Life with the P's

A young couple living life – remodeling, diy projects, and everything in between!

Hopefully Helpful Painting Tips

I have done a lot of painting. When it comes to painting at our house, I do everything except for some of the rolling. Aaron will help speed up the process by rolling while I cut in the ceiling, corners, and trim. I have learned a lot about painting in the past few years, especially a lot of tips and tricks to make the process easier (ESPECIALLY painting straight lines!!!!!!), and I thought I should share my experiences. So here are some of my best tips and tricks:

  • Paint from the top down. This seems fairly obvious, but I have tried to avoid it before. We have been painting entire rooms – ceilings, walls, and trim/doors. I start with the ceiling first, then the walls, and then I tape of the walls to paint the trim. If I mess up this order in any way, I end up splattering paint from the ceiling on the freshly painted walls or from the walls onto the freshly painted trim.
  • Cut in with a brush wherever possible, especially along the ceilings. I use an 1 ½” to 2” angled brush to cut in. I didn’t use to cut in the ceiling by hand and I always had bleed through and runs behind the tape. I also typically paint about 6” down the wall with a brush to avoid hitting the ceiling with the roller. It is most disappointing when this happens and best to avoid it all together. Below is a picture of how I cut in while I was painting coat #2 of the same color. It is goo to have paint on the bottom half of your paint brush and start low and work your way up to the ceiling. Run a smooth line along the ceiling until you start to run out of paint. Then smooth out the paint below the ceiling line so that it doesn’t run and so that you get that 6″ or so of painted wall. I usually make about a 6-8″ line each time before I have to refill my paint brush.

cutting in paint, paint edge along ceilling

  • Color requires 2 coats, minimum. I prefer to buy the cheaper paint because of this. I have found that no matter what color it is, it always requires two coats. I have been able to get away with only one coat of paint on one surface – the ceilings. Other than that, the walls always require at least two coats of paint, and it is better to accept before you have to re-tape the trim. Because of this, I always buy the cheapest line of paint possible. I use Sherwin-Williams paint (my favorite) and I always ask for the cheapest available. Darker colors typically require darker bases and are more expensive, but I have definitely saved a lot of money by going with the cheaper paints when available.
  • Use blue painters tape and CAULK! This trick works anywhere you want a smooth, clean, 99.99999% perfect line. Tape alone has never worked for me. Not even the Frog tape. It’s good, but caulk makes it perfect! Caulk is your best friend! I use clear caulk. First, the surface should be clean (wipe down trim – it gets nasty!). After I have painted the walls (and let the paint dry for at 24 hours – this is crucial!), I tape up the walls along the trim and doors and then I use a caulk gun to run a small, clear line of caulk along the tape and trim. I then use my finger to smooth out the caulk line and remove excess. Only a small amount of caulk is needed. This ensures a good clean line. Start painting immediately after the clear caulk has dried and is no longer milky looking (It is ok if the caulk in the corners is still not completely dry – this is actually preferred). After you finish painting, peel the tape off immediately! It is a good idea to tape, caulk, paint, and peel the tape all in the same day as quickly as possible. This is also a good trick to use on rounded corners. I am not going to lie, I have still had to touch up a little. BUT… it is very minimum and the lines look fabulous. Here are some pictures to prove that I am not lying about this trick (and I totally heard “ohhh” and “ahhh” when I finished, just sayin):

painting lines with tape and caulk, painting smooth lines, paint trim

  • Use Primer on trim and doors. This is a new one for me. In our house, the trim and doors are some kind of almond color (ugh). I like bright white trim and doors, especially with colored walls, so we are repainting all of the trim and doors in this house. Before I started to use primer, I had to paint 3-4 coats of glossy white paint to fully cover the yellowish trim. With primer, I get away with one coat of primer, one coat of glossy white paint. That being said, I have found that primer works best to help adhere the high gloss paint to the surfaces and helps cover the almond color with fewer total coats of paint. I use Zinsser Primer.
  • Save some dough, wrap your roller covers! Use plastic wrap (yep! the stuff in your kitchen) to wrap your rollers and brushes if, like me, you take a couple of days off in the middle of our project. You won’t have to clean the rollers (I REFUSE TO DO THIS! Too much work! BLAH!) or the brushes. I only do this as a short term fix, as in a couple of days. For long term storage, you can also put the wrapped roller cover/paint brush in your freezer. I haven’t had much success with this, but I have heard some people do.

Some common issues that I have had with painting:

  • Caulk/tape pulls the paint off. Yes, this has happened. Yes, it is extremely annoying. It is most common in corners, where you had to use a little more caulk to prevent the bleed-through. I have learned that it is ok to start painting even while the caulk in the corners is not completely dry. Also, you can use a razor blade to cut along the tape so that the paint on the tape is separated from the paint on the wall. If this still happens, you can always touch up with a small brush by hand. A few touch ups like this are perfectly normal and your end result will still have a ridiculously perfect line.
  • Spray texture in a can peels off. We have had to touch up some spots with that spray texture in a can. It definitely works, however, tape/caulk will peel paint or the texture itself. I simply primer before painting to prevent this issue.

I hope this helps at least one person out there who can’t figure out how to prevent bleed-through with tape or how to cut in along the ceiling! I get absolutely furious when I peel the tape only to find that my line is anything but straight! Good luck!!!!!


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