Painting Tips For the Do-It-Yourselfer

One thing I have noticed here in Indianapolis when doing painting estimates is that many interiors were not previously painted by professional painters. Wall paint on ceilings and trim,  thin coverage of paint, paint on the carpet or floor,  and  crooked lines are all giveaways.  If you are going to tackle your painting project yourself, here are a few tips to give you better results.

If your house was built before 1978…

Chances are very good that it has lead paint.  One of the EPA’s most important guidelines is to keep sanding to a minimum and contain dust.  The dust that results contains lead and is hazardous to your health. Although I was trained in working in a lead environment as part of my California Contractors Licensing, the rules have changed. Effective April 22nd 2010, all home renovators and remodelers working in pre-1978 buildings, must be certified through the EPA. I am scheduled to take my certification class on May 7th and have scheduled all my projects in pre-1978 built homes after certification. I will be covering the EPA rule for renovation, repair & painting in detail after my training and certification.

Prep work is key…

  1. Before you do any painting,  repair cracks in the drywall, caulk trim where needed, and fill nail holes
  2. Invest in premium paint, a professional grade brush and a 3/8″ nap roller cover for best results

Now you are ready to begin…

Paint the ceiling first.  Paint the area where the wall meets the ceiling with a brush and then roll the the rest.  If ceiling is textured and has never been painted  you will need to prime first.

After the ceiling is painted,  paint the trim.  This is the doors,  jambs,  any wood around windows baseboards and any other painted wood in the room.  If the room is carpeted,  use the tan masking tape along edge of baseboards  to keep them free of paint.  Tan tape is less expensive than the blue tape (about half the cost).  It is not necessary to paint a perfectly straight line where the walls and trim meet.   That comes later.

Now you are ready to paint the walls. This is where you’ll want to spend the money for the blue tape because it will not pull off the paint you will be putting on the walls and trim. Everywhere the walls and trim meet,  use the blue tape to insure a straight clean line. Once the taping is done,  you are ready to “cut in” the room.  That is painter speak for painting along all the edges with a brush before you start rolling on the paint.  With the blue tape in place the cut in will go quickly.  The only place you need to freehand is at the wall ceiling intersection.  Don’t be scared, this is really pretty easy. There is almost always a groove from the dry wallers along the top that the brush will follow for a straight line.  If it is a plastered room,  then you will have  to freehand it.  And that is it. Usually one coat on the trim and two coats of paint on the walls for a repaint is enough to give you a great,  long lasting job.

One final note – wear clothes you don’t mind getting paint splattered on. Those commercials and programs you might have seen on the various home improvement shows are not realistic. No matter how careful and neat you are, you will get paint on your clothes! Good luck and have fun!

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