially while working indoors.
1. Most paint applications require little to no maintenance. Check the product's label for specific information.
2. Typically, soap and water can be used to wash down soiled surfaces.
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