How to Paint Any Surface

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How to Paint Any Surface

This article comes from Better Homes & Gardens.

How to Paint Any Surface

This is your go-to guide for painting absolutely anything. Start looking around for ways to amp up your home with color! Using a variety of applications, you can add new color to almost any surface—and give yourself new furnishings for just the cost of the paint and elbow grease. We’ll walk you through how to paint anything in your house, from ceiling to floor.

1. Metal

Clean the surface with a stiff wire brush to remove flaking paint or rust. Wipe with a damp cloth and let it dry. Prime with metal primer and let dry, or use a paint specially formulated with rust inhibitors. Apply several thin coats of paint. If using spray paint, hold the can about 10-12 inches from the surface as you spray. Shake the can during the application to keep the color mixed. Spray lightly to avoid paint runs.

2. Ceilings

It’s best to paint a room’s ceilings before you paint its walls. Use a roller with a telescoping handle and paint two coats: the first coat in the same direction as the major light source (such as a window) and a second coat perpendicular to the light. To make painting a white ceiling easier, several manufacturers offer paints that are pink or blue when applied but dry to a white finish. If you have a textured ceiling, expect to use 10-15 percent more paint. A foam roller will conform to the textured surface and provide even coverage with less energy and effort on your part.

3. Glass

Start with a clean, dry surface. If you use a pattern, tape it to the inside of clear glass. With an artist’s brush, apply a thin layer of glass paint for a stained-glass look. For an opaque finish, apply an additional coat after the first is dry. Paint slowly and gently to avoid bubbles. Using an artist’s brush, seal the design with glass-paint varnish. If you want the look of frosted glass, use a varnish with a matte finish.

4. Doors

Although common practice is to remove a door before painting, you might as well paint it in place—that way, you can paint all sides at once and won’t have to rehang it. Before painting a door, remove the knobs and hardware, and mask hinges. Use an oil-base sealer and primer to lock in the original finish, then use at least two coats of semigloss or gloss paint.

5. Cabinetry

When painting cabinetry, prep work is everything. First, remove the doors and drawers (as well as any hardware) and clean the surfaces. The type of primer you should use depends on whether the cabinets are wood or laminate.

If your cabinets have been painted before, you’ll want to determine what type of paint was used. This is important because an oil-base finish requires an oil-base sealer and primer. To test a painted surface, soak a cotton ball in ammonia and stick it to the surface with an adhesive bandage or tape. Take it off after about an hour; if the paint has wrinkles, it’s water-base. If it doesn’t, it’s oil-base.

After you apply the correct primer, apply two or three coats of paint to ensure the cabinets will stand up to daily use. One layer of paint is not enough. For best results, apply the paint with a foam roller, then use a brush to spread the paint and create an even finish.

6. Ceramic

Sand the surface lightly to ensure paint adhesion. Clean the surface with trisodium phosphate (TSP) cleaner to remove grease and dirt. When dry, apply a bonding or ceramic primer. Let the primer dry. Brush on latex paint in a gloss or semigloss finish. You also can use a paint formulated for ceramic or porcelain surfaces. Allow the paint to dry for several days and take care not to scratch the paint while it’s curing.

7. Wood Furniture

If the surface is already painted or varnished, remove dirt or wax buildup with a household cleaner and rinse. Sand rough areas and wipe away dust with a tack cloth. Apply two coats of stain-blocking primer and allow it to dry between coats. Try using a clear primer if you want the wood’s grain to be seen through the paint. Roll or brush on two coats of latex paint in the direction of the wood grain. Use a brush to finish the surface with smooth strokes. For furniture or cabinetry that will receive heavy use (like kitchen cabinets that are opened on a daily basis), it’s a good idea to seal the finish with two coats of polyurethane. If you want a quick fix, especially for a textured item such as a wicker chair, spray paint it.

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