Better painting techniques produce better results


Painting is considered an entry-level DIY project, but there’s a lot more to it than just picking a color and banging on the wall. It’s time to paint like a pro.

Although it may seem superficial, a new coat of paint has transformative powers.

Inside the home, light colors make a room appear larger, light colors make a room energized and inviting, and pastel tones are calming. Years of stains, dents and general wear and tear are completely gone with a brush or roller.

Outside, a new color represents a chance to adapt the exterior of your home to your current taste and style. It increases your desirability (i.e. the value of your home) while protecting it from the elements. You can even save money because new paint will seal and insulate better than older paint. Lighter colors reflect the sun’s rays, while darker colors can heat up a home, allowing you to further optimize energy savings.

A fresh coat of paint can change the look and feel of your home. (Ume Illustration/Shutterstock)

Pristine surface

While prep isn’t the funnest part of the job and there’s a temptation to skip this step – especially when the existing walls look “perfectly fine” and you’re just doing a color change – proper surface preparation is crucial. In many cases, professional painters spend as much time – or sometimes more – on preparation as they do on the actual painting.

It all starts with a smooth surface. Remove nails and hooks – even those on your outside that you plan to reuse for next year’s Christmas lights. Scrape away any chipped or peeling paint with a paint scraper. Apply putty to holes and cracks with a spatula to smooth uneven surfaces. When the putty has dried well, sand it smooth.

In most cases, for interior walls, it is sufficient to wipe the walls with warm water and a sponge afterwards. To remove stubborn interior and exterior dirt, use a trisodium phosphate cleaning solution, commonly known as TSP. Use as directed and wear proper safety equipment (gloves and goggles).

Outside the home, a more expensive but very efficient option is to rent a pressure washer to spray away dirt, grime, mold and peeling paint. Read all instructions before use and be careful not to damage the fairing. Afterward, examine the treated area for any spots you may have missed.

Worker Hand In Yellow Gloves Holding Putty Knife Patch A
Apply putty as needed to ensure you start with a smooth finish. (Jantsarik/Shutterstock)

primer and paint

Don’t skimp on your coatings. Quality paints and primers apply smoother and offer better coverage than the cheaper options. After all that time you’ve just spent preparing, you don’t want to have to paint again sooner than necessary.

Self-priming paints work well on existing walls without stains or stains. A separate primer or sealer is required if you are working with new drywall or surface coated walls (otherwise they will absorb a lot of paint), or older walls with stains that could seep through, or if you are painting a light color over a darker color.

Flat surfaces work best for walls because they hide any imperfections or imperfections that you couldn’t fix or didn’t notice until the second coat. Satin finishes are preferred for interior trim and exterior coatings because they are more durable and easier to wash.

Did you know that paint dries best when the temperature is between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit? Turn down the thermostat.

Close-up Of A Yellow Sponge, Cleaning Antifungal Agent Fight Mildew
Wipe down your walls with warm water and a sponge before you start painting. (Yaraslau Micheyeu/Shutterstock)

rock and roll

Tom Sawyer might have been able to use his ingenuity to get the neighborhood kids to whitewash Aunt Polly’s fence for him, but the closest we can get to “helping” for the rest of us is when we pick the right roller .

Latex paint, the most commonly used due to its ease of cleaning, requires a synthetic or polyester roller cover. Natural fibers (lambswool or mohair) work best with oil-based paints, while foam rollers do the trick to achieve a nice finish with high-gloss paint.

For doors, trim, and cabinets, use a 3/16 inch to 1/4 inch nap (the soft surface material); For walls and ceilings, use a 3/8 inch to 1/2 inch nap; and if you’re painting rough-textured concrete or stucco, you might want to go even thicker.

Paint rollers also come in a variety of widths, with nine inches being the most common, shorter widths for tight areas, and wider rollers used for extended coverage.

Paint cans during home renovation process of choosing paint for
Don’t skimp on your primer and paints. (Anna Mente/Shutterstock)

The fun stuff

The secret to faster painting is to cover everything in the room or on outdoor patios and plants with drop cloths, remove fixtures (like electrical outlets, sconces, etc.) and start painting the edges and corners (“cutting in”) first, using a brush angled bristles. The angled design ensures a smooth, straight line along the bar and other objects. For the first coat, hold the brush 1/8 inch from the edge; You can get closer to the second layer. An alternative is to tape the edges with painter’s tape, often referred to as “blue tape”. It can get expensive for a large area, but it’s still a lot cheaper than hiring a professional.

Once the edges are done, break out the roll and color the lines. Work in 5-10 foot sections, roll in a W or N shape for a streak-free finish, taking care to avoid areas that have already started to dry and enjoy the metamorphosis.

Senior Man Painting A Wall In His Home Smiling Enjoying
Choosing the right roller is crucial. (Light Poet/Shutterstock)

Pantry helper

Your next painting project can be made a lot more enjoyable by adding some items you already have in your kitchen.


Neutralize paint’s noxious odor by adding one tablespoon of vanilla extract to one gallon of paint. It won’t affect the color of the paint, but it will make the whole project a lot more enjoyable. You can also use essential oils to tame the smell of paint.

vegetable oil

Do you have more paint on your hands than on the walls? Take a bottle of cooking spray or vegetable oil and apply it liberally to your hands. If you rub your hands together, the paint should come off immediately. It works on latex and oil paints.

aluminum foil

Cleaning up is one of the least fun parts of painting, especially if you’re using oil-based paint. Before the next filling, place a sheet of aluminum foil over the roll-up tray. When finished, remove and discard the foil.


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