Painting a room is one of the most common do-it-yourself projects around the home. While it’s not that difficult to do, it helps to know the tricks of the trade on how to go about it before breaking out a roller or brush.
When painting a room, the work should be done in the following order:
- Prep: Clean surfaces and repair any defects.
- Prime: Where needed, prime the walls and trim.
- Caulk: Fill any gaps or cracks with caulk.
- Ceiling: Paint ceiling first to prevent drips on walls.
- Walls: Apply paint to walls using a roller.
- Trim: Paint trim last to avoid roller splatter.
- Cleanup: Clean brushes and rollers, remove drop cloths, and replace furnishings.
Interior walls are usually painted with latex paint and can usually be repainted without priming unless the existing walls are:
- Painted a dark or vibrant color.
- Have stains, grease, or other hard to cover marks.
- Defects in the drywall have been patched.
- Previously painted with oil-based paint.
In these cases, prime first with a stain blocking primer. To cover repairs, you may be able to spot prime without having to prime the entire room.
Before painting, shine a bright light along the surface of the wall to check for dents or defects, and fill them using a putty knife and spackling compound. Once the spackling has dried, sand the surface smooth. On rough surfaces dab the patched area with paint on a sponge or rag to mimic the texture of the wall.
In older homes, interior trim was painted with oil-based enamel, but improvements in the durability of latex enamel now make it the popular choice. Before painting over oil-based paint with latex, it’s important to prime the surface so the new paint will adhere properly.
To determine if the old paint is oil-based or latex, rub it with a rag dampened with denatured alcohol. If the paint comes off on the rag, it’s latex. If not, it’s oil-based.
When caulking gaps or cracks:
- Remove loose old caulking with a utility knife, scraper, or putty knife.
- Use a good caulking gun that can stop and start the flow of caulking easily.
- A quality acrylic latex caulk works best for caulking trim in most rooms.
- For high moisture areas, such as kitchens and baths, use a caulking that is mold and mildew-resistant.
- 100% silicone caulk should only be used on surfaces that will not be painted, such as between the tub and tile in a bathroom.
- Apply caulk only to dry surfaces and when the temperature is over 50° F.