Painting Pointers: Interior Painting Tips

Homeowners David and Melissa Laster deciding on paint colors.
Homeowners David and Melissa Laster deciding on paint colors.

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Painting is one of the most common DIY home improvement projects. We’re helping new homeowners David and Melissa Laster paint several rooms in their 70-year-old house before they move in.

Interior Painting Prep

The first step is to prepare the rooms for painting. To prep the rooms, we:

Danny Lipford caulking cracks in walls.
Caulking cracks in walls.
    • Removed old, exposed telephone lines on the baseboards.
    • Took off wall outlet and switch plate covers.
    • Removed the grills from ductwork.
    • Took down any unused picture hangers or other hardware.
    • Applied two coats of spackling to any holes or defects.
    • Filled cracks with latex caulking, such as Titebond Painter’s Caulk.
    • Applied liquid deglosser to glossy paint on walls and trim.
  • Covered areas that we’re being painted.

To match the patched spots to the existing wall texture, you can use a sponge to dab drywall joint compound on the wall or apply spray wall texture, such as Homax Wall Texture in a can.

Watch our video on Interior Painting Preparation to find out more.

Painting Walls

When rolling paint on a ceiling, apply the second coat perpendicular to the first coat to ensure complete coverage and prevent “holidays” or missed spots.

While you can roll walls, spraying makes the job go faster. Before spraying cover anything you don’t want painted, such as doors and windows, with plastic sheeting.

Spray painting walls.
Spray painting walls.

When using a paint sprayer, such as the Wagner FLEXiO 590, make sure to:

    • Keep the sprayer parallel to the surface.
    • Stay a consistent 6” to 8” from the surface.
  • Apply several light coats to prevent runs.

Watch Spray Guns for Painting to find out more.

Painting Trim

Once the walls have been painted, it’s time to paint the trim.

Start by masking off any surfaces adjoining the trim with a quality masking tape, such as FrogTape. Use low adhesion masking tape, such as FrogTape Delicate Surface, on recently painted areas to keep from damaging the fresh paint.

Allen Lyle painting trim.
Allen Lyle painting trim.

Be sure to use a quality paintbrush that’s the right width for the trim you’re painting. While you can use either a natural or synthetic bristle brush for oil-based paint, you should only use a synthetic bristle brush when painting with water-based latex paint.

Watch How to Choose a Paintbrush to find out more.

Further Information

Other Tips from This Episode

Using plastic wrap to protect surfaces during painting.

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Protecting Surfaces When Painting

Applying self-adhesive food wrap before painting is an easy way to protect surfaces. Tear a piece off to the length needed, and apply it to the surface you want covered. After you finish painting, simply peel off the plastic wrap. (Watch Video)

Wooster Sherlock Paint Roller Frame

Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Wooster Sherlock Paint Roller Frame

The Wooster paint roller frame uses a retaining spring to hold the sleeve securely while allowing for easy removal. Twin bearings reduce friction for easy turning. The Wooster Sherlock Paint Roller Frame is available at The Home Depot. (Watch Video)

Using garden hose to clean paintbrush.

Ask Danny Lipford:
Paintbrush Cleaning and Care

To clean paintbrushes after use, wash thoroughly in the proper solvent, then clean the brush with a garden hose. Brush the bristles with a wire brush, allow the brush to dry, and store in a paper sleeve or wrap in newspaper. (Watch Video)


  1. Thanks for the tips! I’m painting my kitchen for the first time today, so I need to know about all of the different tips and tricks to painting a room. I really like the tip to use self-adhesive food wrap to protect surfaces. I’ve bought tape to put around the borders inside my house, so it’s good to know that I can use food wrap in case I run out of tape.

  2. Thank you for your tip that spraying walls with paint can be far quicker than trying to use a roller. My sister is thinking of repainting her entire house as she purchased a new home last month, and the previous owner painted the walls all kinds of weird colors of pink! I really appreciate your DIY tips, but I think with how large her project is she should just look for professionals’ services!


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