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5 Tips for the DIY Painter

5 Tips for the DIY Painter

Let's say you want to paint a bedroom but can't afford to hire a professional painting contractor. Below, I will list some tips and advice that will help you get professional results without a pro's expertise level.

1. Products and Supplies

I have been a painting contractor for over 16 years and have used a lot of different paints and primers. I would recommend using either Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams products. Both suppliers have a variety of paints and primers ranging from $20 a gallon to roughly $60 a gallon. I usually go with a mid range priced paint ($40 a gallon).

When buying the applicators (brushes, roller covers), don't just go after the cheapest products. When you are painting and see hairs on the wall from the brush, you would have wished you went with a better brush. I recommend Wooster brushes and roller covers.

Before using the brush, make sure you wet it with water and then spin it out to remove most of the water. This helps loosen up the brush.

Before using the roller cover, always wash the cover with water to remove any hairs. When finished, you can either use a spinner (sold at your local paint store) to remove the water, or you can put it on the roller cage and spin it by hand.

2. Know the Sheen

This is a common mistake I see. If you are painting bathroom, kitchen, or mudroom walls (a room with running water) you should use a paint that is rated for water and is mildew resistant. For example, most flat paints are not rated for water. I normally use an eggshell paint for the walls in these rooms.

Here is a list of the sheens starting with the dullest. (flat, matte, satin, eggshell, semi gloss, high gloss).

In my years of painting, I have seen rooms with high gloss ceilings, flat paint on the trim, and everything in between.

I recommend using semi gloss on the trim (baseboards, windows/frames, doors/frames, etc.), flat paint on the ceilings, and then the walls would depend on which room it is.

If you have kids like I do, they like to put there hands on the walls, so I use a sheen that is washable.

If you have any questions about which sheen to use, leave a comment at the bottom of the page and I would be happy to answer your questions.

3. All in the Prep

To achieve the best painting results it is all in the prep work.

This is the most important part of any painting job.

I like to start with patching. I always put a fan on to speed up the drying process. When the patches are dry DO NOT FORGET TO SAND THE PATCHES FLUSH TO THE WALL. You may need to patch some areas twice if the holes were deep. While the patches are drying, I will go around and sand the trim with 120 grit sandpaper. This will help with the new paint adhering to the old paint. If the old paint is an oil based paint, I strongly recommend priming the trim before using a latex based paint. After sanding the trim I will caulk areas as needed. Next step would be to vacuum any dust from sanding and then spot priming just the patches. If you don't prime the patches, when you are finished painting, you will notice where you patched. This is called flashing. To eliminate just prime those areas. If you don't have primer, you can always use the wall paint or the ceiling paint. For example, if you are painting 2 coats on the walls, the patches on the walls will have 3 coats on them when you are done painting. This too will eliminate flashing.

Now you are ready to start painting.

4. Order of Painting

I always do all the prep for all surfaces first. When I am ready to start painting, I cut and roll the ceiling first. Don't worry if you get ceiling paint on the walls. While the ceiling is drying, I will paint the standing trim. Standing trim would be your windows, doors, and frames. I always leave the baseboards for last. Next, I will paint the walls. Don't worry if you get wall paint on the baseboards. And finally, I paint the baseboards.

I find this order to be the most time efficient and will product the best results. To see photos of my work you can go to my website at

5. Always Keep a Wet Edge

Whether you are painting trim, ceilings, or walls you must always keep a wet edge. If you are painting a ceiling, first brush the perimeter and when you are ready to start rolling, start in a corner and work from that corner to the closest corner on the other side of the room. Try to work in sections of about 4 feet wide always keeping a wet edge.

When painting a door, start at the top and work your way down always keeping a wet edge.

When painting the walls, cut in one wall at a time and then roll that wall. Start on the right side of the wall and roll from the top to the bottom in 4 feet sections always keeping a wet edge.

Not only will this product the best results but if you don't keep a wet edge, the paint will start to dry and you will get lap marks.

Thanks for reading and be sure to comment if you have any questions. Stay tuned for my next blog on "Important Things to Avoid While Painting".

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