8 Steps to Paint a Room Like a Professional Painter

My Home Handyman painter on scaffolding painting room

Written by My Home Handyman

February 18, 2022

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For those who have never done it before, painting a room looks like the easiest thing in the world. After all, it’s just paint on a wall, how hard can it be? Well, for anyone who has ever painted before, you know that it can be all too easy to deliver a subpar paint job.

Before you take on your next painting project, there are a few helpful tips to follow. Knowing when to clean up mistakes, remove everything from the room before starting, fix dings before painting, and all of the tricks of the trade can give you an edge and allow you to deliver a performance like the pros

1. Take everything out of the room

Without a doubt, the biggest mistake that amateur painters make is trying to cut corners. That means not removing everything from the room before they start, instead choosing to work around obstacles like furniture as they go.

Make life easier on yourself by covering large pieces of furniture and removing the rest. Hardware, fixtures, doors, etc. can all be removed. Anything that can’t be moved should be covered in drop cloths. It is all too easy to drip paint as you go without ever knowing. Plastic sheeting and less stuff means less potential for errant dripping.

2. Fix cracks, dents, and dings

Any wall that has seen some time is going to have imperfections. These can show up in the form of minor dings, cracks, chipped paint, and more. Before you start, make sure to locate and fix all of these minor issues as they can bleed through the paint.

For the most part, a little bit of spackle and sanding will go a long way towards repairing any damage as you go. Just take your time and make sure to blend as well as possible. When done, wipe away any dust as it can prevent the paint from properly adhering to the surface, you are trying to paint.

3. Know when to use painter’s tape

The best painters out there have confidence in their abilities and sure hands to not require painter’s tape when it comes to walls and trim. Considering most reading this is not professionals, painter’s tape should be one of the go-to tools.

It makes panting against the woodwork and flooring a lot easier and makes cleanup simple so long as no paint has spilled over the edge of the tape. Just be prepared to take your time and tape properly, otherwise gaps between the tape and surface in question can lead to dripping, which defeats the purpose of taping in general.

4. Wipe Mistakes When Wet

One of the amateur painters’ biggest mistakes is waiting to touch up mistakes when the paint has already dried. Spills and drips are just part of the life of painting; they will happen. But getting to them while the paint is still wet is the best thing you can do.

Wet paint, for the most part, is pretty easy to clean. Just make sure you have a damp cloth nearby, and you should be able to take up most mistakes right away. Try to be more careful, but know that mistakes can be undone.

5. Don’t go cheap on primer or paint

Another mistake amateur painters make is going cheap on primer and paint. Yes, it can be expensive depending on what you choose. But the better primers and paints make sure that fewer coats are required, and the paint will hold up to regular wear and tear much better. There’s nothing worse than painting your house only to have it look warn months later.

The last thing anyone wants is to paint a room or hallway only for every ding and dent to show bright as day. Eggshell gloss is generally recommended because it not only provides a great look but is excellent for high-traffic areas. Quality paint will typically run about $40-$55 per gallon, though they can be much more expensive.

6. Choosing the right roller

Painting and decorating with a roller and tray on a set of metal step ladders with cans of paint and a dust sheet in the background

A huge mistake that people make when painting with a roller is overloading it. That means spraying and fuzz, all of which contributes to an uneven painting effort. The longer the nap of a roller, the more texture it will create.

Another thing to consider is length. Though an 18-inch covers more ground, the 9-inch rollers are preferable by pros because they are lighter, and easier to hold. Though it can come down to personal preference, the smaller roller helps with accuracy, particularly for those who don’t have the experience to go with a wider option.

7. Loading the brush properly

Most people don’t realize that there is a proper way to load the brush. Too much or too little can impact the quality of your work. Make sure to dip the brush just far enough to have enough paint to cover two fingers’ with.

It can take some time to get the right amount consistently. If you think that you have too much, just wipe some of the excess off and paint. You can refine your loading technique to find the right amount of paint as you go.

8. Start low, work to the edges

When it comes time to paint baseboards, don’t feel like you have to brush right up to the seam between the molding and wall. Start lower on the baseboard, working slowly up toward the seam. Make sure to drag the paint up to the joint.

The goal here is to keep puddling from happening at the seam and to create sharper lines. If the paint pools, make sure to smooth it out with your brush before it dries.

ConclusionThere are more tips than these to help you paint like a pro. That said, these basics should give you all the knowledge and ability to paint the right way. What you are left with is a superior quality free of bubbles, blemishes, and all the other imperfections that can plague an amateur paint job.

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