Ready to paint the interior of your home but have no clue
as to what kind of preparation, paint or tools you need to
do a quality job? Let's shed a little light on the subject
to help you achieve the attractive, long-lasting results
you might expect could come only from a professional.
Let me begin by stressing the importance of good
preparation. Resist the temptation to take short cuts in
this step of a painting project to save time or effort,
because proper prep work can make the difference between a
good job and a great job and help prevent any paint
When painting spread professional-quality canvas drop
cloths to cover and protect the floor. Spilled paint
doesn't soak through canvas as it does a bed sheet or
other lightweight cloth, and canvas is safer to walk on.
Working on a plastic drop cloth can be like painting on
First, you need to take down window coverings, and remove
the switch-plates and hardware from doors (and cabinets,
if you'll be painting them).
Move all the furniture to the middle of the room and cover
it with plastic.
Enamel paint on trim needs to be dulled using either
sandpaper (be sure to wear a dust mask) or a liquid
deglosser (be sure to follow directions on the label). I
prefer sandpaper because it enables you to sand out old
brush marks and roughness.
If there is oil-based enamel on the trim or cabinets,
you'll need to apply a prime coat. I prefer a slower
drying oil based primer with good hiding ability (you'll
need paint thinner to clean up).
Next, fill cracks with a paintable latex caulk, fill nicks
and dings with spackle or bond and spot prime these areas.
Wall prep usually isn't as time consuming.
Clean any grease, wax or dirt with Tri Sodium Phosphate
(TSP) or another degreaser, then rinse.
Walls which were previously painted with oil-based enamel
(most likely in older kitchens, bathrooms or laundry
rooms) should be primed with an oil based primer.
Smoke stains should be primed with a stain blocking
Fill nail holes with spackle, applied with your fingertip
instead of a knife so you don't fill in any wall texture.
I will assume you will be painting with a brush and
roller, and not need to do a lot of masking, as is the
case when applying paint with a sprayer.
Cover baseboards with two inch masking tape.
11. Now that you've got your home all prepped and ready to
put some fresh color on your walls, you need to pick up
the paint and tools required to do a quality job. With all
the paint manufacturers and dealers out there offering so
many different grades of products, it's no wonder many
consumers have no idea which products to buy. Don't buy
the cheapest stuff you can get your hands on because it
probably won't give you the coverage or durability you
need. But you don't necessarily need the most expensive,
either. Knowing what you're looking for will make it much
Finishes and Gloss
The vast majority of finishes used today are water-based
latex. Oil based paints are rarely used for finishes
anymore because the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
has put a limit on the amount of volatile chemicals that
can be used.
The first thing to understand is that paints have
different gloss ratings (or sheens), from flat to
lo-sheen, eggshell, semi-gloss and finally, gloss. Flat
has little or no sheen and is used primarily for walls and
ceilings. The remaining is considered enamels and can
range from a five to 85 percent sheen rating – the higher
the rating, the higher the shine. These are used for trim,
cabinets and walls in kitchens, bathrooms and laundry
rooms. Many homeowners use enamels on all their walls
because they are more durable and easier to clean, but I
recommend lo-sheen because it is more attractive than
How Much Paint to Buy?
You'll need to measure the square footage of your walls
and ceilings. Most paints will cover from 300 to 400
square feet per gallon. Double that, because I recommend
applying two coats on all surfaces to insure good coverage
and maximum durability.
At least one good two and one-half- to three-inch paint
brush (Purdy is a good brand and if you keep it clean it
should last forever)
A nine-inch roller frame
A nine-inch screen
A nine-inch roller covers with a one-half to one-inch nap
"lamb's wool is best"
A two-gallon bucket
A five-gallon bucket
A four-to eight-foot rolling pole (which could double as a
handle for a broom or other implement) to save time and
You might also consider foam brushes and rollers (for a
smoother finish on trim and cabinets)
Make just one final appraisal of your prep work to make
sure it is complete. (Remember, no short cuts!) Read the
labels on the paint cans for any special instructions and
familiarize yourself with what you are using. Now you
should be ready to go!
Put your nine-inch screen in your five-gallon bucket
(eliminating any need for a roller tray) and pour three to
four gallons of paint in the bucket.
Attach your rolling pole to the roller frame, slide on the
roller cover and dunk it into the bucket.
Roll only three feet at a time to spread the paint evenly
over the wall, using the roller to get as close to the
corners as possible.
After rolling, pour some paint into the two-gallon bucket,
dip your new brush and start "cutting in" around the trim
Make sure the paint is completely dry before applying the
For trim, make sure the surface is clean before painting,
some enamels brush better than others, so ask the paint
store which product has the best brush ability and is user
friendly. A product called Floe-tol can also be added to
enamels to help them flow better and eliminate brush
marks, or you can add a few splashes of water (just don't
overdo it). You can also try the foam brush or roller,
experimenting to see what is most comfortable and
effective for you.
Painting tips & tricks of
When painting with dramatically different colors, apply the lighter color first
and the darker color last.
If you use a good, stain blocking primer, you can usually get away with 1
finished coat of paint.
For overnight breaks, you can wrap your brushes and rollers in plastic wrap and
put them in the freezer. Tightly seal cans and clean trays.