Painting Pros- what are your favorite painting tricks?

andreadegFebruary 7, 2012

Painting Pros---

What are your favorite top 3 painting tricks? Things that the occassional home painter might not know? Would love to hear what you have to say to make my painting better!

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Lori A. Sawaya

1. Punch holes in the chime of the paint can with an awl so the paint drips back down into the can.

2. Can cover paint tray with foil. Makes color changes and clean up super easy.

3. Foam brushes are cheap but folks tend to push/work them too hard and all it does is make air pockets, bubbles. Whizz Premium Gold Stripe Mini Roller may cost a lil more but WELL worth it. Even for painting samples Whizz is best and I don't recommend foam rollers/brushes.

And have to throw in that using a circle-shaped paint sample board is visually more efficient. It can help you superimpose color across the expanse of a 3D space a lot better than a square.

1 Like    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 7:37PM
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90% of a paint job is the preparation.
Paint won't stick to dirty surfaces or wet substrates. Clean, sand, wipe down. Let wall patches dry fully. Uncured drywall mud feels clammy, so don't paint it!

Self priming paints can really work and save time, but follow label instructions for this step-saver. You will need to pre-coat repairs.

If you need to do a second coat over semi-gloss, often it feels like the wet paint is sliding around on the first (slick) coat. To get the second coat to stick and not slip, use the old-time technique of doubling up: When the first coat is set, but not yet cured hard, a second coat will bond and stick more easily, resulting in a thicker smoother finish layer. This is a "pro" trick, and has to be timed just right, or you have a very real risk of ruining the first coat too. Only, _only_ do this over cured primer. And no "tripling up".

My fourth tip has to be this: "let things dry fully before proceeding"; most adhesion problems are caused by adding too many coats inside of to few hours. Every added coat hinders the drying of all preceding coats. That's why the doubling up tip is really only for the very experienced.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 11:30AM
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Excellent, would love to hear more tips for those willing to share them!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 2:19PM
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same here, andredeadeg! i'm just getting ready to paint a new stair skirting which is fairly tall and beadboard, i would love to hear the best tips for avoiding brush marks..painting wood has always been challenging to me and i've never been truly pleased by past i would love to hear some pointers on how to get a really smooth finish

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 8:02PM
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This is a RARE time I'm lightly contradicting a point by Fun-C!!!
(and I DO feel funny about it!)

1) For storing paint- GET IT OUT of the can, into a glass CANNING jar. The less air-space the better. Piercing a paint can might drain the gutter, but it can subtly bend the shape, and therefore lessening the seal. It's such a small amount of paint anyway....

2) When striping a wall or other piece, apply just a TEEENCY bit of Painters'-caulk on the tapes edge, then wipe it off. This seals the edge. NO bleeding! You can also just use the paint itself brushed on VERY thinly/hazy at the edge. It'll dry too fast to wick under, thus creating the seal.

3) When painting walls, work in 3' wide COLUMNS. Apply FOUR roller-loads in this column (assuming 8' high walls). In effect, you'll be painting 4 "blocks" stacked vertically.
The REAL important part:
When done with this column of paint, "Lay-off" the paint by doing a LIGHT/CONTINUOUS ceiling-to-floor stroke.

4) Use top-notch rollers/brushes/etc.

5) For touch-ups- Ball up an old "nubby" washcloth, and lightly puff on a HAZY bit of paint. Just barely apply anything! Build up a few hazy layers like this, until the film looks even. This usually leads to less noticeable spots, because you won't have any "edge".

6) Don't fall into the trap of "SPOT-PRIMING"!!!! I can understand if it's just one repair area, but if you've got half-dozen or more, just prime the whole wall!! Your paint film will now have a uniform sheen.

7) Don't apply sample paint to the wall itself!! Use primed foam-board, or maybe stiff tagboard. Using the wall itself makes for often visible "humps" of paint at certain angles, because you've got more layers in those spots!

8) Treat paintbrushes with liquid fabric softener b4 using! Rinse it out well, and dry the brush. This creates a microfilm that enables paint to clean off better! When cleaning, use FS and Dawn to break-up the paint. You're cleaning & treating at the same time here!

9) Don't bother cleaning rollers IMO! It takes SO much water, and TO ME, the rollers just don't do as well unless you've got roller/brush spinner. Even's still a lot of fussing for a $3-$5 roller-sleeve!

  1. If you have a roller-cover that costs LESS than $2.50...THROW IT AWAY.

  2. IGNORE VIRTUALLY EVERYTHING you SEE/hear about painting from most Decorating shows. 3 people painting on a wall....REALLY?!?!? I've also seen lots of shows where all the ROLLING is first, and the cutting-in LAST. The paint-job will have a different look at the edges doing this!!
    (visualize Faron burying his face in his hands when this is done!!!)

  3. Cut in EVERYTHING first! Paints now dry too fast. When rolling, SLIGHTLY lift the end of the roller that goes over the cut-ins. You only want to add a slight bit of "roller-stipple" on the cut-in, NOT another whole coat of paint.


    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 12:52AM
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Lori A. Sawaya

Oh Lord, Faron, "lightly" is an understatement, I'd hardly call that contradicting.

I've never done the jar thing but I bet all the pretty colors in those glass jars look really yummy sitting on a shelf! And if you buy the right amount (which we all do ;D), the leftovers should easily fit into one canning jar. I like!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 1:30AM
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The washcloth touchup technique is a brilliant idea! Thank you, Faron!

I find that that natural wool roller covers wash up easily.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 9:26AM
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Oh these are fabulous tips! Thank you so much! I'm still listening/reading if anyone else wants to weigh in with their tips.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 10:51AM
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Thanks Gray!

One could use a paint roller too, and LIGHTLY dab on HAZY little layers of paint, but the "old nubby washcloth" method will yield similar results, and ya don't have to hunt up a paint roller!
Just make sure to use LIGHT DABBING motions. Barely apply anything each go-'round.

You're of course right about the NATURAL wool covers, but I haven't seen many around. Some I recall were around $10ea.??
I'm just so programmed with my Purdy White-doves, or Wooster Pro-Dooz's that I forget about the "Wools"!

...UNLESS you're going for the KISS makeup look, leave the brushes in the cupboard!


    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 2:14PM
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Thanks, some great tips here.

No paint pro here, warning!

I have a question about a trick and a comment about another.

Instead of puncturing the chime, I stuff in some tightly rolled paper towel. I usually use a screwdriver to do the stuffing. After I am done pouring, I just wipe it off and pull it out. It takes a minute, but I like neat and tidy. I am then left with some nice 1 gal cans to pour 5 gal pails into.

I've been using canning (and pickle,...) jars for latex paint for some time. I have been using plastic wrap under the lid because I am afraid that the paint will dissolve the seal. (I saw that happen to a rubber scraper that I have been using so I switched to silicone for that job.) The question is, does latex or oil paint attack the rubber-like seal in canning jar lids?

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 3:10PM
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? for Faron - In #8 what is FS?? (When cleaning, use FS and Dawn to break-up the paint.)

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 6:53AM
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javachick FS=fabric softener. Genius tip too!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 8:57AM
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For saving left over paint I buy brand new one quart paint cans and lids from Home Depot for less than $2. I pour the left over paint from the gallon into the quart can. Then I carefully remove the paint mixing formula label from the gallon and tape it on the quart can. I write down the date the painting was completed and the room in the house. The quart can will have less air and a tight seal since the rim has no paint on it.

I also have used plastic coffee containers (Folger's and Maxewell house) of various sizes. I keep the small one pound size filled with water and put my brush into it when I am taking a break. The plastic version does not rust if you leave you brush to soak for a long period of time. I use the the three pound size as a paint container when I am doing cut ins. The bigger size has a built in handle. The plastic is so smooth it washes easily, or you can throw it away if you don't want to be bothered.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 9:06AM
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FS = fabric softener

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 10:13AM
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I decant extra paint (from opened paint cans) into as many tip-tip full canning jars (of varying sizes) as necessary to contain it. Then I clean out the gallon can carefully so the label is intact (or remove it beforehand) and then put the canning jars back in the now-empty can and reseal it. That way I keep all the label info connected to the paint.

Drill little holes in the handles of your paint brushes so you can thread in a wire (cut from coat-hanger type wire) and suspend the brushes without the bristles touching the bottom of the container and without the ferrules (metal part of the brush above the bristles) being under the water or solvent when leaving them to soak during breaks or between workdays on the same job. If using solvent as a soak (oil-based paints) have a container with a tight-fitting plastic lid that you pierce with a tight-fitting hole for the brush handle to protrude up through.

If you are painting a room with the same color from more than one gallon can, then take the trouble to "box" it all together before starting in order eliminate slight color differences bewteen cans. Boxing means pouring it all together into one pail stirring and re-filling the cans (easiest, but messiest) or removing a good part of the gallon from one can and refilling with part of each other gallon and repeating until all the gallons have been admixed, and re-stirred. This ensures that if you have subtle differences between gallons that even if you start a new can in the middle of a wall, there will be no problem. If you can't do this, then try to start new cans at a wall break, keeping the remainders separate, and then pouring them all together and starting as if that was a new can. Working without boxing will make it harder for later near-invisible touch-ups, which is why boxing it all at the beginning is wisest. If you run out of paint and must buy more then, always re-start at a corner, or wall break.

When spinning out roller covers (sorry Faron, I do this with all my good quality ones, especially on multi-day jobs using the same paint) put a large trash bag inside a big trash can and spin away within it. This contains the droplets where they can't get into trouble. Roller spinners are expensive, but worth it. I use them for paint brushes, too, prior to final hand shaping for drying.

Save the covers from your brushes to store them in after cleaning and drying.

Don't start painting w/o at least a roll (preferably two) of paper towels immediately at hand. These are rescue sopper-uppers in the event of an emergency paint spill. I once overturned a nearly-full gallon of oil-based enamel on an unsealed brick hearth (don't ask how stupid I was that day to allow it to happen!) Because I had the towels right there (and a gallon of solvent) I was able to get it all up with not a bit remaining in the pores of the bricks. But only by the good luck of having a new multi-pack of Bounty in the room.

Buy good canvas drop cloths, and wash and store them for re-use. They are safer and will make your painting easier and less fraught. I use these under ladders and by walls I am painting. For other parts of the room and piled-up stuff not near the paint work, I use old bed sheets to cover. Bed sheets will catch little droplets, but only canvas will contain anything more serious.

Take the trouble to learn to cut-in by hand. If you can apply eyeliner, you can cut in. It's much, much, faster than taping and makes a better looking job since you can easily fill in tiny little wall squiggles as you go along. It's partly in having good tools (properly sized, well-flagged and angled brushes) and also learning just how much to load it for the paint you are using. (Each new paint will require a bit of observation and trial and error to get the hang of cutting with it.) I like to start a big job with at least two cutting brushes ready for use so if one becomes over-saturated I can set it aside and keep on.

Practice cutting with a new paint in an inside corner where both adjacent walls will be the same color, not at the ceiling/wall intersection or along door or window jambs. By using the corner your hand will get the hang of that particular paint, with less need for clean ups as it will all get covered with the same color. The same for trim: don't pratice at the intersection of wall and trim, practice at a place where two surfaces of the trim meet each other.

Try not to paint if you are really tired, distracted or under heavy time pressure. That's when mistakes happen.

Very good light (high wattage) from two angles makes it easier to cut and roll more evenly.

When I was in college in the early 70's the University was trying to increase their Equal Employment numbers by adding female workers to their maintenance crews. I had a part-time job with the painters. Those guys schooled me in the ways of professional work. They insisted that (real) painters didn't wind up with paint all over themselves, even their hands. They heckled me mercilessly until I learned to work clean.

They also taught me not to leave "holidays", that's places where the rolling was too thin and the primer or previous paint shows through.



    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 11:13AM
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FS duh! Since I only use FS sheets maybe that's why it didn't register. Either that or I'm FS (fairly stupid).

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 12:19PM
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I decant paint leftovers into plastic zip-lock bags and gently squish out as much air as possible. Then I let the can dry our and tuck the bag of paint into the can.

If I need some paint, I can massage the bag to mix the paint, dip out a bit and seal it up again.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 4:48PM
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This is an easy one!

1. I always carry a good spill absorbent product with me. Usually it’s SpillFix. This thing will soak up any paint spill or drips and leave the ground looking good as new. Definitely worth the investment.
2. Don’t ever skip out on washing the walls down before you paint. You’d be surprised how much texture dust can create under the paint. And, not the good kind!
3. I use my putty knife to make sure the painting tape is stuck securely on the baseboards. The better the paint sticks, the less likely it is to have the paint leak through.

Hope these help my fellow painters!

    Bookmark   November 26, 2014 at 10:32AM
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Hello, 1] Good quality brush. They WILL be more expensive. 2] Bucket hook. Hook to can, hook to ladder and thats that it wont fall unless you do. 3] Never paint latex over oil without priming it WILL scratch off. 4] Caulk the cracks with paintable caulk, not silicone. Good Luck.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2015 at 4:16PM
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