Painting is one of the easiest, most affordable ways to brighten up a tired room or give the front door a facelift. As we get into the spring, many folks are looking for home projects to tackle. Whatever the motivation is behind your next painting project, you need more than just the proper paint and brushes. Specifically, you need to ensure safety is a priority. These tips can help make your next painting project safe and successful.
- Maintain ventilation. Many interior paint, stain and stripper fumes are harmful to inhale and can cause dizziness, headaches and nausea. They are also extremely flammable. Wear a paint respirator to protect yourself. Keep your painting area well-ventilated by opening doors and windows, and if the room has a fan, turn it on. Never paint near fixtures or items with an open flame (e.g., pilot lights, candles or cigarettes).
- Wear protective equipment. Skin and eye irritations can occur from fumes, solvent paints and cleaners. Use protective equipment, such as goggles and gloves, to protect yourself. A long-sleeve shirt can guard your arms against splashes, and an old hat can help prevent hair and scalp irritations.
- Be wary of lead. If your home was built before 1978, you should use a lead-testing kit to check for lead on painted surfaces. Lead is highly toxic and is especially dangerous for children and pregnant women. If you do find lead, hire a professional to strip away and safely discard the lead-based paint.
- Use a secure ladder. Prevent falls, injuries and spilled paint cans by checking the shakiness of your ladder before you begin painting. You want a secure ladder that allows you to safely reach elevated areas and has steps that are easy to climb up and down.
- Clean it up. If you are done painting or just stopping for the day, clean up your paint and supplies. Keep paint tightly sealed in a cool, secure place, away from any heat source or open flame. Any rags used with paint thinner are also potential fire hazards. Store them outside until you can properly dispose of them, and replace rags as needed.
Carefully plan your next painting project before you begin. A painting makeover can be very rewarding, especially if there are no safety problems at play.