If you’re undertaking a DIY project, chances are you’re going to learn a couple of lessons the hard way. For renovator Therese King, that lesson only took a couple of seconds but ended up adding a week to her project timeline.
“I painted the kitchen, was very proud of my efforts, it looked fabulous,” she says.
Thinking the walls and ceiling were done, she was working on installing the floating floorboards next, which required some floor leveller. “It looks like powdered concrete so you need to mix it up with water,” she says. With her drill mixer in the bucket, she switched it on.
“It spread the leveller so that it splattered all the walls and the roof and my hair. I learnt something through that experience – if you’re going to use your drill to mix your paint or whatever, do it outside! Which I’ve done ever since.”
King lives in a 100-year-old double-brick farmer’s cottage in South Albury. Being a convenient three hours between both Melbourne and Canberra and also a good stopover for those travelling south from Sydney, she saw the Airbnb potential in her duplex and spent every weekend for eight months renovating the fully self-contained one-bedroom unit next door.
“With the painting, that’s something I know I can do,” she says. “I got builders in and tradesman in for the big jobs, but when it came to restoring doors and painting that’s something that anyone can do really well.”
Cherie Barber agrees. As the renovating for profit expert on Channel Ten’s The Living Room, she is a big advocate of DIY painting. However, before a lick of paint can touch a wall, there’s a checklist of equipment and supplies you need to get the job done properly.
Whether you are like King and painting a whole property “from front door to back door” or tackling a single room, a quick cheat to help get you started is the Haymes Painters’ Pack. Free with any purchase of eight litres or more of Haymes Ultra Premium Paint, the pack contains a 230-millimetre heavy-duty roller frame, a microfibre roller cover, roller tray, premium canvas drop sheet, a paint can opener and a flat wooden paint stirrer.
“It has the key items you’ll need for starting your project,” Haymes Paint’s product training manager Scott Cattell says.
While rollers and drop sheets are obvious in the job they do, Cattell says flat stirrers are preferred to something round, like say a screwdriver.
“It’s always important to make sure your paint is thoroughly stirred, even though they do stir it at the shop when your colour is mixed. If paint has been sitting around for a while, it’s always a good idea to make sure you stir it thoroughly. So the flat stirrer actually agitates the paint properly.”
The Painters’ Pack provides “incentive to start the project”, Cattell says, adding there are other things you need outside of that as well. A Haymes instructional video suggests using Unikleen sugar soap to wash the walls, and Uni-Fill gap filler to prepare the wall surface, which will also require sponges, hand sanders and scrapers.
Masking tape is also required but Barber warns against using the traditional tan-coloured one. “You can only leave them on for a maximum of 24 hours before the adhesive starts bonding to the surface,” she says.
While renovators may be well-intentioned, Barber says laziness or distractions can kick in and if you let a week lapse, that tape will sliver into tiny pieces and leave adhesive residue. Opt for professional painters tapes instead. “Blue painters tapes can stay on for six months,” she says.
Barber advises DIYers to get mineral turps if their paint is oil based, as well as cling film for keeping rollers moist between coats, disposable latex gloves and “if you’re strictly going by the book, a respirator” for health and safety reasons.
Barber also cautions against buying “cheap and nasty” brushes because the bristles end up in the paint and then all over your walls. “You spend more time picking them out with your fingernails than painting,” she says.
For King, the painting of Olive Tree Cottage is now a memory and she’s become an Airbnb super-host.
“I’ve had so much positive feedback about how the house is decorated,” she says. “People have really responded to [its] artwork and I think that’s why the white walls have been so successful, because they let the artwork speak.”
Doing all the painting herself “saved thousands” but also gave King that feeling familiar to anyone who has completed a DIY project.
“The preparation is always the most tedious but once you get the room set up for painting it can be incredibly satisfying, that feeling of rolling that fresh paint onto your empty walls and you start to feel that the transformation has begun. It’s definitely a feeling of achievement, the feeling of ‘I did this’.”