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.
Do you see the drip behind the tube of caulking. What’s the best way to avoid that. I usually don’t have trouble painting with flat, but yesterday I was using satin. The wall on the lower portion of the chair rail has DRIPS. I used my paint scraper when it was dry to the touch and today I plan to touch up those areas.
Good tips but how do you protect/keep paint from chipping off the metal corners where dry wall comes together. It seems like that always chips off even if no one bumps into that area.
Are there special preparation required to paint laminate walls? I live in a mobile home…nothing but laminate!!!
What do I put on the back of pictures, clocks, etc. to keep them from sticking to paint. Before we painted the paint stuck to the items when we tried to get them off the wall. Any help appreciated.
The ceiling in my bedroom is peeling. It is the only room that is doing this. There are no water marks/stains, so I don’t think it can be moisture. Above the room is an unfinished attic, that does have flooring,but is only used for storage. Nothing is wet.
Although the ceiling hasn’t been painted in a long time,I don’t think it’s age because no other ceiling is doing this.
I WATCHED YOUR SHOW ON SUMMER MAINTENANCE TIPS AIRING ON JULY 21 AND YOU SHOWED A PAINT BRUSH HOLDER THAT SCREWS ON TO A LONG HANDLE, THE BRUSH IS SCREWED IN PLACE IN THE HOLDER AND CAN BE SET AT ANY ANGLE TO DO AROUND CEILINGS OR ANY PLACE,I DID NOT HEAR THE NAME OF THE PRODUCT AND HAVE NOT HAD ANY LUCK FINDING IT AT TRUE VALUE OR ACE. I COULD REALLY USE THIS PRODUCT, CAN YOU TELL WHERE TO FIND IT OR THE NAME OF IT. THANKS SO MUCH!!!
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Thank you for your interest!
The molding of a door from the laundry room to the garage is immediately adjacent to the garage light switch. People reach to turn the garage lights on and off and most often touch the door molding. Over time one area on the molding becomes dirty. Repeated wipings causes the paint to become tacky and eventually come off leaving a dirty mark or bare wood.
My family room was built in the 70s and the walls are dark paneling. Can I paint the paneling and, if so, what are the necessary steps to have it look professional?
What color paint should i choose for a room long and narrow?
My father was a small painting contractor in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. He always used work lights inside. I have never seen any shows or tips about lighting the area where you are working. How can you do a good job if you are working in poor light?
The primary job of the person back rolling, aside from rolling, is to make sure the person spraying applies a sufficient amount of paint. If you do not have a roller pole and do not want to buy one, try attaching your roller to a push broom pole.
My contractors used silicone caulk in my bathroom trim and walls. Now I can not get paint to look right. How do I remove the silicone caulk?
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Thanks for your question!
Hi How do you paint at night and have it look good. When I paint at night it looks good , in the morning it looks like I missed a lot. What is the secret?
It sounds like you need to shine more light on the surfaces you’re painting at night.
Point lights directly toward the project area, and move them as you work.
My friend is having a baby and wants me to paint the room for him. (Just because I recently painted my son’s room.)
It’s helpful to know you need to repair defects and clean surfaces before anything else. I didn’t have to worry about that in my own home because I painted over a builder-grade job. But my buddy’s house is pre-war. We’ll have to look into interior painting supplies!
My husband and I are in the middle of fixing our nursery room for our baby girl Dhalia, and so far the whole room has to be repainted. I never knew that we should shine a light on the walls first before painting so we may determine if there are dents or defects. Never thought about it before, but now that I’ve seen this, ya know what? DIY seems doable!
My husband and I are wanting to sell our home and we NEED to fix the peeling paint in the living room. Thank you for this tip. Use a primer if your walls are painted dark or have any stains or marks … got it. We want the walls to be painted white, so we’re driving to Home Depot as we speak!
My wife and I would like to have our house repainted and while we thought about hiring a professional contractor, we realized it would be too much money from our household budget. (Kids need to go to college!) We love the idea of painting like a pro. Thanks for these tips!!!
Glad to hear you enjoyed this content, Kristofer — happy painting! 🙂
Great information. It helped me a lot and refreshing memory of painting and gave me new ideas for today painting. Thank you I appreciate commitment you do.
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