Useful Tips for Interior Painting

Basic tips on easily painting the interior walls of your home with professional results will help make the act of interior painting hassle-free. Tips for exterior painting differ quite a bit from interior painting tips and it is important that you familiarize yourself with interior painting techniques before you begin the process.


1. Choosing Interior Wall Paint

The first step when it comes to interior painting and in painting the interior walls of your home is to find the right paint for the job. A trip to a local hardware store or paint store will inform you of the numerous finishes, colors, and varieties of paint available. Satin and matte are types of finishes, while latex and oil are varieties of paint bases. Besides choosing a paint color, the finish of the paint will have a great impact on the finished product.

Try to find out the existing finish and type of paint on interior walls. This will give you a good indicator of what kind of paint to use versus what is already on the walls. Ask a sales associate for assistance if you are unsure of what type of paint to choose, or for assistance with color selection and custom colors. Also pick up a can of primer to cover the walls before you begin painting the final color. Priming can occasionally be skipped, but is a good idea for a professional look.

Priming will definitely be needed if you are putting a different kind of paint base over the existing interior wall paint. Paint swatches can be helpful in choosing the right paint and finish. If you are still unsure of what paint to use, try painting a small area of the walls in each color and see which one is preferred. The walls can be primed and repainted afterwards.

2. Painting Tools

Several paintbrushes in varying sizes, a paint roller and a few covers, an extender, painting clothing, plastic drop clothes, stirring stick, and some clean rags will be the basic tools necessary. A screwdriver will be needed to remove the faceplates from electrical outlets, doorknobs, vent covers, and light switches.

A roll of masking or painters tape will also be needed to keep molding, windows, and doorways free of paint. Painting walls can get messy, so you will also need to wear overalls, or some old clothing and shoes. A pair of gloves, a facemask for ventilation and head covering will also be helpful. Sandpaper in varying grits, a palette knife and spackle is needed to fill holes and fix imperfections within the interior walls.

3. Preparation

Before beginning any interior painting, it is important to first make sure that you have an overall idea of what the finished product will look like. Refer to home décor magazines if inspiration is needed. The area that is to be painted should be completely cleared of all furniture and personal effects. You want to make sure that you have plenty of room to move around so no accidents occur. Moving your items also ensure that nothing will become damaged or stained if a spill occurs. If there is any furniture that cannot be removed, cover it with securely with plastic sheeting. Using a large plastic drop cloth will also keep the floor clean.

If weather permits, windows should be open to speed up the drying process and keep fumes to a minimum. Bright lighting will make the job much easier as you will be able to see any areas that need to be touched up. If lighting is limited, try to begin painting just before the apex of the day for optimum sunlight. A can of spackle, some sandpaper, and a can of primer may also be needed. Larger sized rooms may need the use of a ladder, paint roller with an extender and possibly a friend to get the interior walls painted in a timely fashion.

4. Inspection and Repair

After you have covered the floors and protected areas that you want to be free of paint, inspect the interior walls for exiting nails, nail holes, raised areas, large holes, and other imperfections. Remove any nails or screws from interior walls. Use a palette knife and spackle to fill these holes. For raised areas, simply use sandpaper with a coarse grit to get the interior wall level. Follow up with sandpaper with a fine grit to get the area as smooth as possible. Large holes will need mesh and spackle. You can purchase mesh that has adhesive to repair larger sized holes.

Cut mesh down to approximately 1 inch larger in perimeter and carefully apply to interior wall. Apply some spackle to the mesh and remove extra spackle with a palette knife. After drying, smooth the area with fine-grit sandpaper. Use a small amount of spackle to the walls and scrape off extra with the palette knife. Allow the areas to dry, then gently use sandpaper with a fine grit to smooth the areas with holes. It is a good idea to lightly sandpaper the entire interior wall to give a uniform surface especially if several holes have been filled. Finally, a large sized paintbrush should be used to remove leftover dust from the interior walls, corners, and trim.

5. Priming

Priming is the first step in painting the interior walls. Primer allows you to put a matte paint over a gloss and gives the interior walls an overall professional look. The quality of the primer used will also have an effect on the finished interior walls, so it is a good idea to ask a paint-store sales representative for suggestions. Like interior wall painting, priming can be messy and produce strong fumes. A primer will absolutely be needed if the existing interior wall color is medium to dark, or patterned.

Priming is exactly like painting, only there will be at least one coat of paint covering the primer when you are finished. Priming the interior walls should only be skipped if the existing walls color is very light and you are using the same type of paint (i.e., latex, oil) that is already on the walls. Even then, the color may not come out exactly the same way because there may be a discrepancy in paint finish. If priming is skipped, the existing paint color will blend with the color of the paint applied and completely change the color of the interior walls. One or several coats of primer will be needed. A quality primer will ensure that the interior walls will be evenly coated.

6. Painting the Interior Walls

It is also a good idea to invest in quality brushes to ensure that a consistent amount of paint will be applied to the walls. Brushes in a few varying sizes will also be helpful. A small brush can be used for corners, and other hard to reach areas. A large stirring stick, painting roller, paint swatches, and paint pan will be needed to paint the interior walls.

When painting large areas, using a paint roller will save time and apply the paint evenly to interior walls. For corners and trim use a medium sized paintbrush. Hold the paintbrush after applying the first coat of paint allows it to dry for a few hours before applying the next layer. Be sure to keep masking tape on the protected areas until the job is completely done. The walls may need one coat of paint, or several depending on the color of the paint as well as the interior walls. Use the large stirring stick to mix up the paint; using care to make sure the paint is mixed from the bottom of the can.

Pour some paint into the pan, filling it about ½ ways. This will ensure that little paint is wasted. Dip the paintbrush in the pan, and let it drip for a few seconds. Drag the paintbrush against the edge of the pan in an upward motion to get of excess paint. Repeat on both sides of the brush. It is important that the paintbrush is saturated in paint, but not oversaturated. Extra paint can cause paint drips and trails down the interior wall.

Start towards the middle of the interior walls and work towards the edges of the walls. A paint roller can also be used for the bulk of the painting, while a medium sized brush can be used for the trim and corners. Do not worry about small areas around the edges, as they can easy be touched up later. While painting the interior walls with a paintbrush, you should use medium sized paint strokes. Hold the paintbrush between your forefinger and thumb, and move the paintbrush against the wall.

Alternate with strokes going up and then down the interior wall. If using a paint roller to paint the interior walls, cover the paint roller in paint and allow dripping for a few moments. Move the paint roller up and down the interior wall in a "v" formation. Repeat this process until the interior wall is completely covered. Allow for each coat to thoroughly dry before applying another coat.

7. Touch Up

After the interior walls have been completely dried, you will want to carefully check the walls to make sure that all coats have been evenly applied. Look at the areas needing more paint and choose an appropriately sized paintbrush. For missed spots around perimeter choose a smaller sized paintbrush. Use short, horizontal strokes and use a straight piece of cardboard to keep paint from running.

For any missed spots towards the inside of interior walls, make short, upward strokes with the proper sized paintbrush. If you find that you have missed many spots, it may be necessary to apply another coat of paint to the interior walls. Apply a small amount of paint to painter roller and lightly coat the interior wall needing more paint. This process may need to be repeated several times to achieve an even color.

Allow time for each coat to dry before painting the next layer. In the event of applying too much paint to a paintbrush or roller, you can use a clean white rag to remove small drips and paint trails. Try to do this as soon as possible as you will only be able to make corrections while paint is still wet. If small spills are found after drying, try using a single edge razor blade to flick away at the paint.

8. Clean Up

Take all paintbrushes, rollers, paint cans, and paint pans out of the room that was painted and place them in a sink or bathtub. Wipe paint cans off with a wet rag and soak all painting tools in hot water.

This will make the cleaning process go along much faster. Remove painters' tape from trim and remove plastic sheeting from furniture and floors. The plastic sheeting should be thrown away or retained if you have plans to do more painting in the near future. Cleaning the paintbrushes and other tools should be easy if you use a paint remover and hot soapy water. After the tools have soaked for a bit you can run them under more hot water to remove visible excess paint. Then use the paint remover to clean dried on paint, paying attention to the point where bristles meet the base.

Thoroughly clean any caked-on paint in between bristles near the base and metal connector. Finally, hold the brush under running water for a final rinse and allow drying for about 24 hours.

9. Finishing Touches

after you have completely cleaned the room, replace all doorknobs, electrical outlet covers, light switch plates, vent covers, etc. You can use a small singe edged razor blade to remove paint specks and other minor imperfections around the edges of replaced items. If paint cannot be removed completely with the razor blade, a very small paintbrush can be used to cover up imperfections. Turn on the lighting to be used permanently in the room.

Stand in the middle of the room and look completely around the room from top to bottom. This is the final opportunity to look over your work for any small details that may have been overlooked. When you are satisfied with the results, return all furniture to its proper place within the room. Congratulations, you have successfully painting the interior walls of you home and should be thoroughly satisfied with your results.
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