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How to Paint a Wall? Big Tip: Skip the Tape, You Will Thank Me!

How to Paint a Wall? Let me count the ways. Ok, here is the short version: you will see all over the internet all these people telling you how to use tape, and how to clean the walls, brush first, etc etc. Well, they clearly read the manual written by someone who read a manual, but in practice, you just jump in. It’s just not brain surgery.

how to paint a wall with a rollerAfter you paint a wall, you DO NOT want to have to say, “Wha? ANOTHER coat?” And you may have had a bad experience with clean up. That is why it is better first to learn how to paint a wall the correct way. We also have an entire post just about power rollers: big time savers.

All that hassle is now going to vanish. There are some other posts that I’m going to link to, and they will put some flesh on the bones, but here is the quick checklist.

What do I need to paint a wall?

  1. Paint (see what kind of paint is best).  Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore are the last two quality paints on the market: forget what you see on tv and what has a cool label: others lack quality solids, which is what stays on your walls in the end.
  2. Basic Painting Tools ( Just a list: only pick up what you need).
  3. Prep the room: move things out as much as possible. Also stack small things on big things and cover as much as possible. Cheap plastic, not bedsheets protect from drips (sheets bleed paint and will be useless for a big drip and have you ever tried to remove dried latex from cloth?  Nah-uh.)
  4. Need primer?  Probably not. Water stains and mold, yes you need a special sealer, otherwise, meh.  If you are going from one extreme light to dark or vice versa, you need 3 coats, sorry.  Use a primer first as it’s cheaper for a first coat, goes on very thin and quick.  Doing red? Why? Ok, if you insist, use red, but use a gray primer every time.
  5. More prepHere is the master list… but to be quick, you have to scrape off any loose paint where needed (not all primers will do what you want) and lay down cloths or plastic where you want to start.
  6. Doing the ceiling is first if you must, but remember that most people don’t look up. Try to avoid it unless it’s dingy, it’s probably ok. Read an essential ceiling tip nobody else will tell you.
  7. Roll first! Non-pros think you should brush first. Sure if you want it to take longer and be harder.  We do it this way.

See our painting tools infographic for a quick look at all the tools that will make your life easier.

painting tools infographic by brad the painter

Other useful tips to read before on how to paint a wall

In conclusion, my best advice is to get a pencil and paper and make a list, then go shopping.  A skilled painter will do 2 rooms in a 5-6 hour day, 2 coats, no trim or ceiling, but touching up trim etc. With no experience, you can probably do one room in 5-6 hours.

Clean up after painting a wall is not what you think either.  Here is an article to get you started.

Questions? Ask us.

3 thoughts on “How to Paint a Wall? Big Tip: Skip the Tape, You Will Thank Me!”

  1. I’m painting over 5-year old walls with that were painted with Sherwin Williams paint. When you said “jump right in”, does that mean that I have to lightly sand the walls first or should I paint right over the old paint. The existing paint is mostly flat and egg shell. If I need to sand, is there a tool that will allow me to sand broad errors more quickly?

    • If the walls are not dirty, you can just paint. Note that the eggshell and flat sections are going to drink paint at different rates, so they may look uneven after the first coat. Keep an eye on it, but I doubt you need a primer coat to make them the same. Sanding, if you have clumps or ticks in the old paint is best done with a block of wood and the sandpaper wrapped around it for broad strokes. I usually just fold it.


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