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D.I.Y Repainting the interior of a condo by Jack Miles.

by Jack Miles

Although repainting the interior of a condo may seem an easy job, especially when considering how quickly you can cover various areas using a paint roller, the task in its entirety will likely soon become a more challenging proposition. Still it is a sure fire way to give a tired looking property a new look since dirty walls are unsightly and will immediately be associated with an older and tired looking space.

The correct tools are required when it comes to painting the interior of a condo. The aforementioned paint roller will be essential but also you will need a selection of paintbrushes, a stepladder, a roller extension, a paint tray and plenty of masking tape and sheets to protect areas from unwanted coverage.

The paint itself should be a durable interior emulsion and whilst white is good for a neutral look, cream and yellow colours are becoming more in vogue. You might also consider painting one wall in a contrasting colour such as red or plum to give a room a unique feel. Paint needs to be well stirred prior to application. Larger tubs are easier to use since you can stir more paint in one go. You can ask about the number of tubs required for a given area at a local paint dealer who can also advise the best paint for the job as well.

To start you will need to protect the floor especially if it has a carpet or wood finish, since paint spots will be hard to remove. Use large bed sheets to cover all of the floor area if possible, or at the very least the part of the floor where you are planning to work. Make sure that if you are covering only part of the floor that you do not step onto a sheet that has paint spots on it and then transfer these to the uncovered part of the floor. Full coverage may well be a wise investment of time and expense.

Next, mask off the areas that you don’t want to have any paint on them. For example in a kitchen the cupboards, work surfaces, shelves and appliances will all need to be covered with masking tape and sheets of newspaper or sheets made of linen. Newspaper or other paper will adhere more easily to masking tape but is more fragile than sheets.

It is worth noting that whilst the paint roller will be your quickest and easiest application tool, it will not reach into corners. That’s because of the diameter of the roller when using it in a forward and reverse direction as well as the fact that the ends of the roller won’t apply paint. It means that all edges and corners will need to be attended to using a paintbrush. For a main room such as a living room or studio room this is the best place to start. Use a small gauge paintbrush to apply paint to where the ceiling meets the walls and the walls meet each other. Consider painting to a width of around 1 to 2 inches into the broader spaces so that the roller can meet your newly painted edge work.

If old paintwork is dirty then it is worth remembering that new paint will often cover the dirt quite well, apart from greasy spots that is. So for example if a kitchen backsplash has oily marks it may be worth a cursory clean with detergent before repainting. Yet all other areas of paintwork, which are dirty but not greasy, can be left alone, as the new paint will cover them nicely. Overall dryness is important so this is why dirty marks can generally be left. When attacking greasy marks with detergent use a soft paper towel to ensure that the old paintwork dries out well. You will need to wait a day or two before painting over any recently cleaned surfaces, but for areas that are not being wetted then you can paint over marks straight away.

Whilst you may feel you can cover small areas quite quickly using the roller, the ceiling will be quite a vast area to paint and will require you to stay in uncomfortable positions for some considerable time. As time passes it will become more and more of an arduous task. It is worth painting the ceiling first as it is the most difficult area to cover. 

Remove light fittings and other items such as curtain rails that may be ceiling mounted. If there is an air-condition unit also mounted into the ceiling area then this will need to be masked off using masking tape and paper. When painting, look to use the stepladder where possible instead of a roller extension. This will stop you from stretching and give you more control of your roller painting since your hands will be closer to the actual point of contact where the paint meets the ceiling. A step ladder with a shelf at the top of it is a good idea so that you can place the paint tray on it and so avoid walking up and down the step ladder every time you want to refresh the roller with new paint from the tray. The ceiling of an average studio condo will likely take a single person a day to paint, so it is worth ensuring that you have plenty of time put by for the job.

With the ceiling complete and the edges also painted you can then start on the walls. If different colour walls are chosen then it will be necessary to carefully mask off the edges and use a paintbrush in each of the different colours to make the edges smooth. The same goes for where different coloured walls meet a ceiling that has a distinct colour. Then be sure to remove all light switches and electrical outlet cover plates as well as other wall fittings so that you can paint behind them and then refit them after the wall is dry. A top down approach is a good way to go when painting walls using the stepladder for the highest areas and then a small extender for mid areas. Keep painting evenly all the way down to the floor and you may find you can cover all the walls of your room within a day.

Allow another day or two for painted surfaces to fully dry. They may be dry to the touch earlier but it is best to allow the paint to fully dry out. Unmasking all the areas and refitting electrical outlets and other fittings should be done with care so as not to mark the newly painted surfaces.

With all this in hand your newly painted condo can be fully enjoyed. It will be bright and clean and will give even an older building a modern interior feel. Painting should be done once every 5 years or so, or as required if paintwork is becoming worn or marked. Overall repainting of an interior is a relatively inexpensive thing to do and yet it will add considerable value to any property.