Most people are quite capable of painting a room and could even manage the interior of an entire house if they had the time. However, not every interior painting project is perfect, and once you’ve identified those imperfections, you’re going to notice them every time you walk into a room.
That’s why we’ve compiled these top painting tips so that you can paint like a professional. If you follow our step-by-step tips, you’ll be able to paint any interior wall or surface quickly and easily.
Whether you’re using oil-based paint, water-based paint, or latex paint, following these tips will give you the results that you’re looking for with any paint project.
Our tips from the experts will also give you some insider hints on the best way to use your brushes and roller. This will help you get the best finish for any interior surface or wall in your home.
Step 1: Cover Everything with Drop Cloths
Let’s face it. Interior painting can be very messy. You might not think you’re going to make a mess and that you’ll be ever so careful not to spill any paint, but it’s going to happen. That’s why you need a drop cloth to cover absolutely everything in the room.
Remember, you’ll also be sanding. Fine dust can get into everything. Larger pieces of furniture should be moved into the center of the room, and you should cover these with a heavy-duty cloth. Better still, remove all the pieces of furniture that you can. This means there won’t be any accidents and your furniture will be safe.
The drop cloths you use should be made from canvas or something similar because paint can easily seep through lighter fabrics such as bedsheets. Heavy fabric is much better than plastic because plastic drop cloths can cause you to slip.
Step 2: Sand your Walls and Fix Cracks and Dents
It’s important to fill any cracks or dents in the walls. There are a variety of different products you can use, such as painter’s putty, spackle, and even plaster of Paris.
Once you’ve filled in all the imperfections, you want to sand these back so you get a smooth finish.
Sanding will also take any gloss off paint that’s already applied and help the new paint adhere better. This is especially important if you’re applying latex paint over alkyd paint.
If your trims are made from wood, you’ll need to ensure that you sand them well before attempting to coat them with paint.
Step 3: Clean your Walls
Any dust, hair, or other debris that’s left on the wall will stick to the paint and mess up your perfect finish. Therefore, it’s important to wash your walls and any surface well. You can use a mixture of sugar soap and water, applied with a damp cloth, to give the walls a really good clean.
Once you’ve finished washing the walls, go over them again with a dry cloth to remove any leftover dust. You can also use soft cotton gloves to wipe over the surface with your hands.
Remember, dirty walls will not give you the smooth, even result that you’re looking for.
Step 4: Use a Roll of Painter’s Tape to Mask off Each Separate Area
If you’re not good at “cutting in,” you should mask off areas adjacent to the surface you want to paint first. Most professionals recommend using a roll of painter’s tape (which is blue in color) rather than just plain masking tape, as it’s much easier to remove.
The only problem with using painter’s tape is that sometimes the paint can bleed under the edges of the tape. To prevent this from happening, use a putty knife to secure the tape firmly to the surface.
Step 5: Apply a Primer
Primer is specially formulated to provide a nice even base for the paint to stick to. This is one of the best tools you can use to get a great finish on your projects.
A primer also helps to ensure that the topcoat goes on smoothly. You can apply a primer to both the ceiling and the walls with a suitable roller. Generally, you should only need one coat of primer.
Step 6: Paint the Trim First
To paint the trim, you need a good quality paintbrush. Most professionals recommend natural bristle brushes for oil-based paints and synthetic brushes for other paints such as latex or water-based when painting the trim.
You’ll want to remove as much excess paint from the brush as you can. This gives you more control and stops the paint from getting onto other surfaces.
Step 7: Paint the Ceiling
When painting the ceiling, use a painter’s rod that attaches to your paint roller. This eliminates the need to use a ladder and makes painting so much easier. An extension rod is another one of those tools that’s worthwhile investing in for all your DIY painting projects.
Step 8: Paint the Walls
After painting the ceiling, start on the walls, working down from the top. Get as close to the trim as you can with the paint roller. This means you’ll have less brushwork to do later. Make sure that once you’ve painted an area, you let it dry. Avoid going over it again with the roller while it’s still wet because this can leave color streaks and uneven texture.
Step 9: Sand Between Coats
Once you’ve applied the first coat of paint, you want to take a step back and check for any sign of bumps or sections of uneven paint or texture.
Give these a light sand before you apply any more coats. This will give your paint job a much more even finish and texture.
Painting Tips From the Experts
Here are some expert painting tips that painters use to get that professional finish.
- Tip 1: Remove all doors, door hardware, and light fittings before you start. Label these with masking tape so that you know where they go when you want to put them back.
- Tip 2: When washing down your walls, you should use 2 buckets. Fill one bucket with cleaning solution and the other bucket with clean water only. Then, dip the sponge into the cleaning solution, wipe down your walls and scrub away any stubborn marks. Before dipping the sponge into the cleaning solution again, dip it into the clear water to make sure it’s clean.
- Tip 3: To remove the painter’s tape without lifting the paint, gently score along the edge of the tape with a utility knife. Make sure the paint is completely dry before you do this.
- Tip 4: When loading your brush with paint, dip the brush about one and a half inches into the paint. Then tap the side of the brush against the side of the paint can rather than wiping it. This will knock off any excess paint drips and force the paint into the bristles of the brush.
- Tip 5: For cutting in around baseboards, use a wide taping knife. Make sure you keep the blade of the knife super clean.
- Tip 6: Box your paint. When you’re selecting your paint color for any wall or other interior surfaces, make sure you buy enough of the same color to cover the entire area you want to paint. Then, when you get it home, tip all the 1-gallon cans into 1 large container. Mix it well. When you mix all your paint cans together, it helps to keep the color consistent with all your paintwork.
- Tip 7: If you want to eliminate lap marks, roll from the top to the bottom of the wall with your roller in one consistent stroke, maintaining a wet edge. Lap marks are the stripes you get when overlapping the paint over an area that’s already partly dry. You can create a wet edge on the wall by overlapping your roller with the previous stroke before the paint has time to dry.
- Tip 8: Instead of cleaning your roller covers and paintbrushes at the end of each day, wrap them in plastic bags overnight. This saves time and eliminates the need to use new roller covers for a two or three-day job. If you’re using latex paint, you’ll find it dries very slowly when the temperature is cold.
You can paint like a professional if you follow the steps outlined above. Our comprehensive painting techniques should make your next painting job much easier, and you might even enjoy it!
Our tips from the experts will give you some insights into how to paint a room like a professional and be proud of the work you’ve accomplished. A smooth painted finish is a good sign of a job well done.
Then, when your friends and family come to visit and compliment you on your DIY painting project, it’s a sign that you’ve completed work you can be proud of.