If you're planning to paint the interior of your home and are not sure where to start, don't be daunted. Today's paints for home interiors not only come in a wide range of colours, but are safer and more DIY friendly than ever before.
Professional painter and decorator, Gary Owen, has lots of tips for budding DIY painters. "With most interior paints you don't even have to wash walls any more," he says. "Even in wet areas where you might have mould, an anti-moisture paint containing zinc will let you just paint over it."
Of course, this doesn't mean that some simple preparation isn't necessary before embarking on an interior painting project. "You should always give the wall a light rub down with P180 or P160 sandpaper," Gary advises. "This gives the surface a rougher texture and gives the paint something to stick to."
If you live in an historic home or one built pre-1970 with its original paint, before you do anything it's important to check whether the paint is lead based by using a test kit from a paint supplier or hardware shop. "You really shouldn't be touching lead-based paints, especially if you have kids around or are pregnant," Gary says. "It's fine to paint over it, but you don't want to chip or damage it."
If your walls have cracks, they can be easily repaired before painting the interior of your home. "You can use plasterer's tape, which is fibreglass," he says. "Place it over the crack and finish it off with cornice cement, which is not as hard as spack filler and therefore easier to sand. Everything moves in Australian houses, but with this process, when the house moves, the filler does too, and the cracks won't return."
When it comes to choosing the right type of paint for your interior, Gary suggests semi-gloss, satin or enamel rather than high-gloss. "High-gloss can create highlights which can be hard on the eyes - especially for older people - and shadows," he says. "It can also chip easily, and you may need up to four coats for good coverage."
Alternatively, with the satins and enamels, not only is an interior paint undercoat unnecessary, but two coats are usually enough. "These paints are softer, so they tend to dent rather than chip," Gary says. "They are also good for older properties, as they'll hide any defects better."
For choosing interior paint colours, and stocking up on brushes and drop sheets, check out your local paint supplier. All point-of-sale areas have colour sample cards with suggested colour and tonal combinations suitable for all tastes. Some suppliers also have computers where you can experiment with your own colour combinations.