Painting is one of those jobs that most homeowners will tackle themselves before paying a professional. It's also one of those jobs that looks easier than it is. Anyone can slop paint on a wall, but not many can make it look like a professional job. Here are some tips to make your next painting project look like it was done by an expert. It may take a few more steps, but it's well worth the effort.
1. Wipe down all woodwork with a cleaner. Paint adheres better to a clean surface. Sand all the trim, doors and windows and vacuum and wipe with a tack cloth.
2. Before using your paintbrush soak it in water (if being used with latex paint), or paint thinner (for use with oil-based paint). Flex the bristles to spread the liquid right into the base of the brush and spin or shake it dry. This step will make your brush easier to clean later. When you open the paint can, use a nail to drive holes in the U-track around the top of the can. This allows the paint to drain back into the can after pouring.
3. Prime any bare woodwork before applying final coat. When molded doors, paint the rails first, then the inside panel, and finally the stiles or outside frame. Allow to dry overnight and sand with a 220-grit sandpaper. Vacuum and dust once again.
4. Use Dap or spackling compound to fill any nail holes or cracks. Once dry, sand lightly if necessary and paint with primer.
5. Caulk all the gaps between the trim or baseboard and the walls to create a nice clean line. To smooth the caulking, wet your finger and run it along the the line.
6. It's time to paint the ceiling. Cut in or paint a 2 to 2 1/2 inch stripe along the outside edges of the ceiling. Wipe away any paint that touches the walls. Using a roller, complete the rest of the ceiling by dividing your strokes into a 3-foot section. Work your way across the room, one square at a time.
7. Now begin the finish coat on your trim, windows, and baseboard. Once dry, sand lightly and dust with a tack cloth. Next, apply your finish coat. When painting window trim, if you get paint on the glass, let it dry and then scrape it off. Dampen the glass first to prevent scratching it with the window scraper.
Some use the paint as a sealant from moisture. To do this, hold the edge of a wide putty knife blade against the glass, flat side against the wood, and scrape up to it. You'll end up with an even strip of paint on the glass about the thickness of the blade.
8. Once the baseboard is dry, cover the top of the trim with blue masking tape. Using a brush, cut in around windows and door trim, then along baseboard and finally at the ceiling or crown molding. Use an extension handle on your roller to paint the walls. Just as with the ceiling, envision a 3 or 4 foot square and fill in working from the top down. Use a putty knife to remove any paint nubs on the wall once the paint dries. Finish with a final coat and remove the masking tape as soon as the paint has set. Don't wait too long or you may pull off some of the drywall with the tape. Resist the urge to yank the tape, but instead pull it slowly and evenly to avoid ripping it.
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