Monday, August 30, 2010

Painting Your Home? Here's Advice About Dropcloths

Mr. Lucky likes to use a carpet scrap for a dropcloth.

If you are planning to paint your staged home, good for you! A DIY paint job done well brings terrific returns on your investment. The best part is that your investment is more time than money.   

When you pay for professional painting, most of what you are paying for is labor. So, if you can do the work, you can save the money. 

MESSES. A striking difference between the inexperienced and the professional painter is the amount of paint the beginner gets where paint is not supposed to be. That's what dropcloths are for -- protecting surfaces. They won't protect you, though. That's what gloves, a hat, long sleeves, and painters pants are for. But dressing for painting is a blog post for another day.

EDGES ONLY. When you are painting walls, it is not necessary to cover the entire room with dropcloths.  You want to protect the perimeter of the room and any raised surfaces that are fixed to the walls, like counter tops, built-in cabinets, or tub and toilets.  A small dropcloth in the center of the room will give you a safe surface where you can pour up paint and keep supplies.

WHAT SIZE. Around the room's perimeter, all you need is a dropcloth less than 2 feet wide. (Of course, any furniture will be pushed towards the middle of the room.) In the photo above, you see Mr. Lucky's preference -- an 18-inch wide piece of scrap carpeting. It works well because it lies flat and can easily be kicked or dragged along as he moves around the room. If you use this system, just be certain to keep the roller over the carpet scrap at all times.

WHAT KIND. Most people think of canvas dropcloths when they think of professional painters.  These cloths are good because they are impervious to paint and the cover all kinds of surfaces without shifting.  If you don't have a canvas dropcloth and don't want to buy one, I suggest a paper dropcloth designed to be used multiple times, but not forever. Some types are heavy, flexible paper, and some are plastic-backed.

SAVE MONEY. For a budget version of a handy dropcloth, look in second hand stores for vinyl-backed curtains and drapes. If you cut off the pleated top edge, you'll have a versatile dropcloth that's small enough to be washable but large enough to provide good protection.

DON'T DO THIS. If you plan to throw down plastic sheeting to protect floors, don't. Paint that splatters and drips onto plastic does not dry, and before you know it, you've stepped in drips and tracked paint onto carpets or flooring.   

Also do not use cardboard (too slippery), newspaper (too unreliable), or "contractor's" rosin paper (too stiff and shifty). In a pinch, an old sheet, folded to lay in two or three layers will sub for a dropcloth.

INVESTMENT. Painting is the one of the best real estate enhancements you can do yourself. Having the right supplies, like dropcloths that do what they are supposed to do, will help you do a cleaner job, and make your home on the market more appealing to buyers.

My eBook, DIY Home Staging Tips to Sell Your Home Fast and For Top Dollar, gives you plenty more tips to work efficiently and effectively when you prepare your home for sale. Why go it alone, when I can be holding your hand? 


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