Professional Painter Tips

As a home owner have you ever sat around your house thinking about your next interior painting project and wondered “Do I need to hire a professional painter or can I do this myself?”  In this article, as a Raleigh, NC painter, I want to give you a few simple tips that will help you have a professional outcome on the next room you want to have painted.  Let’s assume that you want to paint the walls and trim in a particular room.  The first thing you should do after choosing your colors is to determine how much material will be necessary for the project. Generally speaking, interior wall paints will usually cover around 400 sqft. of actual wall space and a qt. to a half gallon of interior semi-gloss will go a long way in painting the trim in most rooms.  After figuring the material needed for your project, the next step – and probably the most important – is the preparation phase.  The walls should be inspected for nail pops, dings, and stress cracks.  All-purpose joint compound is what I use to repair these areas.  Stress cracks will need to have a mesh tape applied over the crack and then two or three applications of mud applied.  Some of the deeper nail holes will require two coats of mud.  After point-up work is complete and has had sufficient time to dry, sand it smooth, feathering the edges followed by spot priming.  I usually just use the wall paint that I plan on putting on the walls for the primer.  Remove wall plates and all picture hangers (i.e. hooks and nails).  It’s important to have these objects out of the way when rolling the walls.  The next step would be to sand all walls and trim lightly then inspect trim for any cracks or holes; caulk and putty where needed.  After all of your prepped areas have dried thoroughly, it’s time to paint.  Since we are painting the walls and trim in this room, I like to paint the trim first and this is why:  When painting the trim first, I don’t have to worry about getting a little trim paint on the walls.  I just want to make sure the trim is brushed out nice and smooth.  Don’t forget to cover all flooring with drop cloths to eliminate paint specs.  After the trim has dried really well, I can then tape the edges of all the trim then cut in and roll the walls.  When taping the edges, use the green or blue painters’ tape.  It works really well and won’t pull the trim paint off the edges when removed.  When cutting in and rolling the walls, if you are using darker colors, you should cut in and roll one wall at a time to eliminate what is known as “hat banning.”  This is where the brush work doesn’t match the roller work. Hat banning occurs when the cut in work has had time to dry and then the roller work is rolled back into it, which will give these areas the appearance of two coats as opposed to one coat, changing the color slightly in these areas. After all the walls are painted, gently remove your tape work and you should have nice straight lines if your tape work was done correctly.  Replace all wall plates and you’re done.  If you followed these simple steps, you should have an end result that would be the envy of any professional painter.