We’ve written a couple of articles that touched on the importance of a well-painted room, but didn’t really delve into the topic too deeply. In this article, we’ll explain why it’s important and tell you how to professionally paint a room.
So why is paint such a valuable resource? Firstly, it’s cheap — you can paint an entire 10-by-10-foot room for only around $150. Secondly, it’s relatively fast — if you have two 5-hour days available (and most Monday-through-Friday workers do), you can do the whole space in that time. Thirdly, it’s powerful — you can make a room look smaller, larger, fancier, or more neutral with just a new coat of paint, which can even help sell your home if it’s on the market.
Follow the steps below and you’ll be painting like a professional in no time!
1. Gather Your Tools. Among the many things you’ll need are a canvas tarp, a caulk gun, a roll of painter’s tape, a screwdriver, a pole sander fitted with 120-grit paper, a scraper, a coarse-grit sanding sponge, a fine-grit sponge, a wet/dry vacuum, a bottle of dish soap, a putty knife, a pack of 120-grit sandpaper, a 2½-inch angled brush, a couple of rollers, a couple of roller trays, a bottle of paint thinner (if you’re painting with oil-based paint), a wide straight-angled brush, a small angled sash brush that’s 1- to 2-inches in size, a dust mask, a bucket, a soft sponge, a putty knife, patching or joint compound, a can of primer, and (obviously) your paint.
2. Do the Ceiling First. If you’re painting the ceiling, be sure to prime and paint the ceiling before tackling the walls.
3. Cover Floors and Hardware. Take down any decorations on the walls, move furniture to the middle of the room (or out entirely), and cover the floor and furniture with the tarp, taping down the edges with painter’s tape. Use the screwdriver to remove the switch plates and electrical outlet covers, then use more of the tape to cover the outlets/holes. The tape should also be used to tape around other unmovable hardware.
4. Sand the Walls. Put on your dust mask and sand the walls, using the pole sander in a back-and-forth motion, with medium pressure, from the top of the wall down. (You’ll probably use more than one sheet of sandpaper for this.) Any bumps or drips on the molding should be removed with the scraper. Rough the surface up with a damp coarse-grit sanding sponge, washing it in a bucket of warm water from time to time, then use a damp fine-grit sponge to finish up. Suck up all the dust from the walls and trim with the wet/dry vacuum. Put clean, warm water and dish soap in your bucket, clean the walls with the soft sponge, and then give everything a final rubdown with another batch of clean water.
5. Fill Any Holes or Gaps. Where the wall meets the molding may have a gap. Fill it with caulk. (For a crisp edge, you can push the caulk down into the gap with a wet finger and even pressure.) If any holes or small divots are present in the wall, fill them with either patching compound (for plaster) or joint compound (for drywall), applied via a putty knife. Sand then prime any fixed areas, then sand them again and clean them off with a damp sponge.
6. Cut In the Edges. Time to whip out the 2½-inch angled brush! Load it with paint a third of the way up, tap off any excess, then use it to apply a 2- to 3-inch border at every corner, against the ceiling, and next to any molding if present. To do this, apply a paint line an inch away from the edge, then put the brush onto its bristles and press down until the longest bristles taper to a point; you can then use this point to paint up to the edge. Smooth out all heavy areas and/or drips. (Note: Once you’ve done step 6 on one wall segment, move on to step 7, finish that whole wall, then return to step 6 for the next segment. Continue this process until every wall is done.)
7. Roll the Walls. Get your roller damp with either water (if using latex paint) or paint thinner (if using oil paint). Pour enough paint in a roller tray so that it reaches the grate. Dunk the roller in the paint, then roll it against the grate to remove excess paint until the entire roller is thoroughly covered. Use the roller to make a W or M on the wall, then go back and do between the lines using overlapping vertical strokes. Do this until the entire wall is painted, making sure to slightly cover the areas where you cut in with the brush so no brush marks are visible. To do a second coat of paint, wait until the wall is dry, then do steps 6 and 7 over again.
8. Paint the Trim. Utilize your wide, straight-edged brush for broad moldings; use a small brush if they happen to be small. Now take your small, angled sash brush and apply paint along the edge in the same manner you did back in step 6. It’s okay if a hairline of paint gets on the wall — that will visually correct any imperfections present in the trim.
Stephanie Huskey is the resident real estate blogger for Movoto and recommends you check out the rest of the blog for more home owner tips. Interested in getting her advice on your blog? She’s currently seeking guest blogging opportunities so she can share her knowledge with new communities! You can find her over here at Elance.com.