Interior Painting Tips: from Prep to Clean-up

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Painting the interior of your home can be one of the most rewarding and cost-effective ways to completely transform your living space. By following a few simple interior painting tips, you’ll maximize your time and efforts, while ensuring the end result will look as if you hired a costly professional.

The most important step to getting a great interior look is preparation. As a general rule, walls should be clean, dry and dull. If your existing surface was painted previously with semi-gloss or gloss paint, the surface should be lightly sanded to a duller finish and all sanding dust removed. For previously painted walls, thoroughly wash them with a mild soap and water solution, then rinse with clean water and allow them to dry. If there is loose or peeling paint, scrape and sand the area. Be sure to apply appropriate patching material to cracks, nail holes, or other surface imperfections, then sand smooth and remove sanding dust. Pay close attention to drying times for patching materials before priming or painting.

A base coat of primer should always be used to protect bare, unfinished drywall. Those interior walls that were previously painted can also benefit from a primer if they’re stained, previously painted with a dark color, or in general disrepair.

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Choose high-quality paint, brushes and rollers.  High-quality paint and tools perform better and make the job last longer. For example, better paint has more titanium dioxide in it, which improves the paints ability to hide the ld colors, and provides for a smoother finish free of paint brush strokes and roller marks.

Create a clean, open working space. If large furniture items can’t be removed from the room, be certain to cover them and the floors with a canvas drop cloth or plastic sheeting. Avoid using sheets or newspaper, as they can allow paint to soak through and could be a slip hazard.

Tape it off. A good tip before starting your interior painting project is to use painter’s tape to keep paint off the trim and windows will help provide clean, straight lines. Be sure to press the tape down well along the edge to prevent paint from bleeding under.

interior painting

Have a painting strategy. The ceiling should be painted first, followed by the walls, then paint the trim, doors and windows, and lastly the baseboards. After painting the ceiling, paint the edges of the walls where it meets the ceilings. It’s important when cutting in ceilings or walls to feather out the paint to avoid a common painting problem known as hat banding, where the paint you cut in dries before the paint your roll onto the walls. Painting one wall at a time will also help eliminate the problem of hat banding.

Break in your roller cover. A tip to get that smooth finished appearance is to take your roller frame (with roller cover on) and roll into your paint tray. Using a piece of cardboard or newspaper, roll out the paint until the excess is removed. This will help assure that you will not get any skip marks while rolling your walls. Reload your roller cover and paint.

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Apply two coats of paint. Don’t rush the process by applying a second coat too soon. If you’re using latex paint, wait at least four hours before you apply a second coat. Wait at least 24 hours between coats with oil paint. Allow freshly painted surfaces to cure for 30 days before washing with a mild, non-abrasive cleaner and water.

Clean it up. If you’re only taking an overnight break on your interior painting project, don’t bother to clean the brush, just squeeze the excess paint out and wrap it tightly in aluminum foil. Use a rubber band to secure the foil at the base of the handle. If it will be a few days before you resume your project, toss the wrapped brush into the freezer. But, don’t forget to defrost the brush for an hour before you start painting again.

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