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A fresh coat of paint can instantly transform cheap knick-knacks, junk furniture, god-awful counter tops and even horrendous floors into amazing things of beauty. But you have to know how to do it right or the results could be worse than the original. Here are six tricky surfaces, and tips on how to paint them properly.

Laminate (or formica) and Vinyl (or linoleum)

Whether counters or floors, laminate and vinyl can be painted — you just need to prep it first. If you’re tackling ugly old countertops or floors, use a heavy duty cleaner to remove any dirt, grime or oil. Follow by lightly sanding the surface with 150 grit sandpaper to make it just a little rough so the primer adheres. Prime using an oil-based primer or latex primer that promises great adhesion, then paint. Porch paint is best for floors because it will adhere and hold up better. Finish countertops with semi-gloss clear acrylic paint and floors with a heavy-duty sealant.

Try: KILZ Original Primer, Sealer, Stainblocker, $25.97, homedepot.ca

Particle board or laminate furniture

Pressed board or particle board is that cheap engineered wood made of wood fibres that are bonded together and finished with a shiny surface; the surface is basically the same as a laminate. To paint laminate furniture, skip the sanding (as this may mess with the smooth finished surface you’re looking for) and go straight to the primer. Finding a primer that promises good adhesion is important since the finish on laminate products is already shiny. Once primed, simply pick a paint colour and paint away! However, do keep in mind that selecting a paint with an eggshell or semi-gloss finish will also help to give your piece of furniture  a little shine.

Try: Zinsser Beye 123 Primer, $11.47, homedepot.ca

Beadboard

Beadboard isn’t a tricky surface to paint, it’s actually all those little grooves between the boards that pose a challenge. Beadboard can come in large sheets or in sections of two vertical boards that can be placed together. If you have the space, painting beadboard before applying it to walls can be useful, but keep in mind that you’ll have to fill, sand and repaint any holes or visible nails afterwards. To paint those little grooves while getting a smooth finish across the section of wall, use a small angled brush. Do this first then follow with a small foam roller.

Try: Dream Finish Polyester Angle Sash Oval Brush, $11.99, canadiantire.ca

Plaster and Lath

While plaster and lath is one of those home-buying red flags, many of us still live with it, particularly on ceilings. But you don’t have to rip it down and start again. If the plaster is in good shape, it can be primed with a premium, strong bonding latex primer — you absolutely must prime plaster — and then painted.

Try: Go Prime Primer, Sealer and Undercoater, $16.29, rona.ca

Concrete

Whether you want to update basement floors or your driveway, painting concrete can definitely be done, but it will take a little extra work. Concrete is porous and will absorb paint if the surface hasn’t been properly prepped. Start by cleaning the surface with a heavy-duty cleaner. Trisodium phosphate is recommended but other, more eco-friendly options are also available. For new concrete or concrete that has never been painted or sealed, use an etching compound to rough up the surface and prep it for the following steps.

Seal the concrete with a concrete sealant to prevent moisture in your walls and any potential mould and mildew that could follow. Next, prime the surface with a concrete primer and wait at least eight hours before painting. You can buy concrete stain instead of paint, this comes in both solid and semi-transparent finishes. Finally, seal the area with a sealant and enjoy!

Try: Stone Mason Premium Concrete Sealer, $24.99, canadiantire.ca

Ceramic Tiles

Yes, you can update those awful tiles in your home, but keep in mind that the more the area comes into contact with water, the shorter-lived the results will be. Start by lightly sanding the tile surfaces using 150 grit sandpaper and then cleaning thoroughly to remove dirt and mould. You’ll need to use a two-part epoxy or urethane bonding primer to prime the tiles. Follow with a semi-gloss or gloss paint and then wait a few days before sealing with urethane sealer.

Try: Zinsser Bondz Maximum Adhesion Primer, $17.98, lowes.caRust-Oleum X-I-M Urethane Modified Acrylic Primer and Sealer, $19.99, lowes.ca 

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