For a lot of my younger years I enjoyed the demolition and rough framing part of building. There is a lot to be said for cutting, hammering and breaking things, just look at the stuff on Spike TV. However, as I’ve gotten older, fatter and more frustrated, I’ve come to enjoy the finer types of jobs. You know, the ones that require less of me falling off of things, being cut/stabbed/poked, not to mention being able to finish without losing any more of my hair. And that’s why I am all about painting. It can be quite serene as long as the baby is not trying to put the dog’s tail in the pail while I have my back turned. Any-who, here are some painting tips I’ve learned over the last few years.
Macaulay Caulking –
How can the star of the best movie ever, My Girl, help your next painting endeavor? Well he really can’t, but a good caulk job prior to your first primer coat can! Making sure that any holes or cracks between drywall and trim pieces are filled in with caulk will go miles to make your project look that much better. Go ahead, try to fill those gaps in with paint and see what happens. You’ll have more sags and runs and cracks in your masterpiece than Joan Rivers pre-plastic surgery. Besides a good caulk job cleans up corners and edges when you start to cut in.
Cut yourself some slack –
I’ve helped people paint where they find their tiniest make up brush to cut the walls in. What in the world people; are you insane? Give yourself two inches at least (and guys I’m talking the real two inches) or better yet check out the Whizz Roller with the cut-in tip. That’s right a cut-in roller. The roller comes with a fabric edge so you can… cut-in. Use that once or twice and you’ll be so happy you’ll want to slap your grandma. (Please don’t slap anyone, especially your grandma). Of course you’ll need to tape off the trim first, so technically this isn’t really cutting-in. If you’re a purist and hate tape, stick to a high quality angled brush for cutting in, and avoid high doses of caffeine before painting.
How about a little pre-planning there Gen. Custer –
Instead of hitting the walls first do the trim first. You can splash a little trim paint on the walls as you go and not worry about taping it off. Think about it for a sec: you’re going to prime the walls and then put at least one top coat anyway, what’s a little paint underneath more paint? There’s a bit of controversy to doing trim first though. Doing so increases the risk that you’ll splatter paint on the trim. Depending on how meticulous you are in protecting your trim, and depending on your painting style, this may or may not be a good strategy for you.
Who wants cookies? –
This is a trick an old painter taught me to do when I was painting my baby’s first room. Prior to pouring an ounce of paint into a pail, mix-in 6 or 7 drops of vanilla and stir well. It’s truly amazing – it will cut, if not eliminate, the new paint odor. If you want to take it another step get the low VOC paints and you’ll want to start eating the walls. The vanilla covers the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) but doesn’t affect the paint consistency at all (assuming you only put in a few drops and not 50/50 mix). We still don’t recommend huffing the fumes though.
Don’t pinch pennies Scrooge –
By spending a little more at the register you’ll save an amazing amount of time in the trenches. A quality brush and roller set-up spreads the paint smoother and nicer than the 10 for $1 combo sets hands down. Paint is not created equally either. You can probably buy latex paint at the dollar store, but it will never compare to a quality paint. This is a lesson learned the hard way. Shortly after college I moved into a house with three other guys. One of the rooms was a deep blue and we decided to paint it an off-white. Being poor we bought paint from a store, let’s call them Schmal-Mart, and had to paint the walls five times. By the way, don’t skimp on primer either. And when you do use primer, ask your paint store to tint it if you’re doing a dark color. Believe me, quality equipment, primer and paint are worth every last copper penny!
If you have any killer painting tips of your own, be sure to share them in the comments below.