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Painting Tips & Tricks: General Painting Tips

Painting TipsWhile I have described some of the dangers and safety measures that must be taken when painting, I haven’t covered every potential danger. After all, I know my visitors are intelligent; otherwise you’d never have found my website. Use your intelligence and exercise caution when working from ladders and when exposed to dangerous chemicals. Be smart and be safe.

  • Wear protective clothing, masks, gloves, eye protection, or other protective gear as necessary for the job you are doing.
  • Never leave brushes standing on their bristles in paint, solvent, or water. Doing so will add a permanent curve to the bristles.
  • Before using a paint brush with latex paint, dip the bristles into clean water and then shake out the excess. This will ease the cleaning process and help keep paint from accumulating in the upper portion of the bristles. For oil paints, dip your brush in mineral spirits prior to painting.
  • Paint rollers that have been used in latex can be cleaned by holding them in front of the spray from a garden hose nozzle. Spraying on the outer edge of the roller causes the roller to spin and will remove all paint. Hold it away from your body, but be prepared to get a good dousing with spray.
  • Ceilings painted with lighter paint generally gives a room more “volume.” Dark paints on the ceiling make the ceiling feel lower. If the same color tone is desired, paint ceilings a couple of shades lighter with the same color tone.
  • Use masking tape to remove the loose “fuzz” from a new roller cover.
  • Use plastic grocery bags to keep brushes/rollers from drying out when taking breaks or switching between tools. Rollers or brushes used with latex paint can be double wrapped and placed in the refrigerator and will stay wet several days.
  • Cheap paint brushes and rollers give poor performance. Good quality tools that are cleaned and maintained will last for years.
  • Always purchase the highest quality paint your budget will allow.
  • Ask for a “free” paint can opener and a couple of stirring paddles when you purchase your paint.
  • To avoid color variation, mix multiple containers of the same color paint prior to painting.
  • When painting over dark colors or when making dramatic changes in room color, first apply a primer coat that has been tinted with the formula of the new color. While it won’t be a perfect match, it will help insure that the final coat is true to the color you selected.
  • Use a hat or other covering to protect your head when painting overhead.
  • Make sure your step-ladder is stable—most of the older, wooden ladders lack stability and should be discarded.
  • Cover your paint bucket when not in use to avoid drying. I wrap the tools I’m not currently using in plastic grocery bags to keep the paint from drying, and when I’m cutting in and not using the roller pan, I wrap it in a kitchen garbage bag.
  • Stir or mix paint thoroughly prior to use. Paint that has been stored should be filtered.
  • Small touch ups can be done with a paint brush, but care must be taken not to give a different texture. I use a dabbing motion when touching up with a brush, sometimes with the end of the bristles and sometimes using the flat side of the brush to simulate the textured look that rollers give.
  • I use an angled “sash-brush” for almost all my interior paint work. The bristles are cut an angle which makes it easier to get into corners and tight spots, and the brushes are easier to control. Almost all interior brush work can be done with a 3” sash brush, but for super tight or difficult areas, I use a 1”.
  • Buy paint tools and “sundry” items at a hardware store or home center. Paint stores almost always charge more for accessories.


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