Clean Painting Techniques


Mess-free painting? That there is constant chaos is ridiculous. Some people seem to despise the image, but most enjoy it. Get estimates from many reliable companies if you plan to have some walls painted. Please don’t hire “Jim’s friend” who paints on the side. In most cases, you’ll get just what you paid for.

While painting isn’t rocket science, it requires some preparation and precision. A novice? You don’t have to be a professional painter to make something look good. In this article, I’ll do my best to outline the essential steps and materials for painting a typical residential room.

You should include several disposable drop cloths in your tool list. There are two widths of painter’s tape, six disposable paint buckets, a sash brush and a brush of varying sizes (one is two inches wide and the other is three inches wide), and a roller paint kit. A hammer and a single, hefty nail worth ten cents. Get some nice brushes, thanks. They will last for years and years despite repeated washings. Oil paint brushes are still available, but latex paint brushes have mostly replaced them in stores. Separate meetings used for painting from those used for staining or varnishing. A six-foot stepladder is a bare minimum requirement for any room in your house with a standard ceiling height of eight feet or higher. Painters’ scaffolds can be rented from most hardware and tool stores for painting on high ceilings and walls.

Choosing a paint color is the first order of business. The number of accessible hues is practically limitless at this point. Calculate the square footage of the walls and ceiling you intend to paint by multiplying the two numbers (length times width). This will give you an idea of how many square feet a gallon of paint should cover. Not all of them are the same. Take the time to read the packaging. Gather up your colors and canvas and head back to your house. Do not forget to protect your heads by purchasing painters’ hats. While rolling paint onto the ceiling, keep your hair tidy with one of these disposable coverings.

The second order of business is to empty the space of any furnishings. Hang whatever you like, from artwork to lamps to draperies. They are not only a potential paint threat but also a tripping hazard. Drop cloths should be used immediately to protect any wood flooring. Put them up against the baseboards and tape them down. Cover the surfaces you want to keep unpainted with tape. Take off covers from outlets and switches. However, this will take some time to resolve. Later, cleaning up will be a breeze.

The carpet is far more vulnerable to damage. You can use drop cloths, but you should try to keep them tidy. They tend to pile up, revealing the floor beneath. A paint spill might ruin the carpet in a room. Cloth drop cloths are more expensive yet more effective on carpets.

Start by covering everything in the room and then using the painter’s spackle to fix and patch any holes or defects in the ceiling. As soon as it dries, it can be lightly sanded. The next step is to “cut in,” or paint, all of the joints between the walls and the ceiling. To save time while painting the walls, paint them only an inch or so (give or take) if the top is white. You can relax about getting the roller to the seam between the ceiling and walls. There will never be even a visible difference between the two. The paint gallon should have at least six, preferably more than a dozen, holes punched into the bottom lip where the lid shuts itself as soon as it is opened. If paint gets into the lip while pouring or brushing, it will go back inside the container rather than running out the side. It will also prevent the lip from getting dirty before you put the lid back on. A small amount of paint should be poured into the roller pan, then placed on a firm surface.

That fuzzy spherical tube from the paint kit probably belongs on the roller by now. To evenly coat the roller’s interior and exterior, slowly roll it back and forth in the tray. Make sure it is completely submerged but not drenched. Apply the paint evenly using the roller, beginning in one corner of the ceiling. Make slow, steady strokes until the color is nearly dry on your roller. Pick up where you left off and apply additional paint. Achieve an equal coating by rolling the edge of the newly applied paint into the previously painted area. If you wait to move the roller until dry, you’ll have streaks and an uneven application. You will shortly find out that painting ceilings are a significant neck pain. Looking up for extended periods might put a strain on your neck. A wooden broom handle can be attached to the end of your paint roller handle using a screw. For this purpose, internal threads are provided. While telescoping aluminum poles are available, a single-room installation will suffice with a wooden stick. You also won’t need a ladder, which is a nice bonus. That’s great news for your thighs and neck. A second coat may be required, depending on the preexisting state of the ceiling. Before applying a second coat of paint, be sure the first one has dried completely.

Once the ceiling is finished and curing, walls may require touch-up spackle in picture hanger holes, etc. Care for them and softly sand them. It’s best to save the darkest wall for last if it is an accent wall in a different hue from the other three walls. The time to paint it white or a lighter shade is now. It is assumed that the darker one will hide the more golden color. Cut as you did on the ceiling if you are constructing an accent wall, but only if the wall is lighter. Color gradient from dark to light. It’s a little less hassle if all four walls have the same hue.

If you purchased an edger or a 3″ brush, use them to cut in the walls to the ceiling, windows, and baseboards. Now that you’ve completed the trim, you can return to painting the central portions. Don’t rush anything. Clean-up will take much more time if the cut-in work is done carelessly. It’s a good idea to clean your brushes as soon as possible after each use. Please do not allow the paint to dry in them. The meetings should be dried by hanging them after cleaning. Do not rest them on the bristles or stand them up. As they dry, the bristles will bend, rendering them unusable. Unless you invest in professional rollers, you must replace the sleeves whenever you paint. They often come at a hefty price. It’s not worth the time or effort to clean the 99-cent sleeves many retailers use today. Get a handful and toss the used ones after you’re done.

Now is the time to break out the sash brush if you plan on painting the baseboards and trim a different color. The angled side will simplify painting near baseboards or carpet trim. A quality sash brush is also needed while painting windows. Many individuals waste tape and effort adhering it to every glass edge. If you use your sash brush gently, you can avoid getting much paint on the glass, and if you do, you can easily scrape it off with a razor. A painter’s knife is a fantastic tool. You can use them to pry open paint cans, scrape along old paint edges, remove caulking, and, when combined with a painter’s towel, swiftly and effectively clean the entire perimeter of a glass door to remove any leftover paint and produce a true crisp paint edge. When painting the inside corners of the windows, a handy trick is to “pull” any surplus paint out into the sash or mutton bar by positioning the brush directly in the corner. When paint drips into the corners, it looks terrible.

You can clean up after you’ve finished painting, and the surface is smooth and even from all the coats. Before picking up the drop cloths, ensure all the paint and painting equipment has been put away. The clothes should be folded and kept with the paint supplies. One of the larger plastic containers is perfect for stowing away these implements. Reassemble the furniture and artwork and take stock of your progress. You can now afford to have that gorgeously decorated room.

Inspector Pete, Always a Pleasure to Work With

The BICES Software for Building Inspection and Code Enforcement

Pete Ackerson has worked as a building inspector in the public and private sectors for over 30 years. He has experience in both the office of building design and the field of construction in the Eastern United States, having worked on a wide range of projects from schools to treatment plants, individual residences, and condo projects to major residential landscaping projects. Wagsys LLC, which he co-founded with two other building inspectors in 2006, developed software for city departments such as building inspection, planning, and zoning.

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