Paint Like a Professional: How to Get Expert Results
‘Do-it-yourself’ is the mantra of our newly cost-conscious society, and while rolling some paint on a wall is not rocket science, there are some tips and techniques that will guarantee professional results even if you’ve never held a paint brush before.
Protect Flooring & Woodwork:
Taking time to protect surfaces will make all the difference in a finished job that looks professional and on that looks haphazard. Purchase high-quality painter’s tape to protect the edges of woodwork, countertops and cabinetry.
Use drop clothes to protect flooring and larger pieces of furniture, and remove light switch and outlet covers before you start to paint. Remove smaller pieces of furniture and accessories out of the work area if possible.
Prepare the walls:
Don’t try to disguise holes and cracks by filling them paint; this will result in an even more obvious flaw in the wall. Patch holes and cracks with spackle filler and sand lightly for a seamless finish.
Primer is a non-negotiable step when painting walls that have never been painted before, when covering patched areas and when covering stain. Primer is cheaper than paint; use it when going from a darker to lighter color because you won’t have to apply as many coats of paint to get results that are true to color.
Work top to bottom:
Paint the ceiling first. Let it dry thoroughly before painting the walls, cutting in the edge between the walls and ceiling with a brush or edger, if you’re working with two different colors. If painting wood trim, do it after the walls are dry; again going from top to bottom: crown molding, then chair rails, then window and door trim and lastly, floor trim.
It’s all in the technique:
As mentioned above, cutting in is a technique used to paint the edges of a room, in corners, where ceiling meets wall or where trim meets wall. Doing this first with a good quality brush or edger will allow you to get a clean finish along the edge and then it’s easy to fill in with a roller.
Roll on with confidence:
Once all your edges have been cut in, it’s time to roll on the paint. ‘Loading the roller’ is a fancy professional expression for getting paint on the roller so that you can apply it to the wall or ceiling. First, pour the paint into a paint tray, then carefully dip the roller in the paint. Roll it on the ridges of the tray a few times to coat the roller evenly. When you apply the paint to the walls, do it slowly to avoid messy spatter.
The magic ‘V’:
To avoid creating overlap marks, always roll into freshly painted areas while they are still wet. Work on a four by four foot section of wall at a time, starting at the top of the room. Make a big ‘V’ on the wall with your roller, then fill in the center of the ‘V’ working from left to right, then horizontally over the area you just painted.
When applied properly, roller marks will not be visible once the paint has dried. Take care to touch up any drips before they dry on the wall.
Remove the tape:
Don’t wait for the paint to dry to remove the painter’s tape. Once the room is painted, carefully remove the tape from woodwork and other edges. Leaving it in place until the walls are dry will cause paint to pull off with the tape.
Congratulate yourself on a job well done!