9 Pro Tips for a Top-Notch DIY Paint Job

When painting a room, the time, effort, and money you spend on the materials can make a big difference. Josh Max, a professional painter with 10 years of experience, detailed the “right” way to paint in a recent article in The New York Times.

Gather the right supplies. Take the measurements of your wall and ceiling to a hardware store that can help you pinpoint exactly what type of paint and supplies you’ll need. Max recommends a two-and-a-half-inch angled paint brush, two nine-inch medium nap roller covers, and one sturdy nine-inch roller handle.

Consider the type of paint. Max recommends water-based latex flat paint for ceilings, flat or eggshell finish for walls, and eggshell or semi-gloss for windowsills and doors.

Cover unpainted surfaces with tape. Roll nonstick painter’s blue tape along floorboards, windowsills, doorknobs, hinges, and any other unpainted surfaces. Max warns against using regular masking tape because it can be difficult to peel off afterwards.

Repair wall cracks. Use a spackling compound and sandpaper to repair any unevenness in walls. Do a few light coats of spackling, instead of just one thick one, Max advises. Apply a coat of quick-drying latex primer over it.

Sweep and mop floors. Dust bunnies can stick to a freshly painted wall or fall into a can of paint. Make sure to clean the room before you paint.

Pour the right amount of paint. Shake your gallon of paint, then pour it into your quart container until it’s about three-quarters full. Don’t overfill or underfill. Dip your brush in the paint about an inch, careful not to oversaturate it.

Strategize your brush technique. Start by using the brush to “cut” in where the ceiling meets the wall all around the room, Max suggests. Do the brushwork before you start rolling because it will take longer. Wherever detail is required on the walls, be sure to use a brush and not a roller.

Don’t roll paint on walls vertically. Pour about half a gallon of paint into a linted paint tray and then dip your roller into it. Roll your roller back and forth until it’s covered in equal amounts. Then, roll the paint on smoothly in long, even strokes. Start near the ceiling and work down and diagonally, instead of straight. Max says this will help to avoid vertical lines appearing at the end. Also, resist the urge to apply pressure.

Keep paint wet during breaks. If you take a break from your work for more than a few minutes, wrap your brushes in aluminum foil and cover the paint pan with plastic. Otherwise, you’ll find some dried paint in your pan.

Source: “The Right Way to Paint Your Apartment, According to a Pro,” The New York Times (Nov. 24, 2017)