If you’re a homeowner, you’ve probably tackled some DIY tasks on your property. Things like replacing blinds, adding new fixtures, or painting. You may have found these jobs quite easy, or you may have found the need to call in an expert. Either way, you needed to do your research to make a responsible decision. It may seem simple, but dealing with paint and stain products requires a bit of finesse. There are a few things to know that will help you avoid pitfalls and frustrations in the future.

1. Know the basics about paint and stains – This is a great question. Learn how to prep your walls or floors and what products to use, especially if you’re planning an outdoor space project. Exterior paint on your deck or porch is an extension of your home’s interior and should be treated with the same care. Also keep the prevailing temperatures in mind when planning to use paint and stain, as they can affect the outcome of all that hard work.

2. Know how to do small repairs: This means how to remove, replace, and repair rotten wood. Proper application of interior paint may mean replacing or repairing small sections of drywall. Just painting or staining over the blemishes will not hide the mistakes but will highlight them.

3. Know your tools: paintbrushes, sandpaper, putty, masking tape, wire brushes, rollers, etc. Know what you need before you start your job so you don’t have to stop and slow things down to get what you need or find a way around it. Make sure you understand what type of paint is right for your project. For example, to restore a wooden door, you may need to use a heat gun to remove the old latex paint, then use a paint stain to restore it. Your local hardware store should be able to supply you with everything you need to finish your project off right.

4. Learn some new techniques: Stain blocking is all about painting or staining over water spots or other stains that can’t be easily washed off. Just painting or staining them will cover them up for now, but they will bleed out eventually. Knowing how to deal with this will help you make the best use of your paint and stain.

5. Know how to cover hard-to-cover color – This is done with additional coats of paint or with different products.

The takeaway here is that even products like paint and stain aren’t as straightforward as most people think. Knowing your products and options, as well as knowing the job you’re working on, will help you create a space, indoors or out, that you can be proud of.