As a builder who’s had the privilege to construct 1,000’s of custom homes and commercial properties across the U.S., I’ve run across some pretty weird stuff. From know-it-all subcontractors to wannabe carpenters, I’ve got a million construction stories that might make you laugh, cry or wince in pain. But out of all the horror stories and troubled times that I’ve run into, nothing takes the cake more than a homeowner who thinks they are an expert painter. While painting might seem like an easy job that any numb-nuts off of the street can perform, it’s not as simple as it seems. Read on for ten interior painting tips to help make your next paint job a success.
Master painters are masters for a reason – they’ve had plenty of experience making mistakes. I always try to talk homeowners out of large painting projects simply because after all of the hard work I put into a job, I hate to see it ruined with an inferior paint job.
Whether you’re a master painter or a master debater (I thank you), don’t make the following ten painting mistakes and your paint project is sure to go off without a hitch (maybe).
Let the Painting Tips Begin – Clean Up First
When you’re repainting a room where multiple hands often touch the walls, you’ll need to use a pre-painting degreaser. Just like an old car, you don’t want paint over the old rusty spots or the paint won’t stick. The same is true with a greasy wall, whether it’s in a kitchen or a living room.
Canvas not Plastic
Drop cloths are essential to keeping drips and paint spills from staining flooring materials for good. While plastic drop cloths work alright for covering walls, windows and doors; they work horribly for floors. They are slippery, easily torn and don’t absorb paint like a canvas drop cloth does. Because wet paint dribbles don’t absorb into plastic, they can easily transfer to your shoes and get tracked all over the house. Tape down some rolls of rosin paper over wood, vinyl and tile floors to prevent canvas drop cloths from being too slippery. The extra layer also helps prevent any little spills from soaking through to the flooring.
Sand that Trim
When wood trim is painted with multiple coats; it exhibits a grainy texture that looks like crap. Be sure to use a sanding sponge to sand wood trim between coats to keep a smooth finish. Wipe away any excess dust before painting successive coats.
Cut the Tape
Blue painters tape is used to cover trim and other materials from over-painting. But after they’ve been applied, I don’t know how many times I’ve seen this mistake: peeling off the tape without cutting it. Use a razor knife to lightly score the edge of the tape to separate it from the paint or else you’ll peel off your new paint with the tape.
Flashing is when light reflects against a freshly painted surface to create a shimmering “flashing” effect. This happens because of two reasons: one, a drywall patch wasn’t textured to match the rest of the wall. Two: because a quality primer wasn’t used first over freshly applied or textured drywall.
No, don’t punch your paint. Boxing is when you mix the same colored paint together in a five gallon bucket. This ensures that the slight color variations that occur between multiple paint cans doesn’t end up halfway on your wall or ceiling. Boxing also allows you to easily paint without the need for a messy roller tray. Just drop in a roller screen and dunk your roller into the bucket for a mess free paint project.
You can’t get close to trim, base or windows without cutting in. Painters tape is a must when you’re cutting in close to these areas, but that’s not the only thing you need to be for an awesome paint job. Many people use an angled trim brush to cut close to these hard to paint areas, and that’s ok. But the problem is that this leaves brush strokes and lines behind. Once you’ve cut in with a brush, follow up with a small 3” roller. Use a roller cover with the same nap as the walls and remove any lap lines for a smooth finish every time.
Roll the Full Height
I’ve heard some painting advice that tells you to paint in a “W” pattern on a wall. I disagree. Paint the full height from top to bottom. Keep plenty of paint on the roller (no less than half loaded) and face the open part of the roller towards the recently painted section. This will create less pressure on the roller and cover any lap marks with fresh wet paint.
Feather the Edges
When you’re painting ceilings or extra tall walls; feather the edge of the paint. Because you can’t keep a continuous wet edge on large areas, you’re going to get a bunch of lap marks if you don’t feather the edges with a mostly dry roller. Once you’ve completed a section the entire length (or width) of the area, reload the roller and paint over the feathered edge. Go in the opposite direction with your second coat and you’ll be sure to have a lap line free finish.
Follow the Order
There’s a particular order to painting any home’s interior. First paint the base and trim. After that the ceiling should be painted next. Once the trim is dry (after 24 hours), you can tape it off with easy release painters tape. Finish the job by painting the walls last.
Have any painting tips of your own? Share them in the comments below!