Monday, 27 October 2014

How to paint your wall like a pro.

I've seen quite a few articles on how to paint your walls and I can't say any of them have actually been decent. So here is my post on how to paint your walls like a pro. I'll list off the steps then go into detail about each.

I've got a room to paint myself and I'll be updating this post with video for each step once I get rolling on that project.

1. Prep the walls
2. Prep the space
3. Cutting the corners
4. Primer
5. Sanding
6. Cutting the corners with finish coat
7. Painting first coat
8. Sanding
9. Cutting the corners again
10. Painting second coat
11. Cleaning up

That is it, and that is why a pro makes your walls look great. There is more to it than just slapping paint on the wall.

1. Prep the walls

This is where you get a container of DAP or some other quick dry filler and patch all the pin holes you made over the years in the walls. First thing is to take a drywall sanding block with a 220 grid sanding pad and sand all the lint and crap the last painter painted onto the wall. Then you fill the nail or pin holes you made over the years. Put a bit of DAP or other filler on with a spatula by pressing it straight into the hole, then scraping it off. It takes a bit of practice to do it right. You want to leave a 1 to 2 inch square or circle of DAP that is nice and thin, but still leave enough to sand down flat.

If you have a larger hole such as from a wall plug, put some DAP on your finger and squish it into the hole. Once it dries, give it a light sanding and move on to the spatula stage above.
Now, using a fine grit (220 or 320 grit) sanding sponge go over the patches lightly until they are flat. You might find yourself right down to the old paint again. That is fine.

2. Prep the space

Now it is time to lay down your drop cloths, or tape down construction paper, or use plastic... Whatever you like to protect the floor if you care. Take your painters tape... The green stuff... Stay away from the 30 day crap... A post it note has more stick... Get the 7 day stuff and trim out all your baseboards with 1" tape. You can also trim out the ceiling and around all doors and windows. You don't have to cover the whole board, just the top inch that meets the wall.

3. Cutting the Corners with Primer

Get your brush ready. Go to the sink and soak your bush real good. Getting the bristles wet right up to the handle will make cleaning it easier. Shake it out then put the handle between you palms and spin it out like you were trying to make a fire with a stick. Okay, now put paint in your tray. Using the Brush dab down into the paint and dab it straight up an ddown on the roller part of the tray. This will load the bristles up with paint. You don't have to Psycho stab the thing, and you will have to dip and dab a few times the first time to load it up properly. You don't want the brush dripping with paint, but you really don't want to scrape the brush against the side of the tray to pull paint off it.

Since you taped up the ceiling and trim, you can paint right up against the tape. Don't go freakin' crazy and get a tonne of paint all over the tape. Take your time and try to be clean with it. Make it a game because when you get to the point where you don't get any paint on the tape, you won't need the tape at all for cutting. Think of it like levelling up.

You will not be using the flat side of the brush for cutting. You will be using it thought for feathering. You want to use the brush sideways so the wide part of the brush is parallel to the edge you are painting. You will also keep the brush on a 30 to 45 degree angle from the wall you are painting on. This way just the tips of the brush come into contact with the tape.

Right, don't just throw the paint on either. Start light and get progressively heavier. Since the brush has lots of paint in the beginning and less as you move down you have to adjust your pressure. If it looks like your brush is out of paint, go back over your paint line where you started and pull some paint down again. You may not get any further, but the paint you do have on the wall will be more even. At this point you will use run the brush down beside your first paint stroke to thicken it up, you can also back brush from down to up using the back side of the brush to use up the paint from there. Then you feather a bit. Using the flat of the brush get the paint on the wall a good 4 to 6 inches. It doesn't have to be thick. In fact the reason you call it feathering is because you want it to be thick in the corners and thinner the farther from them you go. 

Now load your brush up again and start about 6 inches above where your last stroke ended. On the second pull down stroke go another 6 inches above that.

Corners where two walls meet a ceiling are a bit trickier and you will just have to practice them on your own. But I will say, The corner is the only place you start with the brush flat on the wall. Place the brush flat on the wall about half an inch from the corner and lightly push the bristles into the corner. Take your time.

If you are cutting two walls and they are both the same colour, just slap the paint right down the middle then flat brush and feather each side. Again, overlap your strokes.

4. Rolling the Primer

Now, take your brush and wrap it up in some plastic. Make it neat and flat. You can leave a brush in plastic with paint on it for weeks if you close it up properly. No air means no dry. You wan't to hang onto your primer brush until you are done with rolling the primer because nothing sucks more than cleaning the brush and then needing it to wipe the paint tin or scrape paint back into the tin from the tray when you are done and you have to clean it again.

Make sure you have a good 10 to 15 mm roller... A good one. You get a crappy roller and you will have a lint filled bumpy wall. No use spending $50 on a tin of paint if you are going to cheap out on the roller. Might as well just get a moss covered log and paint with that. Also make sure you have a handle for your roller handle... get a wood broom handle and cut it down to 3 or 4 feet for walls or leave it long for ceilings. Trust me painting without an extension of any length is a pain in the hand. I have a 2 foot, 4 foot and a 6 footer that extends to 10 feet. I use them all. Your hands will thank you and you get more leverage for putting paint on the wall.

Load up the roller really well. The first time you load it up you might think it is full... It won't be. So load it up good.

Now the pro tip. Don't paint in a W pattern... Start up against one of your corners. You don't have to be right against the wall, keep your end columns an inch or two from the adjacent walls. Also, don't start at the top. Start a bit above half way up the wall and roll up to the ceiling, then down to the floor in one straight line. Like I said, no matter how well you load up the roller the first time you will run out of paint really quickly, so load it up again and go over the first column one more time. Now column 2. Again starting just above half way up the wall leave a 1 inch gap or so between the columns and roll up then down in one long paint column then on the way up veer over the gap you left on the way to the ceiling and bring the centre of the roller all the way to the floor over the gap. Now roll back up and go over to the top of column 2 then back down to the floor going back towards column 1 again. Now on your way up keep veering over to column 1 until you are completely in column 1 then go straight down then back up again veering all the way into column 2... Now for column 3. Again 1 inch gap half way up the wall, all the way down then veering back 1 forward 1 back 2 forward 2... keep going. You won't want to veer back more than 2 or three columns at a time. Once you get going forward 6 or 8 columns you will see why. You want to back roll a bit which gives way better coverage, but you don't want to go past your wet edge or you will get a messy result. The faster you get at painting, the farther back you will be able to go. But don't freakin' speed demon it. Take you time. Slow and steady is better.

You might find that once the roller gets loaded and you get the hang of it, you can actually roll a column and a half with one loading. Once that starts happening for you, you are levelled up. You then can start the same way half way up the wall go up and down, but this time roll half a roller over to a fresh part of the wall and get a column and a half before back rolling.

5. Sanding

When the primer dries, you will sand down the wall with a drywall sanding pad on a pole. You don't have to sand the shit out of it, you only want to run over the surface lightly with the pad to remove any lint or bumps that might have got on there. Trust me. You skip this step and your wall will not be smooth.

6. Cutting the Corners Again.

Now if your primer is all nice you can clean your brush and throw away the dirty tray liner. We are going to cut the corners again with our finish colour. This is the same process as cutting with the primer.

7. Painting the First Coat

You will paint the first coat exactly the same way you did the primer.

8. Sanding

One more time with the sanding. Same as last time.

9. Cutting the Second Coat.

This is your last cutting. Make it count because once you are done this there is no more levelling up till the next room. You shouldn't need to load the brush up as much with paint for this cutting. It is more of a filling in and evening out the paint thing.

10. Painting the Second Coat.

One last time same as the others. You should be a pro by now. No hits on the ceiling, no over rolling onto the baseboards.

11. Cleaning up

If you got a shitload of paint on the tape, once it dries you might want to take a sharp razor and cut along the tape line before peeling it off. If you don't you might pull the paint off the wall. You only have to cut really lightly. Cutting through a couple coats of paint is not a difficult thing to do. When you peel the tape off, do it at a 45 degree angle so you minimize the chance of pulling off paint.

When you wash your bushes make sure you get the paint out really well and then spin them in your palms again. Fight the urge to flatten the bristles. Leave them all troll doll. They will dry better and load up easier the next time you need the brush.

If you have another room to paint, take your roller off the handle by using a plastic shopping bag and wrapping it around it and pulling it off. Then roll up the roller in the bag and tuck the ends into the tube. Again, no air is no dry so a well wrapped roller can last a couple weeks no problem so you can paint from one weekend to the next with the same roller. If you are only going to be a couple days, just roll up the thing in a bag real good right on the handle.

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