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A Step by Step Guide for Interior Painting

I would like to start off by saying this isn't how every Painting Contractor paints a room. This is the system that I use and the way I recommend using.

I will be explaining how to set up for painting, the prep work involved, the painting, and the cleanup. This order is the same if you are painting a bedroom, a bathroom, a living room, or any other room in your home.

Step #1

Remove all pictures, window treatments/hardware, electrical face plates, etc. off of the walls. Make sure you mark the holes that will need to be filled and the ones that will be reused. I usually find a place in another room for these items.

Step #2

Arrange the furniture in the room so that there is enough room for a ladder between the wall and the furniture. You will also need to make sure you can reach the ceiling fan or the light in the center of the ceiling if there is one.

Step #3

Use painter's plastic and cover all of the furniture. You can use blue painter's tape to secure the plastic.

Step #4

Lay drop cloths down throughout the room. It is important to make sure that every area is covered.

Step #5

Go around the room and fill all holes in the ceiling and walls with joint compound(there are many different kinds of filler that can be used but I like the ready mixed blue lid joint compound). At this time I will put a fan on and direct it at the patches to speed up the drying time. After the patches are dry, check the patches to make sure that they are at least flush with the surface. Joint compound shrinks so you may have to patch some areas twice.

Step #6

With a piece of 120 grit sandpaper, go around and sand all of the patches so that they are flush to the surface and smooth. After sanding, I will dust the patches while I am there. Also while you have the sandpaper out, go around and lightly sand all of the woodwork in the room and dust afterwards.

Step #7

Walk around the room and caulk any cracks that weren't patched. These are usually where the woodwork meets the ceiling or the wall.

Step #8

Now you are ready to start painting. Pour all but about 1 inch of a gallon of the ceiling paint into a roller pan. With your roller, roll over all of the ceiling patches with the ceiling paint. While this is drying, I will go around and cut in the ceiling. Don't worry about getting the ceiling paint onto the wall but you will have to watch you don't put it on so thick that there are paint drips. Once the patches are dry, you are ready to start rolling. Start in one corner and work in an area of about 6' x 6'. Make sure you always keep a wet edge and work towards the closest wall. When the first coat is dry, repeat the cutting in and rolling part.

Step #9

This is the step that some painters will start painting the walls but I believe you will get a better finished product if you start painting the standing trim. By standing trim I mean all of the woodwork except the baseboards. The reason for painting this next is because of the returns on the door and window frames. The return is the thin area where the frame meets the wall. It is easier to paint a straight line with the wall paint into the return than trying to paint a straight line on the return after the wall is painted. When painting the standing trim don't worry about getting the paint onto the wall but again you have to be careful of paint drips or runs. After the first coat is dry then you can paint the second coat.

Step #10

Now you are ready to start painting the walls. Pour the wall paint into a roller pan leaving about an inch in the gallon pot. Roll over the patches and while they are drying you can start cutting in the walls. I cut in 1 wall and then roll it. I go to the next wall and cut it in and then roll it. This way, if you have a fan to speed up the drying time, you can fan the wall that was just painted as you are painting the next wall. By the time you get back to where you started you can just keep going and apply the 2nd coat.

Step #11

Before I paint the baseboards, I roll up all of the drop cloths and the plastic. Then I will vacuum the room. Before putting the furniture back, I will apply the 1st coat to the baseboards. While the first coat is drying, I will hang all pictures, window treatments, put back all face plates, take the drop cloths outside and shake them out, and clean up the rest of the room. This will give the first coat time to dry. When the first coat is dry then you can apply the 2nd coat. When finished you can move all furniture back to its original spot, vacuum one last time, and you will be done.

Like I said, there are different ways to paint a room, this is the system that works for me and essentially works for my clients.

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