How to Paint a Room | Painting Tips | The Home Depot

Taking time to perform
a thorough surface prep and painting in an
orderly, systematic way are the keys to getting
professional-looking results when doing any paint project. Skimping on the prep work is
probably the biggest mistake people make when painting. Take the time and do it right. It really does affect the end result. First, carefully inspect walls
for cracks, holes, dents, or other surface imperfections
before priming or painting.

Use a lightweight spackling
compound and putty knife to fill and repair any
holes or imperfections. Then remove any excess
spackling with the putty knife and allow the area to dry completely. Once dry, use a small piece of very
fine, 220-grit sandpaper or a sanding sponge to smooth the repaired
areas flush with the surface. Wipe the walls clean with
a damp towel or sponge. And allow them to dry
before priming or painting. You should also make sure the
walls are clean and free from dust. You'd be surprised how much dust
actually builds up on walls over time. Out-of-the-way corners and areas
behind furniture can also have lots of cobwebs. Use something like a floor duster to
wipe the walls clean to ensure paint applies evenly. Painter's tape is used
to help you achieve clean, professional-looking results. Its primary purpose is to protect
areas you don't intend to paint.

It's perfect for door and window
trim molding, and baseboards. It helps you create sharp, clean
lines, paint stripes or patterns, and create two-tone wall effects. There are different adhesion
levels for painter's tape. All are meant to be easily removed. But some stick a little
more firmly than others. While some are perfect
for textured surfaces, others are intended for
more delicate areas, like a freshly painted wall,
finished hardwood, or wallpaper. Be sure and check which adhesion level
is right for the job you're doing. If your ceiling is non-textured,
or if you have crown molding, you'll want to mask that off where
it meets the edge of the wall.

Apply your tape in short, overlapping
strips, pressing down firmly along the edge. If you don't take the time to
apply painter's tape properly, you can experience bleed-through. Paint can seep under the tape barrier
and get on the protected surface. Make sure your tape is flat
and evenly pressed down. You can use your fingers
or a putty knife. Paint will seep through at any
point where the tape is not in full contact with the surface. Before doing any priming
or painting, you'll want to protect your
floors with a drop cloth. There are three basic kinds– canvas, plastic, and paper. Canvas drop cloths are
extremely durable and absorbent.

So they can be used over and over again. Plastic is less expensive and
durable, but isn't absorbent, so spills won't dry as quickly and
can be tracked through the room and stepped on. Paper is the most economical,
but can tear easily on floors. But they're perfect for covering other
things, like cabinets and furniture. If you're working in an
average- or small-sized room, you really should remove
all the furniture. Any time you think you're
saving by not doing this will be wasted
throughout your project, because you will constantly
be adjusting and relocating things to give yourself room. The final step of your paint prep
is cutting in the room with primer.

Cutting in is basically
outlining the room, and involves using a paintbrush
to create two- to three-inch bands around the edges of the walls, where
they meet ceilings, baseboards, other walls, door and
window frames, and hinges. Those two- to three-inch
areas around the room allow you to roll the
rest of the walk quickly, without having to try and roll
paint in those confined spaces. It's impossible to use a roller
that close to those areas you're trying not to paint
without making mistakes. When cutting in, many people choose
to do the entire room at one time. This is a good option if you
want to finish in a hurry. However, your border areas will
probably dry before you overlap them when painting the wall. You may see a slight difference
in sheen between the two coats, because they won't be able to blend. If that's a concern, you should
cut in and paint one wall at a time before moving on to others. You'll achieve a smoother,
more seamless look, because you'll be able to blend
the wet paint you've brushed on with the wet paint being rolled on. Priming your walls before painting is an
important part of any painting project.

Primers are specially designed to
adhere to different types of surfaces and receive your top coat of paint. You also have the option of
using a paint and primer in one. This will eliminate the need
for separate coats of each and will save you time and money. When painting new drywall,
priming helps seal the wall and can help prevent mold. They also help when you're
painting walls that are stained or when you're making a
dramatic color change.

Primers can also be tinted
at our store to closely match the color of your paint. Since primer is less expensive
than paint, using a tinted primer can help you cut down on the number of
paint codes needed and save you money. If you've made wall repairs, spackle,
and especially drywall compound, will draw out the
moisture from the paint, giving the area a dull look that is
different from the rest of the wall. Priming will prevent this
problem, since you'll be painting directly over the
primer and not the repair material. When applying your primer,
start by painting in three-foot by three-foot sections. Roll in one section at
a time, moving from top to bottom and from one side
of the wall to the other. With a fully loaded roller, work top
to bottom, rolling back and forth across the wall in a
series of V- or W-shaped strokes until the section is covered.

Reload your roller and
paint the next section, covering only as much as you can
finish while the primer is still wet. Always overlap areas of wet primer. This is a painting technique the
pros call working to a wet edge. The technique helps prevent streaking. After the primer is completely dry,
lightly sand away bumps, ridges, and other surface imperfections,
using very fine grit sandpaper folded into quarters. When the grit of one section
becomes covered with paint dust, switch to an unused
section and continue. Wipe the wall clean with a damp
towel or sponge and allow it to dry. Before starting any
paint job, it's always a good idea to remix your paint using
a mixing stick or a paint-mixing tool. You should do this any
time you leave your paint sitting for an extended period of time.

The first step in painting your walls
is to use a good-quality paint brush and cut in the room again,
this time with your paint. If you left your painter's
tape on after priming, you can just paint over it again. If you removed your
painter's tape, you'll need to reapply it before starting. A foolproof way of achieving
clean and even paint edges is to avoid loading the brush
down with too much paint. The excess has to go
somewhere, and will probably end up where it doesn't belong. Begin painting by brushing onto
the wall first, and not the tape.

Brush back and forth until most
of the paint has been applied. Then, when there's just a bit
of paint left on the brush, paint the area next to the tape and
overlap your strokes onto the tape. That way, there will only be
enough paint left on the brush to cover the remaining
unpainted wall surface. And there won't be enough
to seep under the tape. To apply your top coat of paint,
follow the exact same process and techniques used
when priming your walls. Roll in small, manageable,
three-foot by three-foot areas, from the ceiling to the floor and from
one side of the wall to the other. Blend your sections as you go. With a fully loaded
roller work top to bottom, rolling back and forth across the
wall in a series of V- or W-shaped strokes until the section is covered. You want your roller fully covered
with paint, but not to the point where it's dripping. Before reloading your roller and moving
to the next section, roll over the area you've just painted in a smooth,
continuous stroke, from top to bottom and back and forth, without
picking up the roller.

These smoothing strokes
even the coat and help to cover up lines and
paint roller tracks. As you overlap areas already
painted, lightly lift the roller off the wall to avoid leaving end
marks and to help blend different areas into one seamless surface. Avoid the common mistake of painting
straight up and down in rows from top to bottom. When you do this it's harder
to blend your paint evenly. And you can end up with a
slight striped appearance, which you won't be happy with. Final step is to remove
your painter's tape. Now, you have two options. You can do this just before
the paint dries completely, if you're concerned about the
tape getting stuck in the paint. Or you can wait until the paint is dry. If left on too long, sometimes
small pieces of the tape can tear and get left
behind when being removed. If you run into this, use a utility
knife to slice through the dried paint while pulling up the tape
at a 45-degree angle. Now, tightly seal remaining
paint in cans, thoroughly and completely clean
paint brushes and rollers, and dispose of used painter's tape.

Noticeable color variations
in separate gallons of paint are rare now that mixtures
are created by computers. But to be safe, once you've
used half a gallon of paint, refill that can with paint
from a different can and remix. If you're doing a large job,
you can mix several gallons into one five-gallon bucket. That way you'll be
guaranteed color uniformity. You also have options for how
you reload your paint roller. You can use a traditional
and reliable paint tray. Or, to avoid the possibility
of stepping in your paint or having a pet wander
through and causing a mess, you can roll from a
bucket using a paint grid.

For optimum results in color quality
and finish, a second coat may be needed. Just be sure and allow the
first coats to dry completely, usually between two and four hours.

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