Interior Painting Tips: Best Practices from an Expert


You possibly can say that portray discovered Mauro, somewhat than the opposite approach round. Not too long ago arrived from his native Brazil, he was engaged on a development crew, hoping to turn out to be a carpenter, when the painter on the job didn’t present up. “My boss checked out me and stated, ‘Are you able to paint?’ I stated, ‘I can attempt,’ and picked up a brush,” he says. “I discovered I actually loved the work.”

After the job was accomplished, he began training at house—“on the partitions, inside closets, home windows, trim, in every single place”—and making a research of his new craft. “My dad taught me to be very detail-oriented,” Mauro says of his handyman father. That meticulousness paid off: He obtained an increasing number of jobs, finally opening his personal enterprise.

Then someday he discovered himself portray on the house of Russ Morash, creator and longtime producer of This Previous Home—although he had no thought who “Russ” was. Impressed together with his work, Morash gave the younger painter an on-camera function on the Newton undertaking home. A section on Ask TOH adopted, and Mauro finally earned an official place on the TOH group.

We caught up with him on a latest job, portray a colourful youngsters’ room in Somerville, MA. Right here’s a take a look at the steps he takes to ship a first-class inside paint job—and you may too.

The right way to Prep a Room for Paint: Step-by-Step

Mauro Henrique

Mike Casey

  1. Take away {hardware}. Take off window locks and lifts, doorknobs and strikes, electrical cowl plates, and lighting fixtures. Tape the screws to every piece of {hardware} and label its location; retailer the gadgets collectively in a bucket—this makes reinstalling them simpler afterward.
  2. Filter obstacles. Every time doable, relocate furnishings to a different room so to simply navigate the house the place you’ll paint. Cowl no matter can’t be eliminated with plastic sheeting, and clear a pathway that’s at the very least 3 toes extensive.
  3. Defend flooring. Execs typically keep away from utilizing painter’s tape—it’s time-consuming to use. One place Mauro at all times tapes: alongside the underside of baseboards. Then he tapes a large border of rosin paper to this strip of tape, and covers the remainder of the ground with plastic-lined canvas drop cloths—these stop any spilled paint from seeping by means of. “Defending the ground will prevent time, and complications, in the long term.”
  4. Fill holes, gaps, and cracks. Intently examine partitions and trim for imperfections; patch holes, dents, and dings by utilizing ready-mix spackle on partitions or wooden filler on trim. On plaster partitions, Mauro makes use of joint compound and mesh tape on extensive cracks and versatile patching compound on smaller ones. Fill gaps across the trim by reducing a caulk tube near the tip and operating a small bead, urgent down and pulling the caulk gun towards you as you’re employed; then run a moist finger on it to clean it out.
  5. Sand and take away mud. To create a clean, even floor for portray, scuff-sand moldings, doorways, and home windows with 220-grit paper. Use a pole sander with 120-grit paper to clean partitions. (Should you’re engaged on paint that might be greater than 45 years previous, remember to take a look at for lead first.) Totally take away sanding mud with a vacuum outfitted with a HEPA filter, adopted by a moist rag or tack fabric

TOH Professional Tip: Don’t over-caulk gaps. Reducing the tip of the tube too massive ends in messy joints. Measure the hole, and use a caulk tube that’s marked with strains indicating the place to chop relying on the scale of the hole. Or begin small, close to the top of the tip, and regulate as wanted.

Selecting the Greatest Primer

Primer isn’t at all times crucial—in the event you’re recoating partitions and trim which might be in good situation and had been beforehand lined in an identical shade and formulation, for example. However with new drywall and recent plaster, primer is important to seal the floor. And in the event you’re making use of a light-weight coloration over a darkish one, the earlier paint job is broken or deteriorated, otherwise you’re coating a porous or slick floor, utilizing an acceptable primer will guarantee optimum protection.

  • Partitions: A general-purpose water-based, 100-percent latex formulation ought to do the trick right here. Should you’re making an enormous coloration change, ask your paint retailer to tint the primer to make sure even protection.
  • Naked wooden trim: Mauro depends on oil-based primer for this: “It fills and seals the pores in order that no matter paint you utilize will adhere properly.”
  • Painted wooden trim: For trim beforehand painted with latex, a water-based latex primer is okay. However in the event you’re not sure what kind of paint was used, you could wish to use one which’s oil-based.
  • Clear-coated wooden trim: If the trim has a coat of polyurethane or varnish, shellac primer will present the most effective adhesion. Be aware: Since each oil-based and shellac primers give off risky natural compounds (VOCs), which may injury your lungs, remember to work in a well-ventilated house.
  • MDF: For medium-density fiberboard moldings or built-ins, select shellac- or oil-based primer; water-based formulation could cause the fabric to swell and crumble.
  • Masonry: Acquired an uncovered brick wall or chimney indoors? Seal the pores with a water-based latex primer.
  • Steel: Use an oil-based primer on ferrous metals, which include iron, to forestall rust, and a water-based latex steel primer on nonferrous surfaces.
  • Plastic: Should you’re portray laminate, go together with a bonding primer, a modified acrylic formulation made to stick to slick surfaces.

Should-Have Portray Instruments

Painting tools

Paintbrush: Courtesy Purdy; Paint Curler and Cowl: Courtesy Wooster; Tape: Courtesy Frogtape; Caulk Gun: Courtesy Dripless

  1. Paintbrush: “All the time purchase high-quality brushes,” says Mauro. “They’re constructed to final and don’t depart bristles behind on surfaces.” For latex paints, meaning brushes with artificial bristles—a 2½-inch angled sash brush is his go-to for reducing in. For element work, he likes a 1½-inch sash brush, and to cowl massive, flat areas, a 3-inch straight brush. He makes use of pure hog hair (a.ok.a. China bristle) brushes with oil-based paints and disposable foam brushes for one-time touch-ups. SHOWN: 2.5-inch Clearcut Glide nylon-polyester bristle brush;
  2. Paint curler and curler covers: Mauro depends on lint-free microfiber covers. He chooses from three naps: ¼ inch for clean surfaces, 3⁄8 inch for semi tough surfaces (commonest indoors), and 1 inch for textured surfaces. Beginning with a sturdy curler body, he provides a screw-in extension pole for coating ceilings and different hard-to-reach areas. SHOWN: 9-inch Sherlock curler body and three⁄8-inch Professional/Doo-Z woven curler cowl (striped),; 3⁄8-inch Extremely End woven microfiber curler cowl (white),
  3. Painter’s instrument: Mauro makes use of this traditional multi- instrument for scraping out joints, reducing tape, prying open cans, cleansing curler covers, and extra. This model boasts many extra options than the unique 5-in-1. SHOWN: Clauss Non-Stick STIFF 14-in-1.Painter’s Instrument;
  4. Pole sander: A sanding head fitted with 120- grit sandpaper and a pole smooths partitions for portray. “Sweep the sander aspect to aspect as you’re employed your approach from the highest down,” Mauro advises. SHOWN: 3M Drywall Pole Sander;
  5. Painter’s tape: To masks off completed surfaces, like flooring, Mauro makes use of low-tack painter’s tape; he burnishes the sting with a putty knife to make sure there’s no bleed by means of. SHOWN: FrogTape Delicate Floor Painter’s Tape;
  6. Caulk gun: Mauro likes a handbook gun that has a built-in tip cutter and a hinged metal pin for puncturing the seal on a tube of good-quality, paintable white acrylic caulk. SHOWN: Dripless ETS2000 caulk gun;

TOH PRO TIP: “All the time purchase top-of-the-line paint. It prices a little bit extra per gallon, nevertheless it goes on higher, seems to be higher, and provides you a extra sturdy end. will last more.”

Make a Plan: What to Paint When

Following a logical order for any paint undertaking is essential, Mauro says. “It saves time and protects your work—you received’t be brushing up towards or dripping paint on moist surfaces, so that you received’t should redo them.” The overall method: work prime to backside.

1. Begin with the ceiling. First, minimize in a 1½- to 2½-inch-wide band alongside the perimeter with an angled sash brush (see “Approach Fundamentals,” reverse), then use a curler on an extension pole to cowl the broad expanses. Do two coats. “Should you miss any drips, spatter, or errant brush marks on partitions or trim, you’ll be able to repair them as you progress on,” says Mauro.

2. Then paint the trim, home windows, and doorways. Sort out crown molding first, adopted by home windows and their casings, then doorways and their casings. You probably have the house, take away doorways to a different work space the place you’ll be able to lay them flat; paint them whereas the remainder of room is drying. End by portray any wall paneling or different trim.

3. Lower in and roll the partitions. With a lot of the element work out of the best way, you’ll be able to paint the partitions. This is a chance to create a crisp border with beforehand painted surfaces if the road is uneven.

4. Paint baseboards final. Because you’re working with gravity, any fallen paint droplets that you simply missed cleansing up might be addressed now. Begin by reducing in alongside the highest of the molding, then work your approach all the way down to the ground.

Holding a paintbrush

Mike Casey

The right way to Maintain a Paintbrush

The appropriate grip permits you to management the circulate of paint. Begin by holding the comb like a pencil, together with your index finger touching the ferrule alongside the slim edge, your thumb on one aspect, and your remaining three fingers on the opposite. This works properly when reducing in. “Nevertheless it’s okay to regulate your grip as you go, relying on what you’re doing,” says Mauro. “It helps combat hand fatigue.”

The right way to Load a Paintbrush

By no means dip your brush right into a can of paint. “You danger contaminating the entire can if particles or mud will get in,” says Mauro. All the time pour paint right into a small paint pail; fill it about midway. “To load the comb, dip the bristles into the paint in regards to the width of two fingers,” he says. “This prevents dripping, and likewise prevents you from having to wash all the brush once you’re accomplished, which saves time.” Faucet it evenly towards the aspect of your bucket to work the paint into the bristles and take away any extra.

The right way to Lower in with a Paintbrush

Detail shot of cutting in with a paintbrush

Mike Casey

When portray a room, you wish to begin the place two surfaces meet and a curler can’t attain: the place a wall meets the ceiling, the place a wall meets one other wall, and alongside trim and baseboards. These areas name for a particular brush sequence, known as reducing in.

Beginning place: Starting in a nook, place the comb’s bristles towards the wall about 1/2 inch under and almost parallel to the adjoining floor. Gently push them as much as that edge.

First stroke: Angle the vanguard of the comb barely away from the sting of the adjoining floor as you pull the comb in a single clean stroke, about 12 to 14 inches lengthy. Apply mild strain at first and improve the strain barely close to the top of the stroke, pulling the comb down barely and away from the sting you’re reducing in. Return and clean out any seen brushstrokes on the decrease edge, brushing in the identical path.

Second stroke: Place your brush about 12 to 14 inches away from the primary stroke and repeat the steps above, transferring in the other way. Proceed throughout the wall, at all times putting the comb on drywall and pulling it into the recent paint left by the earlier stroke, till you attain the following nook.

The right way to Roll a Wall

Mauro Henrique rolling paint on a wall

Mike Casey

Reasonable, even strain is the important thing to clean, even protection

Fill the paint tray’s reservoir under the ridges. Dip the curler cowl in, then distribute the paint evenly by rolling the duvet over the ridges. “If the curler is roofed with paint, you will have sufficient,” says Mauro. “It shouldn’t be dripping.”

Beginning close to the highest, on the fringe of the cut-in space, place the curler flat on the wall; roll on the paint in a W or N form, overlapping the earlier stroke by 30 to 40 % as you fill within the gaps. Don’t press too laborious or attempt to stretch the paint towards the top; this will trigger ridges to type. Concentrate on making use of a clean, even coat, working in a 3- to 4-foot-square space.

Once you’ve lined the wall, run a evenly loaded curler alongside the perimeter to mix within the texture of the brushstrokes you made whereas reducing in.

Let the partitions dry for about 1½ hours, then repeat the reducing in and rolling sequence to use a full second coat.

TOH Professional Tip: Make a custom-fit disposable paint-tray liner with aluminum foil. Purchase a roll that can cowl the complete width of the tray, up the edges, and across the edges. Fastidiously press down a foil sheet in order that it conforms to the contours of the tray and received’t shift round. Once you’re accomplished, you’ll be able to peel it off and toss it.

A Fast Information to Paint Finishes

Paint is available in quite a lot of light-reflecting sheens. Right here’s how Mauro approaches which one to make use of the place

Mauro Henrique painting a door blue

Mike Casey

Flat: The bottom sheen, which implies the paint soaks up the accessible mild. “It’s very best for no-traffic areas like ceilings and hides floor imperfections.”

Matte: A barely reflective sheen that’s a bit extra sturdy, and hides minor imperfections. Whereas not as washable as paints with extra sheen, it takes touch-ups higher if the painted floor will get scuffed afterward. Glorious for low-to-moderate-traffic areas like bedrooms.

Eggshell: A comfortable, velvety sheen with a bit extra luster than matte paint, extra stain resistance, and extra washability. “It lends itself to areas with reasonable to excessive site visitors, resembling kitchens, bogs, and hallways, the place sturdiness is important.”

Satin: A glossier sheen with a pearl-like look. It’s simple to wash, so it’s well-suited for cupboards.

Semigloss: A smooth, radiant sheen that’s scrubbable. Mauro’s alternative for trim, doorways, and playrooms.

Excessive gloss: A superb shine with a glassy sheen. Mauro makes use of it so as to add vibrancy to entry doorways, accent partitions, or ceilings.

The right way to Paint Divided Lights

Whether or not you’re engaged on home windows or doorways, taping off glass is time-consuming. Mauro is aware of a greater approach

Mauro Henrique prepping glass.

Mike Casey

  1. Prep the glass. In lieu of tape, use a 2-inch square-tipped brush to use a large band of liquid masks alongside the perimeters of the glass (Related Paint Masking Liquid H2O; When the opaque liquid dries clear, brush on a second coat. When the second coat is dry, you’re prepared to color.
  2. Paint the muntins. Use a small 11/2 -inch angled sash brush to chop in alongside the within edges of the muntins; then paint the flat fronts.
  3. Paint the perimeter. Utilizing the identical brush, coat the stiles and rails. Enable the paint to dry for at the very least 90 minutes. Then repeat Steps 2 and three to use a second coat.

The right way to Paint a Straight Edge with out Painter’s Tape

Typically painter’s tape simply isn’t an choice: perhaps a aspect casing is simply too near an inside nook, otherwise you’re portray the skin fringe of a window sash. Then Mauro makes use of a large putty or taping knife as a information. Right here’s how:

  1. Holding the blade between your thumb and remaining fingers, place it alongside the sting you wish to paint. Grip it firmly, however be sure to can slide it.
  2. Contact the bristles of the paintbrush to the floor in entrance of the knife and slowly drag each palms down the joint on the identical tempo.
  3. Cease when paint begins to build up on the blade. Fastidiously raise it straight off to maintain paint from bleeding onto the adjoining floor. Wipe the blade clear.
  4. Proceed down the joint in the identical method. When you attain the top, flip the comb over and paint in the other way to clean out your brushstrokes.

TOH Professional Tip: “The sheen you choose can have an enormous impact on the ultimate product, each when it comes to the way it will look and the way it will put on. You’ll want to issue within the situation of your partitions or trim, in addition to how a lot site visitors it is going to be subjected to.” — Mauro Henrique

Paint Clear-Up Ideas

Take the time to rigorously take away protecting coverings and totally clear the instruments you’ve invested in.

Paint clean up at home

Mike Casey

  • Take away dried masking liquid: First, make certain paint is dry—it’s greatest to permit 90 minutes. You don’t need the paint to peel off together with the protecting barrier. Use a utility blade to attain the masks alongside the perimeters of the glass; then raise it off in a single piece (left).
  • Pull up painter’s tape: As soon as paint is dry, rigorously pull off painter’s tape at a 45-degree angle to maintain from taking paint with it (under left). If the sting is sealed with paint, rating alongside the paint line with a putty knife first.
  • Clear paintbrushes: To eliminate latex paint, run the comb beneath heat water with the bristles pointed down; use your fingers to work a number of drops of dish detergent into the bristles, maintaining water away from the ferrule. Press bristles up towards the sink wall and scrub off any stuck-on paint with a plastic or nylon scrub pad. Keep away from aggressive steel combs and brushes, says Mauro; they’ll injury the bristles. To wash off oil-based paint, swirl the bristles in odorless mineral spirits.
  • Take away extra moisture with paper towels, then spin the comb deal with between your palms: By no means place moist brushes in a container with the ideas up, the place moisture can seep into the steel and trigger it to rust. Lay brushes flat or dangle them on a hook to dry, then retailer them of their authentic sleeve to maintain the bristles in form.
  • Clear paint-roller covers: First, run the curved blade of a 5-in-1 instrument down the duvet to take away the paint. With latex paints, pull the duvet midway off the body and run it beneath heat water, utilizing a hand to push the paint out of the fibers. With oil-based paint, pour solvent right into a paint tray and dip and roll the duvet within the tray a number of instances; change with clear solvent for a closing rinse. Blot the duvet with paper towel, and stand it on finish to dry.


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