The Art of Wall Painting

The Ins, Outs, and Upside Downs of Wall Painting

You’ve got your bandana for your hair, some cool overalls, an old tee, and a tarp. You’re ready to paint some walls, right? Call some friends and throw in a 12-pack and you’ve got yourself a good old-fashioned painting party. And while this is all well and good, you need at least one person to be the voice of reason. And by “voice of reason” we mean someone who actually knows what they’re doing because, as easy as it might appear to be, there is an art to wall painting. Need some guidance on channeling your inner da Vinci? We’re happy to help, if only to avoid looking at the eye sore that results from poor planning. Read on for tips on how to paint walls worthy of the “oohs” and “ahhs” you’ll surely get.

Get Your Supplies

We know not everyone has an endless budget for home repairs, but you really don’t want to scrimp when it comes to paint as well as the quality of your painter’s tape, roller covers, and brushes. If you go with the cheaper options, you’ll pay for it in extra time getting the coverage you want. Make sure you tell the salesperson about the project, as he or she will recommend the nap for your paint roller. A thick nap is usually best but if it’s too thick, you risk creating texture where you don’t want any.

You’ve likely already chosen your paint colors and even gotten down to the nitty gritty of eggshell versus flat paints. However, what you might not realize is that choosing the right amount of paint can be tricky. Have the expert at the paint store help you estimate this. In addition, you’ll want to box the paint, which means you take all of the paint and combine it from the very start. This will ensure consistency from beginning to end.

Watch the Weather

This is probably the number one thing that people forget to consider when painting, as a rainy day brings humidity. Humidity means the paint has a tendency to drip and dries more slowly. Of course, if you live by the ocean, landing a dry day to paint would be a miracle. So if you must paint when it’s humid, take full advantage of the slow-drying paint by correcting errors before proceeding to the next coat.

Check for Ventilation

This is another one of those things that many people don’t think about or assume it’s no big deal, but proper ventilation when painting is crucial. Make sure to prop open a door, crack a window, or if neither of these are possibilities, wear a mask. Paint fumes are surprisingly strong.

Prep the Walls

It can be tempting to just start to dip and roll. Trust us, we know. But if you really want to make sure you do a meticulous job, you must carefully inspect the walls for holes, dents, cracks, and other imperfections. Fill any holes using either a spackling compound or caulk and a putty knife. Allow this to dry. Use the putty knife to scrape off any excess spackling or caulk so the surface is flat. In fact, we recommend using a fine piece of sandpaper to smooth these areas so that they lie flush to the wall. Once this is complete, wipe the walls using a sponge or damp towel. Allow this to dry.

Prepare the Room

“But it’s just going to be a quick…” “But I’m always really careful…” We’ve heard it all. We know prepping the room can be a bit time and labor intensive but it’s well worth it in order to protect the floors, ceilings, and other belongings. Use painter’s tape for the edges. Put a tarp or drop cloth on the ground and over any furniture you haven’t removed. Remove outlet covers and any lighting that could get paint on it. You might even consider removing door knobs, although those can be protected using sandwich bags with rubber bands around them. How’s that for a bit of DIY!?

Use Primer When Needed

Most paint stores will tell you that paint-and-primer combinations are okay but if you noticed a lot of issues on the wall during your prep process, this might not fly. This is also true if it’s been a long time since you last painted. In these cases, go with a separate primer. In fact, you’ll want to use a bonding primer if the old paint is going to be particularly challenging to cover.

Start By Cutting In

Have you ever noticed when you’re coloring in a coloring book, you often start with the outside and work in? This helps to ensure you’re keeping everything within the lines you’ve created. This is essentially the same concept. Use a paint brush to create 2 to 3-inch swaths along the corners, edges, and frames of a room.

Work On Your Technique

Now’s the fun part – it’s time to paint! Like anything, the technique will get better as you go. One thing to note is that if your veins are protruding like the Hulk as you’re using your roller, you’re working too hard. You’ve already bought top-of-the-line rollers so let them do the work for you.

Roll from top to bottom, rolling back and forth across the wall using W or V-shaped strokes until you’ve covered the wall. Don’t reload your roller with paint until you’ve covered the area in a smooth and continuous stroke from top to bottom. Overlap the areas that you’ve already painted but make sure to lightly lift the roller off the wall so that you don’t leave marks. Wait 2-4 hours for the first coat to dry before going for that second coat. Stretch those legs (and arms!) or hit that 12-pack with your buddies.

Admire and Clean

You’ve done the hard work. Don’t forget to stand back and take it all in. Give yourself a pat on the back, as wall painting is no easy task. Once you’ve basked in your own glow long enough, it’s time to clean up. Make sure you remove the tape just after the paint has dried. If you wait too long, you risk taking some paint off with it. Put lids on the cans (mark them with the date if you think you’ll use this paint again), pick up the drop cloths, and make sure to thoroughly clean your brushes.

For some, this sounds like a regular party. For others, this is second only to swimming with hungry sharks in chumming water. If you fall into the latter camp, contact us for help with your wall painting project.