Painting might seem simple at first glance, but the tradesmen who have mastered it have plenty of secrets for improving efficiency while getting fantastic results. The top 10 tips for everything from preparation to completion are covered here so you can finish your project more easily without sacrificing quality.
1. To maintain a consistent texture, roll paint along edges instead of brushing
If you use a brush for edges while using a roller for the rest of your project, you’ll end up with obvious texture differences between the two areas. Instead, brush the paint on first, then quickly use a 3-inch roller of equal thickness to roll the paint out before it dries. Brush, then roll one section at a time, watching to make sure you don’t bump other walls or get paint on the trim in the process.
2. Prime with tinted paint and texture patches to ensure solid color
Walls often look splotchy after being painted, especially over areas covered with filler, which absorbs paint. By priming, you can seal these areas to prevent absorption and dulling of the paint you apply. Avoid white primer and use tinted instead, rolling it out for a more vibrant result.
3. Cut painting tape before you remove it
After your paint dries, cut it before pulling it to avoid peeling paint from the wall. Use a utility knife to cut the paint in a remote spot at first, just in case. After cutting, use a 45-degree angle to pull the tape away from the wall.
4. Paint in one run and use extender to prevent lap marks
Unsightly lap marks can result from painting over areas that are slightly dry. To prevent this from happening, paint an entire wall at once, keeping a wet edge by overlapping each previous stroke before it dries. By using paint extender, you can make this easier by keeping the paint wet longer.
5. Use feathering techniques when wet edges aren’t possible
On ceilings, stairwells and high walls, single strokes may be impossible. To prevent lap marks in those areas, paint a section, then feather the paint out by applying the almost-dry roller in several directions across the side of the section. With the next area, cover these edges. On the following coat, work in the opposite direction.
6. Use only canvas drop cloths
Plastic drop cloths are slippery, and bedsheets will bleed through. With canvas drop cloths, you’ll have a stable surface that absorbs smaller spills. Unless you’re painting a ceiling, you only need smaller drop cloths along the wall you’re working on.
7. Between coats, sand the trim for the smoothest results
Single coats rarely cover trim completely, and failing to sand coats can cause graininess. For best results, use a fine-grit sanding sponge and lightly sand the trim after it has dried for at least a day. Before the next coat, vacuum the trim and wipe it off with a tack cloth.
8. Keep color consistent by mixing multiple cans
Two cans may be labeled the same, but their color can differ considerably, resulting in awful contrast if you switch cans halfway through a project. Instead, dump all the cans you need into a large bucket and mix thoroughly before you begin.
9. Thoroughly clean all walls and trim before starting
If walls are greasy when you paint them, paint won’t stick there in the long term. Before you get started, always use a degreaser to clean oily areas in the kitchen or spots that are handled often. Use a lint-free rag, then fill in cracks and sand before painting.
10. Paint trim before ceilings and walls
Taping trim is easier than taping off walls, letting you get the job done with less work. You won’t have to worry about getting paint on the walls this way. After the trim dries, tape it off and get started on the ceiling and walls.