Here are some tips to make your painting projects go smoother and faster while giving you a professional-looking finish that you’ll be proud of. You’ll also find ingenious tips that can cut your cleanup time in half and extend the life of your paint brushes. For a professional-looking paint job, do what the experts do.
There’s no absolute formula for picking the best paint for your home. Most paint manufacturers offer a wide variety of paints ranging from good to better to best. As a general rule, budget how much you want to spend on the project and then buy the best paint you can reasonably afford, because cost is an excellent indication of quality. Expensive paints contain more pigments than bargain paints, so they produce a thicker, longer-lasting, more protective coating.
Few homeowners bother reading the tiny print on the paint can label, but they should. There’s a wealth of information printed right on the can that can help you produce a beautiful paint job. Pay particular attention to the instructions about prepping the surface and air temperature.
Buy high-quality brushes, roller covers, and painter’s tape.
If you’re splurging on great paint, you definitely don’t want to pinch pennies on the application. Good brushes and roller covers give excellent coverage so that you don’t waste time and paint on re-application, and high-end painter’s tape is the real deal when it comes to sealing out drips and blurs.
Wait for dry weather.
Humidity means drips and slow drying, so avoid painting on a rainy day. If you must paint when it’s humid, take your time – and take advantage of slow-drying paint to correct your errors before moving on to the next coat. But don’t overwork, or it will show when you’re finished.
Do a thorough visual inspection and prep.
Any cracked, flaking, or peeling areas need to be lightly sanded or scraped (and then thoroughly rinsed) before applying new primer and paint, because the weight of the new coat will pull the old paint loose. You’ll just end up wasting your time and money if you don’t tackle that first. Greasy spots may also need a bit of washing with soap, followed by a rinse with clean water. Otherwise, give the walls a quick wipe-down with a damp cloth so that paint will have a clean, dust-free surface to stick to.
Use cotton drop cloths rather than plastic
You will never regret the time you spend covering floors, furniture, and hardware before you begin a paint project. Spills and spatters happen, regardless of how careful you are. It’s a lot easier to pre- pare for them than to wipe them out of your carpeting or off your wood floor later. All it takes is canvas drop cloths in your work area. The thick canvas stays in place, so you don’t need to tape it, and you can use it to cover any surface. Plastic drop cloths are slippery to walk on or set a ladder on and don’t stay in place. Even worse, paint spills on plastic stay wet, and they can end up on your shoes and get tracked through the house. Canvas is slippery on hard ﬂoors, so rosin paper is better over vinyl, tile and hard- wood. Tape the sheets together and to the ﬂoor to provide a nonslip surface.
Paint-and-primer combinations are fine if you already have a clean, smooth surface, but if there are any issues with the wall or it’s been more than eight years since you last painted, bite the bullet and go with a separate primer.
Paint color may vary slightly from one can to the next. If you have to open a new can in the middle of a wall, the difference may be noticeable. Mixing the paints together eliminates the problem. It’s best to estimate the amount of paint you’ll need and mix it in a 5-gallon bucket (a process called “boxing”).
Paint from top to bottom.
After you’ve cut in your edges at the ceiling and baseboard using a brush, use your roller to apply paint from the ceiling downward. Amateurs often have telltale drips and spatters at the end of a paint job, but pros paint right over their mistakes as they work their way down the wall. To avoid lap marks, always try to brush from one wet surface onto another wet surface. When that’s not possible and you must paint onto a previously painted and dried surface, overlap onto the dried-paint surface by several inches.