Interior Painting Tips

I just finished painting our bedroom. We were going to pay a professional to do it, but then decided that we'd save the $400 and do it ourselves.

And you know, it wasn't too much of a chore; mainly because of these painting tips that I picked from a friend who's in the business.

1. Prepare The Room

Getting everything prepared beforehand will save you tons of time once you're painting. Move all the furniture out of the way (preferably into another room) and lay out your drop cloths to cover the floor.

Organize all your paint, brushes, rags, etc beforehand too.

2. Remove Outlet Covers and Other Fixtures

Remove all outlet covers and put them somewhere safe. Putting them into zip lock bags is a good idea so that you don't lose any screws. If you don't take off the outlet covers they will get spattered with paint, no matter how carefully you think you're working.

If you're going to be painting the ceiling, remove any light fixtures from the ceiling and your smoke alarm (you do have a smoke alarm, right?).

3. Tape Up Your Edges

Use blue tape to tape up all the edges that need to be covered - windows, base board and doors. Be very careful to run the edge of the tape accurately along the wall - the more time you spend here doing a good job, the less time you will spend fixing errors, cursing and generally pulling your hair out over 'those damn edges'.

I generally tear off 12 inch strips of tape - any longer and I start losing accuracy.

4. Paint the Ceiling First

Always paint the ceiling first. It doesn't matter if paint goes over the edge on to the walls as you'll be painting over that later. Just make sure there are no drips - if there are, brush them in.

There are plenty of articles on painting techniques elsewhere, but suffice to say, start by painting a large "W" and then cover it in so that you end up with an approximate 4'×4' square. Repeat.

If you don't have an extension pole for your roller, get one. They're very cheap and will save you a ton of time and effort. Tip: if you have a broom handle that unscrews you might find it also fits your roller.

5. Taking A Break

If you need to take a break stick your used roller or brushes into a zip lock bag and seal it up. That will keep the paint wet and save you the need to keep washing it off.

If you need to take a break overnight or until the next weekend, you can put the bags into the freezer. Simply give them an hour or so to thaw before you start painting again.

6. Tape The Edges Between the Walls and the Ceiling

Once the ceiling has dried it's time to tape along the edge where the ceiling meets the walls. Do the whole room and, again, be very careful. Time spent on this stage will be paid back in spades later with less frustrating clean up.

7. Paint The Walls

Use the roller to within about 2-3 inches of the edges. Don't try to go any closer and don't get any paint on the tape. Do the all the walls this way.

8. Paint Along the Edges

Take a 2" brush and paint your edges. Start with the ceiling and work down. The secret to creating a good edge is to remove the tape right after you've painted along that edge, while the paint is still wet.

If you leave the tape on until after you've painted all the edges, you'll find that paint will have seeped under it, messing up what you thought were your wonderfully clean edges.

So, if you're painting the edges where the walls meet the ceiling, do the following:

  1. Apply the first coat along the edge of one wall.
  2. Go back and apply the second coat - don't worry that the paint is not completely dry.
  3. Remove the tape from along that edge.

You'll typically find that you can paint the edge around a whole window before removing the paint, whereas a door should be done in two stages.

Remember, the key is to remove the tape while the paint is still wet. Also, don't forget to press down the tape before you paint if it's been a while since you applied it. It has a tendency to come unstuck (especially on wood) so it's worth making sure that the seal is still tight.

9. Fix Any Mistakes

Despite your expert taping and your superb edging technique, you'll probably still have some areas to touch up.

Goof Off is a great product for removing latex paint from enamel paint on door frames or base boards - just apply some to a rag and rub off the offending paint marks.

Make sure you keep the room well ventilated as this stuff is seriously strong!

If you've found that there was some seepage under your masking tape, use an artist's brush and some enamel paint to fix those areas. You'll need to have some paint thinner to clean your brush out after so make sure you have some handy.

Posted on: June 5, 2005 | No comments

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