Painting the Interior of Your Home – Part 3

The Final Step in Achieving Your Desired Outcome

Two weeks ago, we discussed the process of determining which paint is best for your project and choosing the colors. Last week I told you about the different tools and equipment you will need. Now, give me a roller, I’m ready to put some paint on the walls.

Not so fast. Using these steps and simple tips will make for less mess, a more productive use of your time and a finished project that will rival the professionals.

Start at the beginning.

Preparing the room before you open the first can of paint will pay dividends in the end. This is my recommended order, but these steps can vary for your particular situation or preference.

1 – Remove ceiling fan blade and/or light fixture globes. Cover the fixture base with masking tape and plastic.

2 – Remove furniture from the room if possible or move it to the center of the room if not. The less you have to work around the easier it will make the job. If you leave furniture in the room cover the floor where the furniture will go, set the furniture on the covering, then cover the furniture.

3 – Remove area rugs, window treatments, wall hangings (including nails and/or screws) and switch and receptacle cover plates, anything that you can, that you don’t want painted or broken.

4 – Cover floor with drop cloths, plastic or a combination depending on your preference. Drop cloths are a less slick surface and are designed to be reused. Plastic is slicker to walk on and moves around more but can be thrown away when you’re finished.

5 – Check walls for damaged areas or nail holes that need to be repaired or filled. Fill larger repairs with light weight spackle or drywall compound. Fill nail and screw holes that won’t be reused with light weight spackle or caulking. Make sure repairs are smooth and ready for paint by sanding if needed.

6 – If the window and door casing and/or the base board are going to be painted then caulk gaps between the trim and the wall. If it’s not going to be painted…

7 – Tape off window and door trim and base board with masking tape and plastic unless you’re really good with a paint brush.

8 – Clean the walls. The best way to do this depends on the finished texture of the wall. If it’s smooth, it can be wiped down with a damp cloth. If it’s textured start with a shop vac using a brush attachment and then wipe down with a damp cloth. If it has been painted prior, then clean the walls with soap or a mild cleaner and water. Make sure it’s dry before applying primer or paint.

Start at the top and work your way down. Gravity works on drips, splatters and runs just like everything else. Not to say that Paint can’t fly up off a roller, etc., but the odds are in your favor when you begin with the ceiling. The directions included here are based on painting both walls and ceiling. Just like preparing the room, this is the order I recommend.

1 – Start by cutting in the ceiling. Paint a 2”-3” strip from the wall and around fixtures on the ceiling. This allows you to get the roller close (if you’re really careful) without getting paint on the walls. The brush and roller leave the paint with a different pattern. This is why it is better to cut in with the brush first and then to roll as close to the edge as possible for a more uniform finish.

2 – Using a roller and extension pole, start at a wall on the short side of the room. Roll long strokes, maintaining a wet edge. If you’re painting unpainted drywall, I recommend using a primer. The primer provides adhesion to the surface. After the primer has dried then apply the paint. Typically, ceilings are painted with a low sheen flat finish.

3 – After the ceiling is finished next come the walls. Some people prefer to start with the millwork, and some would rather do it last. It’s up to you which you prefer. Either way when painting the walls cutting in is next thing. Start by painting a 2”-3” strip on the wall from the ceiling. Next paint a 2”-3” strip both ways in wall corners unless two connecting walls are going to be different colors. Paint a 2”-3” wide strip around all window and door casing, baseboard and any other fixed object.

4 – Using a roller and extension pole, start at a corner of the room. Working away from the corner roll long strokes, maintaining a wet edge. Just like the ceiling, if you’re painting unpainted drywall use a primer. After the primer has dried then apply the paint. I recommend putting on two coats for better coverage and durability.

5 – Once the paint has dried remove the tape and plastic. Be careful when pulling the tape that you pull away from the finished surface. This will give a cleaner finished paint line. Like with painting if you start at the top and work your way down it will make clean up easier. Pull the plastic from the corners of the room rolling it into itself, keeping the majority of the mess inside, then throw it away.

6 – Now it’s time to move things back into the room and enjoy the fresh new look. Be careful with the fresh paint for a few days, it is softer and more easily damaged until it has finished curing.

Tips and technics:

• Hold the brush close to the bristles, it gives you more control.

• Only dip ¼ to ½ of the bristles (approximately 1”-2”) into the paint. Anymore is unnecessary, it’s messier, wasteful and harder to clean up.

• To minimize drips, tap or lightly wipe one side of the bristles on the top edge of the can.

• Put holes in the bottom of the groove around the top edge of the paint can where the lid sets down in using a small punch or a nail. This allows the paint that gets caught in the groove to escape back into the can when putting the lid back on.

• When cutting in with a brush start at a corner and work away from it initially. Then reverse your direction by starting the next stroke away from the corner and working back over the previously applied paint. Continue this process with each new dipping of the brush.

• To get the cleanest paint line use a tapered brush and parallel the width of the brush with the corner. Begin with the bristles a little way from the corner and then as you move the brush parallel with the corner gradually move closer to the corner.

• When rolling paint on large flat surfaces, i.e. walls and ceilings, start in a corner. As you apply more paint move to just past the previously painted area and while rolling back and forth work back over the previously painted area. Continue this process as you work across the surface being painted. This helps prevent having thin spots and paint lines.

• Roll the paint from top to bottom on a wall, especially with higher sheen finishes. When only rolling a top or bottom portion of a wall there is a risk of there being an area of heavier coverage in the middle and often this will be visible and create a horizontal paint line on the middle of the wall.
Painting is one of the things that many times people do themselves to save money. Really, how hard can it be to just roll some paint on a wall?
As you can see in in this “How to Paint the Interior of Your Home” series of posts…there’s more to doing a painting project “well” than it appears. Before you start painting you need to consider the amount of time and effort you will spend. Even though the price for hiring a professional seems expensive, you need to determine what your time is worth. Because, it will take longer than you think.

Sherwin-Williams has a great web site for more details on How to Paint Your Home’s Interior.

If you have any paint stories or questions that you would like to share post them in the comments section below.

Painting the Interior of Your Home – Part 2

The Next Step to Achieving the Outcome You Desire

Just like a painting project takes longer than initially expected, so did the explanation of it. What I thought would be a short post turned into two and now looks to be three. Next week we’ll see if we’re able to accomplish this.

Last week I told you to start with determining the right paint depending on what the rooms use was. Next was picking your colors which is one of the most important things to the outcome. What, in the beginning, would seem to be easy, often turns into one of the most difficult.

Figuring out what tools you need, is the next step. Painting is like any other project, having the right tools will make the project go smoother, easier and make for a better outcome. Even with basic tools like brushes and rollers there is an amazing amount of variety and options. Then of course there is too many specialty tools to go into.


  • Natural bristle (sometimes called China bristle) for oil-based finishes. These bristles are made from animal hair. The natural split ends of these bristles hold more paint and allow a nice smooth finish
  • Blended nylon/polyester bristle for latex paints. The combination of these bristles provides a durable long-lasting brush. The polyester is great at holding its shape and the nylon holds up well.
  • Polyester bristles work well in latex paints but aren’t as durable as the combination bristles. They provide a smoother application of paint than the combination.
  • Sizes typically range in width from 1” to 4”. Depending on what you are doing will determine which width provides the best result. Smaller brushes work best for trim and small areas. The bigger brushes provide more coverage on large flat areas.
  • Styles or bristle ends also serve different specific purposes. An angled brush works best for cutting in around windows, doors, etc. or in corners. The angled cut gives you more control over the paint line. Flat brushes work best when the goal is to get paint on larger flat surfaces.


  • Fabrics used for roller covers are similar to brushes in that some are natural, and some are synthetic. The synthetic is the most common and is ideal for latex paints. The natural covers are made of mohair or wool. These work best with oil-based paints. Blended covers provide the best of both worlds. They have the product pick up of wool and the longevity of nylon.
  • Pile depths of roller covers vary from short (almost smooth) to long (3/4” -1”). The short nap is for smooth surfaces. The rougher the surface the longer the nap needed.

Misc. tools and sundries:

  • Drop cloths or plastic for covering finished floors or furniture that will remain in the room.
  • Tape and plastic or painter paper for covering windows, doors, floor perimeters, trim, electric fixtures, hardware, etc. Most of us are aware of the blue painters masking tape. It was designed to be used on painted surfaces and not pull the paint loose when it was removed. Now there is green (multi-surface) and yellow (delicate) tape as well.  
  • Caulking, spackling, drywall mud for filling cracks, nail holes and repairing damaged areas. Caulking works best when filling joints and cracks where two different materials come together, for example wood trim and drywall. It allows for expansion when the two things expand and contract at different rates. Spackling is light weight and faster drying than sheetrock mud and works great for filling nail holes and small repairs. Drywall compound dries slower and depending on the size of repair will most likely shrink and need multiple coats but is more durable than spackling.
  • Ladders, stools and planks are needed to cut in the corner where the ceiling and wall meet, the tops of windows and doors or ceiling fixtures. Once the cut in is complete then everything in a typical room can be reached with a roller pole. Some rooms with high vaulted ceiling may require scaffolding.
  • Roller handles, poles, pans, liners and screens are all parts of the paint rolling process. Many times, people don’t distinguish the difference of these things. The roller handle is what the roller cover slides onto. The pole is what the handle screws onto and often is adjustable in length. The pan is what paint is poured into for the roller to pick up the paint from. There are pan liners that fit in the pans which can make the clean up process easier. There are also screens of different sizes that fit into different sized buckets. You can then dip the roller directly into the bucket of paint and remove the need for a pan.

Now we’ve determined the right paint, picked the colors we want and figured out what tools we need. After all of that, it’s time to get started painting.

Next week we will discuss the process of preparing the room and putting some paint on the walls.

If you have any questions or thoughts about what we’ve discussed so far, just send them to us in the comment section below.

Painting the Interior of Your Home

How to Achieve the Outcome You Desire

Whether you’re repainting a room, painting the interior of an addition or the whole house interior for the first time, painting is a transformational experience. The question is what kind of transformation are you after?

Painting can turn the dull into the exciting.

It can also turn expectations into disaster. In this week’s solution I will give you some insight from my forty years of experience to help prevent that from happening.

Where to begin. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done before you ever start doing any physical work. Before you pick up a brush or roller you need to:

Determine the right paint. This should be determined by what the room will be used for. Is it a kitchen or a bathroom where it is likely to be splashed and splattered? Is it a kid’s room where it will have little messy hands coloring pictures on it? Is it a family/living area where most of the activities won’t involve the walls beyond their appearance? Another thing to consider is the quality of the paint. Better-quality paints have more pigment and cover better, wear better and last longer.

  • Latex (water base) – Dries quickly, easy clean up with water, works great on drywall.
  • Oil / Alkyd – Slower drying, more durable, requires mineral spirts for clean up, great for wood trim and areas that need more cleaning.
  • Sheen – This is the amount of reflectivity or shininess of the finish. Not that many years back you had choices of flat, satin, semi-gloss and gloss. Now depending on the manufacturer there are a lot more including pearl, matte, egg-shell, low luster, medium luster, etc.

Pick your colors. This requires an increased awareness to your surroundings. What colors you like, or don’t like? You may not even know why and that’s okay. What matters is how it makes you feel. Look at the interiors of buildings and homes, where ever you go. Look online at similar spaces to the one you’re going to be painting. Sherwin-Williams has an online service that will allow you to experiment with colors on your project before you ever put any paint on the wall.

Get sample cards and see how they look in the room. Every room has its own natural and artificial light. The color will also be affected by colors of things in the area. After narrowing the choices to a few, get small quantities of samples and paint them on the wall to see how they look. At this point the colors can be altered some to get the right color.

You also need to consider the other people who will be sharing this space. They may not like the colors you do. This may not matter to anyone but you, but if it’s important to the others their input needs to be included in making the final decision.

After determining the right paint to use and picking your colors, you’ve completed the first step of your interior paint project. Next week we’ll discuss the tools you need to complete your exciting painting project.