Nothing spruces up a room like a new coat of paint. It's a perennial favorite on the DIY circuit and can save you hundreds of dollars. And, best of all, no special training is required. But, pulling off the perfect paint job isn't just about slapping some paint on a wall. Painting like a pro requires patience and attention to detail.
The most important part of your paint job doesn't even involve painting; it's the prep work. Taking the time to properly prep your room is what separates the men from the boys. The key to success is having a smooth, even surface.
- Remove switch plates and electrical covers. Cover the openings with painters tape. So you don't lose the screws, put them back in before you put the tape over the holes.
- Move furniture (lift with your legs!) away from the walls and cover everything with tarps. Secure the tarps with tape.
- Look for cracked and peeling paint. Scrape away any flakes and fill the holes with spackle. After they've dried, sand them down with a medium weight sandpaper.
- If you see any stains, paint over them with a stain blocker, sometimes called spot primer. You don't want the stains to show through your gorgeous paint job. Now is the time to even them out.
- If you have a space between the wall and the molding, get some caulk and fill it.
- Give yourself the smoothest surface you can. If that means sanding the entire wall, do it. You'll be glad you put in the effort now. You don't want your wall to look like it's got a bad case of acne.
- If your wall looks splotchy, you'll need to put on a coat of primer. Some paints come with primers already mixed.
- Wash the walls. Seriously. Wash 'em. Get a sponge and some soapy water and clean them. This will make sure your paint goes on smoothly and you don't embed any icks in it.
Now, it's time to start painting. If you're doing more than the walls, the proper order is: ceiling, walls, windows and doors, and then trim. Always work from top to bottom.
May I cut in?
But, before you get out the rollers, use a small angled brush and take care of the edges of the wall. Hold the brush like a pencil (this gives you more control) and carefully paint a 2-3 inch wide strip along the edges of the wall, ceiling and any molding. This is called cutting in and will give you a buffer zone once you start using the harder-to-control roller.
Pour your paint carefully into the tray reservoir. Be sure you've moistened your roller in water for latex or paint thinner for oil-based before you start painting. Once it's ready, soak the roller and roll off the excess. Paint a two to three foot tall W on the wall. Then, use vertical overlapping strokes to cover the area. Don't forget to overlap slightly with the cut in stripe you created before. Continue using this same method until you've painted the entire wall. Be on the lookout for dribbles and lines. Smooth these out with nice long strokes.
Once you've completely painted the wall, step back and look for boo-boos. Be sure you let the paint dry completely before adding another coat.
Congratulations! You've done it. Now, take a long, hot bath. How hard can re-tiling a bathroom really be?