Ideas, tricks and techniques for interior painting. Add tips of your own!
Buy a quart first instead of a large quantity in case you’re not committed to the color. Paint a piece of foam board and move it around the room to see how the light affects the color at different times of the day.
Know the square footage of the room you are painting before you head to the store. The pros recommend one gallon for every 400 square feet. Covering textured, rough or unprimed surfaces may require more.
Pick a room. If possible, start from the top of the house and work down. This lessens the tool traffic moving in and out of freshly painted areas. Keep your workspace clean. Remove as much furniture as possible, and neatly stack the rest of the furniture in the centre of the room. Cover it with a drop cloth - plastic, canvas or paper, doesn't matter. Paint splatters, no matter how careful you are. Cover up what you care about.
Clean. If the walls are dirty or have grease marks, clean them with a TSP solution, then rinse and dry (or let dry).
Patch. Go around the room and patch any existing holes or damage, areas where the drywall paper has peeled etc. You can use fast-dry patching compound, or if you're more experience - actual drywall compound. Patching compound is very hard and sands almost too smoothly. It's also a bit harder to clean up. However, I'm anal when it comes to this - for 90% of DIYers, patching compound will be just fine. Buy the pink stuff that dries white. Don't lay it on too thick. Use a good putty knife and scrape off the excess. For larger damage areas, expect to go back to do a second layer. Feather it out from around the damaged area to blend it into the wall surface. If you have big holes or require more extensive drywall repairs let me know. There's more detailed tips I can provide. When the patches are dry, go back and gently sand them with 120.
Clean. Vacuum up your mess (use a shop vac if possible, patching compound dust ruins stuff). Run a dry brush along the casing or any flat surfaces where dust has collected to brush it off. Suck it up.
Taping and tarping. Unless you're an experienced hand with a brush, use painters tape to mask off areas you don't want to paint, like door casings, mouldings, etc. Frog Tape works best but is expensive. At the very least, buy green painter's tape. Don't use white masking tape. Be sure to press the seal tight against the wall edge by running your finger down the lengths of tape. Remove the wall plates from all light switches, cable outlets, duplex outlets, etc., and put a piece of tape over each one. Be sure to keep kids away from the exposed electrical boxes. Tarp the floor if you value it. Paint splatter on finished hardwood or other flooring can be scraped off, but it's a pain. Paint and carpet don't mix. You can buy tacky-backed paper drop sheets for this that don't slide around on the floor. You can move your sheet as you go, but at the very least, tarp the floor up to the floor moulding under the wall you are currently working on. Now, open a window and get ready to start painting!
Priming. You need to know if what you are painting over is oil or latex, as that will determine what primer you will use. There's two ways of doing this. One: peel a paint chip off the wall and burn it. If the smoke is grey, it's latex. If it's black, it's oil. Two: rub a rag with rubbing alcohol against the wall. If you see white streaks, or paint comes off, it's latex. If nothing happens, it's oil. If you have latex on the wall, you may not need to prime at all, so long as the paint is not glossy. If it is glossy, prime it, or get a 2-in-1 paint that includes a primer. If it's oil, you need a super-adhesive primer that will stick to the oil paint, and allow you to cover it with latex. Killz is one brand, there are many. They're usually labelled as stain-blockers. They're more expensive, but required. This is also the product to use to cover any existing stains on the wall (Note: these special primers are not water-based and will require solvent clean-up). Once you've determined the primer you need to use, start by brushing primer onto all the patched areas you first tended to. Prime them first - they are porous and need the sealing benefit of this first quick coat.
Colour. For dark colours you may require two coats of primer. Primer is less expensive than paint, and is the best thing to help cover dark. Insufficient primer coverage over a dark colour may affect your final chosen colour, especially if you are going several shades lighter. Another alternative is to have your primer tinted to a slightly lighter shade of your final colour. If you are going over the dark with another dark colour, this will often require a tinted primer. The paint store will tell you if that's required.
If you are taping then use the Blue Masking tape by 3M. If you use their green tape it will peel off certain finishes or leave tape residue.
If you are going through the trouble of taping then you should probably caulk all of your tape lines. You do this by leaving a small reveal (less than 1mm or so). If your base-trim/jams are wavy then try to apply a straight, yet skinny reveal line. After your set one tape line you need to caulk it. Don't use too much caulk, you should only use enough to have a seal between the wall and the trim boards; you should be able to see through the caulk on the trim reveal. **Use a caulk color that is similar to the paint, if there isn't one; then use white. Never use clear caulk on trim, it doesn't pull very well.
After you taped and caulked the whole room, you should cut in one wall at a time. When you tape and caulk, cutting is MUCH faster. After your cut line is done, quickly roll the wall. If you are using more than one color, start with the lighter color and paint that color on both sides of the corner. This will allow you to cut a smoother, better looking cut line with the accent wall color.
When you are pulling the tape, pull it at a 90 degree angle in congruence to the trim. It will act as a cutting mechanism so that your caulk line is unnoticeable.
Caulking is the only hard part of this whole ordeal. Don't leave any caulk on the walls, carry around a wet rag and wipe off any excess. The less you use the better. If you are already taping then caulking is only a little bit more work and after you're done you'll be so much more satisfied with the results.
Be aware when painting a bathroom that moisture is the enemy. Allow the room to dry out for 24 hours after the last tub or shower, and allow the new paint to dry another 24 hours before the next use of the tub / shower.
Primer is only needed on your painted in the following circumstances: a) you are moving from a very dark colour to a light colour; b) if the painted wall has staining that will bleed though to the new paint layer (if so just prime over the stained areas with a stain-blocking primer); c) if the painted wall is a semi-gloss or full gloss paint (semi-gloss is common in bathrooms); d) the existing paint is oil-based, and you are covering it with water-based (in which case you need to use a "super adhesive" primer, often the same product as a stain-blocking primer)
Don't cover the floors with plastic as it can be very slippery. Use drop cloths or old sheets to protect them from splatters and drips.
The color mixer at the paint store can create slight variations from can to can. The last thing you want is to have two shades of a color on the same wall. This can be remedied by mixing all of the paint cans together before you start painting to ensure you will have consistent color throughout the room.
Removing outlet covers makes for a much neater paint job. Tape the screws to the cover, and tape over the outlet or light switch to keep paint from getting on them.
When painting a textured ceiling, be sure to use a thick-nap roller to ensure that you get full coverage over the bumps and irregularities in the textured surface. For a smooth drywall ceiling, you can use a roller with a smooth or shorter nap.
If you take a break while painting, cover rollers in plastic wrap and refrigerate so that you don’t have to clean them every time you stop.
Consider skipping the paint trays and using a five-gallon bucket with a roller screen inside. This saves time on filling and re-filling the bucket.
Use a nylon-bristle brush for water-based paint and natural bristles for oil-based paint. Do not use natural bristles with water–based paint, the water can make the bristles limp. Foam brushes are good for intricate work such as painting molding or window casings. These brushes usually last for only one use because they're hard to clean and easy to tear.
Primer is essential in any good-quality paint job. It seals the surface of your walls and provides a great base for the paint to grab. If you've spackled your walls, priming is a must to prevent flashing. Unprimed spackle holds gloss better than drywall, causing a "shiny" spot on your wall.
Rollers can put more than paint on the wall. Use simple masking tape to remove any extra fibers before you paint. If you don't, those fibers will become a permanent fixture on your wall.
Avoid overextending yourself. Extension poles are a great way to cut time and effort out of a paint job. They will prevent you from climbing up and down a ladder and give you more leverage when you're painting a wall that's right in front of you. The benefit of an extension pole far outweighs the price.