How To Paint A Room





The first thing to do when painting your room is to push all furniture into the middle of the room, take down all the pictures, and lean them against the furniture. Then, cover everything in the pile in the middle with plastic or drop cloths. Make sure there is a path all the way around the pile with enough space to manuever and move a ladder around.

Then, run plastic or drop cloths completely around the path right up to the molding. Don't try to drag around one piece of platic (asking for trouble!). Then, remove all light switch and plug covers, spackle all holes or use joint compound in larger holes or cracks, and wait for it to dry. Then sand it smooth.

Always paint your ceiling first if you are going to at all, because when you roll the ceiling, the roller will "spit" all over your newly painted walls and molding if you don't. Also, I recommend painting free hand between the ceiling and the top of the wall and on the wall next to the moldings because it really isn't that hard; just make sure you have a really good brush and keep a constant wet edge right to the crease between between the wall and ceiling or the wall and moldings, and go really slow. Put the wet brush on the wall and move it gently up to the crease, then let the crease guide you, always with a wet edge.







I always recommend using painter's tape on the top of the floor moldings (and almost nowhere else), because gravity makes it much harder to freehand and not make a mess, especially when you are tired on that second coat (obviously, don't take the tape off between coats!) Also, try to keep the brush relatively dry right by the tape on the moldings. If you are taping on top of the moldings and they are newly painted, go very slowly pealing off the tape (use regular tape, not that delicate stuff, it's next to useless) and pull down gently toward the floor; don't pull straight up because you will pull your new paint off.

There are a number of different approaches to painting your room depending on what you want. If you just want a fresh coat of the same color on your walls only because the molding is fine, then tape on top of the floor moldings and do it. If you are doing both the moldings and walls over with the same color, do the moldings first, then tape on top of the floor moldings and do the walls. If the moldings and walls will be different colors, do two coats on all the woodwork then two coats on the walls.

Stir your paint well and use a newspaper for under the can of paint itself in order to avoid big drips on the plastic that you will just step in. On that note, always check the bottom of your shoes before you step off the plastic! Also, dont use screw driver on the can; use the paint can tool or your paint will wear out faster in the can because of air exposure.

The key to a smooth running paint job is good preperation, coupled with constant ongoing clean up. Always have immediate access to a wet rag. It is much easier to clean up paint when it is wet then when it is dry. You can clean paint off anything without a trace (carpet, floors, doorknobs, etc.) if you catch it while it is wet.

I like a 3/4" nap roller on regular walls; 3/8" and 1/2" seem to take more work to roll. Use an even taller nap for very texured surfaces. Avoid thin, cheap paint, I won't name names, but you know who you are! Even with thick paint, in my experience, rooms always need two coats. Paint with primer, blah blah blah, everything needs two coats, unless you are painting over with the same paint or maybe (not guaranteed) if you are matching the color with a patch cut from the drywall.





To match paint from a patch from the wall you score the drywall with a utility knife in an out-of-sight place like by the bottom of a door. Just peel off the top paper of the sheetrock, which after being matched by your neighborhood paint store you will just glue back on with Elmer's glue and patch over with joint compound (don't forget to prime raw joint compound.)





So, when you paint, you "cut then roll", so to speak. Start on one wall and cut around all the edges with the brush. Again, freehand the top, and I like to paint two brush lengths on the wall right under the ceiling so the roller can't touch the ceiling when you roll out the wall. Still, try to roll as close to the ceiling as possible though. When rolling, leave no thick lines; the roller has a tendency to squeeze excess paint off of its edge, so you want to roll those lines out completely flat. Also, try to start a new can of paint at corner of the room rather then right in the middle of a wall.

One neat trick that can save you a lot of time is as follows. If you are going to paint the woodwork the same color as the walls but in semi-gloss (walls are usually flat unless you are painting a bathroom or a kitchen), you can paint the woodwork with flat paint at the same time as the walls and then do the second coat of the woodwork with semi-gloss, then do the second flat coat on the walls. Otherwise, if your woodwork and walls are two different colors, it's best to do two coats on the woodwork and then do the two coats of the walls (so you don't have to be so careful next to walls when painting the woodwork because it is much easier to cut from the wall to the woodwork then the other way around.)

One of the only other times I like to use tape is around door hardware like that pictured. Even if you peel it off (when dry) and its a little messy around the edges, the hardware can be cleaned up easily with a fingernail.



paint door hardware



paint by carpet



While painting down this staircase around the carpet pictured above, I just taped two layers of tape next to each other right on the carpet and pushed down hard right by the edge by the wall. when you take the tape off when the paint is dry the carpet springs back against the wall. The same can be done around a room by the moldings if you have carpeting.



paint moldings



I also taped the hardwood moldings next to the painted moldings in the picture above, because it was a hardwood floor situation, and again because of gravity it is very hard to freehand on the tops of moldings. Wait until your entire paint job is dry to pull up all your prep and put the room back in order. It's as much about letting the paint on the plastic dry as letting the walls dry to avoid a mess during clean up. It is a really good feeling when you've pulled up all your prep and screwed all the light switch and plug covers back on!









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