Clean-up and Safety in House Painting
Cleaning up after yourself is important. Take care when removing masking that you do not also remove paint that should be left behind. If necessary, use a utility knife to lightly score the area next to the tape. If windows were not masked, extra paint can be removed with a window scraper.
Left-over paint remaining in the can should be properly sealed and stored in a place where temperature extremes will not degrade the paint or its container. If you do not plan on saving the extra paint, do not throw it away, either dispose of properly or simply apply another coat to an area.
Brushes may be cleaned using the appropriate fluid, paint thinner for oil-based paints, and water for water-based. It is probably best not to clean roller covers, but simply throw them away and buy a new one for the next job. Foam brushes are also not worth cleaning. Most of them are made to be disposable. If you are only stopping for a short time (even a few weeks) you can wrap brushes and rollers that still have paint on them in plastic and put them in the freezer. Take them out about 15 minutes before your next application of the same paint to let them thaw out. They will be preserved in the same condition as when you froze them.
Clean roller trays, rollers and other tools and dry them thoroughly before storage, some tools will rust if left moist. Fold drop cloths neatly and put away for future use.
Safety when painting, as in any other home improvement job, is of prime importance. When using ladders and reaching for high places, never step higher than the second rung from the top of the ladder. The appropriate safety gear should be worn, especially when using paints with toxic fumes. Be sure also, to ventilate rooms being painted. At times, you may even wish to vacate an abode for a few days to allow fumes to dissipate.
Most paints will not hurt you if they get on your skin and will either wash or wear off. However, some may be caustic, be sure to read label before applying.
Scaffolding can be a very useful way to reach high places, but always be sure to properly secure it and use all structures in conformity to manufacturer instructions. Be sure to remain hydrated by drinking water during the job and eating properly as the job progresses. Give yourself a break every two hours or so to maintain your equilibrium, energy and attitude.
Finally, when all is said and done, step back and survey your work and allow yourself to be flooded with that pleasant sensation that comes from accomplishing a job well done.
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