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The Inspector

By NPI, Inc.


NPI Marketing Team
NPI Marketing Team

    

How to Paint a Room the Right Way

It’s no secret that a fresh coat of paint can transform any room of your home. Something that won’t add to the wow factor? A streaky, uneven job. Learn how to paint a room with these tried and true techniques to get the results you want every time you pick up a roller.

Inspect your walls.
If your walls have cracks, holes or other imperfections, they’ll need taken care of before you start priming and finally, painting. You can use a lightweight spackling compound and a putty knife to repair them, taking care to remove excess spackle with the putty knife. Allow the area to dry completely before going in with very fine grit sandpaper to smooth the surface over.

Clean your walls, especially of dust and debris.
Dirty walls can impair paint adhesion and cause uneven application. Once you’ve spackled over any imperfections, you’ll want to thoroughly clean your walls. First, use a floor duster to remove any dust, then wipe the walls with a damp cloth (be sure your cloth won’t leave behind fibers). Now is also a great time to remove everything from your walls, including electrical plates, registers and sconces.

Tape everything off.
The first thing to know about this step is that not every painter’s tape is created equal. You’ll need to check the adhesion level on any tape you purchase and be sure that it’s right for your wall’s surface, whether textured or smooth. Apply the tape where the ceiling meets the wall, in overlapping strips. Be sure to press the tape down firmly to prevent paint bleeding through.

Protect your floors and furniture.
Drop cloths are always a must, no matter what. While you can use a lot of different types of material as a drop cloth, those especially meant for painting are best since they’re so absorbent. They’re even reusable! You’ll also want to rearrange your furniture so that it’s out of the way, and cover it with paper or plastic as an extra precaution. If your room is especially small, it’s best to remove the furniture from the room altogether.

Cut in the room with primer.
To cut in the room means to outline the room with a brush—around windows, baseboards and where the wall meets the ceiling. We recommend priming and then painting one wall at a time. Otherwise, your brushstroke trim painting may not blend well with your rolled on primer and paint layers due to different drying times, leaving a discrepancy to the sheen. While it might seem counterintuitive, you’ll achieve a more seamless finish.

Go in with primer.
A lot of paints come with primer already mixed in to save you time and money. Some professional painters insist that going in with an actual primer is a must every time, but most agree that a paint and primer in one should do just fine for your home’s interior walls. That said, there are some instances where primer should be used for the best results. Use a stand-alone primer if:

  • You’re painting over drywall that has never been painted before
  • You’ve had to fill in lots of cracks, nail holes and imperfections
  • You’re painting a wall that hasn’t been painted in a long time
  • You’re changing the color of the wall from very dark to very light

You can have your primer tinted so that it matches your paint color of choice more closely, creating an even more seamless finish.

To actually apply the primer, you’ll roll it on in three foot by three foot sections. Move from top to bottom, starting on one side of the wall and working your way across to the other. Use V- or W-shaped strokes to cover each section. Always be sure to overlap areas with wet primer, a technique called working to a wet edge. This will help prevent streaking. Oh, and be sure to leave on your painter’s tape!

Sand the walls to prepare for painting.
Once your primer is dry, you’ll want to sand away any bumps or ridges with a fine-grit sandpaper folded into quarters. Wipe any dust away with a damp towel and allow it to dry.

Go in with paint.
Before you begin to paint, make sure the paint itself is up for the job. If your paint has sat for an extended period, you’ll need to stir it with a mixing stick or a special paint mixing tool you can purchase at your local hardware store.

You’ll first cut in the room with paint just as you did with primer. Use a brush to carefully apply paint around the trim (but not on the tape) with a back and forth motion. Save overlapping your paint onto the tape for last, but make sure there’s only a little paint on your brush. This will help prevent paint from seeping under the tape.

Apply your topcoat by using the same technique you used to roll on primer. Work from the ceiling to the floor, rolling on paint by three foot by three foot sections. Use V- or W-shaped patterns, overlapping and blending sections as you go. You may need to apply a second coat to get your desired results. Just be sure to let the first coat dry first, which should take around two to four hours.

Remove tape and clean up.
You’re almost finished! Just before the paint has dried completely, remove all painter’s tape. If tape is left on too long, it can stick to the wall and be rather stubborn to fully peel off. If you need to loosen the edge because of dried paint, you can use a utility knife to gently pry up the tape while pulling it off at a 45-degree angle.

Finally, step back and admire your handiwork!

 

Call National Property Inspections for Guidance on Your Home’s Major Components
For answers on the condition of your home’s major systems, call your local National Property Inspections team. Our inspectors can help you buy or sell with confidence by assessing your home and providing a full report.

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