Room Painting Tips by a Professional: Faster, Better, Cheaper

We are not your normal painting company: we are giving away our secrets.  I’m near retirement age, and I like blogging more than painting, so I’m giving away “secrets”. Here are some room painting tips that your painter won’t tell you.

Before we start, here a funny story: Once I painted in the home of a lady who had all kinds of elephant decor–she loves elephants and paints them and has a website that recommends cool elephant gifts and figurines.  Anyway, she had a wooden elephant on a chest and as we were moving the chest the elephant fall off and broke.  She laughed and said that was something she wanted to paint anyway!  So I glued the elephant parts together, sanding, primed with Kilz and did a Jackson Pollack style paint job for free! Lots of fun.  If you don’t know who Jackson Pollack was, check out his paintings at the MET.  And if you like elephants related facts and items, this lady shows her elephant paintings on her website.  Enjoy!

Painter giving room painting tipsJust to let you know, I’m going to charge $150-$200 if you ask me to paint an average size bedroom, just changing colors on the walls, i.e. 2 coats, and the walls are already painted with just some normal nail holes etc. (I can do 2 of these per day).(This assumes no reds or yellows involved–they are difficult!  .)

Looking around on the internet, I see people giving advice like they copied it out of some DIY manual (or some fluff site set up for advertising (we will never have any advertising!)).  I see people using the name ‘handyman” using tape and cheap brushes.  Wow.  Self-taught much?

Room Painting Tips, let’s Get Started

Let’s simplify.  You don’t need to spend a lot of money, but, and this is key: you don’t want cheap tools.  The reason people give up and call me to do the work is that they bought $6 brushes and cheap roller/tray combinations.   “Why did the bristles fall out?”  “Why is there so much lint from the roller?”  Cheap tools. Note for Canadians: your roller size is different: read here.

If you can spend not that much more, you will have excellent professional tools, and if you read my other posts, you’ll learn how EASY it is to clean them. (Cleaning seems to bring back bad memories for people…If they only know what I knew.  Cleaning is fast and easy if you bring your tool quality level up one notch!  (See * at the bottom for my posts on cleaning tools: it’s really not hard.)

We are trying to bring together a complete set of posts on how to paint, (See for example  “Choose the Best Ceiling Paint “, ) but this post is just a few key tips for those of you who already know which end of the brush to hold.

Here we go with the procedure, but please check the other posts on professional painter tools to buy and some advice on picking wall paint colors and more!

Room Painting Tips: Quick Summary

  • Clear the room of small items or stack small things on big things and cover with plastic or old bed sheets, and remove light switch / outlet plates and loosen wall lamps (don’t remove). If you want to really save time and are not picky, don’t remove any of these, just have a good brush and a steady hand. (Sometimes we just loosen them to get the bristles under).
  • Apply masking tape only to select tight corners, not all areas.  (Look for my upcoming post on why you don’t need to tape “When NOT to Use Masking Tape (and When You Must)”).
  • Sand lightly the walls that feel gritty: use medium sandpaper: you only need to do what is from eye-level down to as far as you can reach with your hand (or less). Wrap sandpaper around a block or pick up a nice sanding block online.
  • Spread drop cloths over the floor, including the center if you have enough to cover.  Plastic works, but is slippery and you can get hurt especially on carpet.  Bed sheets on floors are ok, but a big drip of paint will go through the fabric.  A good cheap option is plastic, but to have a canvas “runner” (usually 12×4 feet) is not a bad idea: they can be used for lots of things.
  • Apply the primer if you must, (Look for my upcoming post When NOT to Use Primer (and When You Must)”).
  •  Apply two coats of paint: sorry, all those ads for one-coat paints sound good, but we rarely just do one coat (except for ceilings).
  • Start your final paint color with a roller, then cut using brush, (see our post on why that order). See  “Do You Paint Walls or Trim First?”
  • No need to wait a certain amount of time for drying.  If the paint is dry to the touch, no longer tacky, you can start the next coat.
  •  Clean up: it’s not difficult or messy.  Read all about it here:The Best Way to Clean Paint Brush!

*Cleaning: it’s just not that hard.

After reading our room painting tips, you might also be interested in:

Check back soon for these posts that will soon be ready:

Paint and Primer in One: Paint With Primer is a Myth

How to Clean a Roller in Record Time

How to Not Clean (much) When Changing Colors

Painting Made Easy Part 1: Don’t Let Clean Up Stop You!



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