Interior Painting 6 - General Tips

Before you dip your brush, take a moment to make sure you know how to properly use and work with the paint. Doing it right is essential for a professional-looking paint job. You have prepped the surfaces and chosen the right paint and applicators, now what do you do with them?

Boxing Paint

First, there can be slight variations between different cans of the same color paint. To prevent that showing up on your wall, professionals use a system called "boxing." Mix all your paint into one large container until the paint's color and consistency are uniform. It is important to prepare enough paint to cover all surfaces with this mix, since matching can be difficult if you run out.

Sealing Cans

Air often causes a scum on oil-based paints. In this case use a strainer you can easily get from your paint store to separate this "skin." Keeping the lids tightly on the cans should prevent this in the first place. If you’re storing the oil based paint, you can pour a very thin layer of thinner on the surface of the paint.  This will also prevent the skin.

When you tap the lid onto the can with your hammer, cover the can with a rag to prevent spatters.

Thinning Paint

Also, if you are thinning paint with either a thinner for oil based paints or water for water based, thin slowly to avoid over-thinning and then needing to add more paint. Finally, use a nail and hammer to punch a hole in the rim of the can so that excess paint will drip back in.

Controlling Dust

Prepping for paint produces dust.  Any dust on the surfaces will interfere with the paint sticking properly.  Clean up well between the prep and painting.  Use a slightly sticky tack cloth to wipe any trim that you have scraped or sanded, to get debris and dust off.

Painting Sequence

When you’re ready to start, there is a sequence often used in painting which will help you.

1. Ceilings
2. Walls
3. Trim (windows, door, then baseboard)

By painting the ceilings first, you can be sure that any drips falling on the walls will be covered. When painting the walls, always paint from the top down, again to be sure drips are covered. Finally, do the trim so that any paint that accidentally gets on the trim can be covered.

Needless to say, wear old clothes. A hat and scarf or hooded sweatshirt is recommended while doing the ceilings (unless you want to try some unusual hair coloring combinations). Again, be sure that everything is properly prepped and covered.