Tips on Interior Painting
Painting the Ceiling
Painting a ceiling is no more difficult than painting the walls. One thing you must be careful about, however, is where you place the paint can. You don’t want to knock it over as you study the ceiling above.
Cutting in the Ceiling
Use a 2 or 3 inch brush to cut in around the edge of the ceiling. If some paint gets on the wall surfaces wipe it off with a rag. Cut in around light fixtures and ceiling fans.
Checking the Roller
Place the roller cover on the frame while making sure that the end of the cover is flush with the end of the frame. Ceiling work is faster if the roller is mounted on an extension pole. In this case, place the roller tray on the floor. Some people prefer to work from a ladder to get close up control of holding the roller handle. In this case, use the hooks on the bottom of the paint tray to secure the tray to the ladder’s shelf.
Loading the Paint Tray
Fill the bottom portion of the tray with paint. Try to keep the paint off the can label as it is poured as you may need to read the label directions or specifications later. Inexpensive guards (they look like the bill of a cap) keep paint off the label and out of the top of the can. Use a brush to clean up the top of the can then set the cover loosely on top. Put the can in an out of the way place, preferably just outside the room, so you do not have to worry about kicking it over while you work.
Dip the roller into the paint. Use the sloped part of the tray to take of the excess. Repeat the process until the roller is saturated but not dripping.
Rolling out the Paint
Apply paint in a zigzag “N” or “W” pattern. The idea is not to paint neat zigzags (which is hard to do with an extension pole anyway). The idea is to roughly apply the paint, which is spread out evenly. In subsequent strokes lay the zigzag pattern over an area that is within comfortable reach about 3 feet x 5 feet.
Roll using even strokes that overlap the edges at the beginning and end. Continue painting in sections, overlapping from each “new” area into the just-painted area, thus keeping a wet edge. As you come to the end of a stroke, do not simply stop rolling and then lift the roller. Instead, feather it. Watch for roller marks as you apply the paint. Roller marks are thin lines caused by a buildup of paint that flows off the edges of the roller. They are also caused by putting excessive pressure on the roller. If lines appear, try using less pressure. If the paint is not adhering properly, it’s probably not because you are pushing too softly. Most likely, it is because the roller needs more paint. Do not make the mistake so many beginners make by “dry rolling.” Keep the roller loaded with paint for an even coat.
Check frequently for runs or drips. If you see imperfections in a wet area, eliminate them by going over the area with a fairly dry roller. Be careful not to re-roll areas that have started to become tacky. Doing this causes an “orange peel” effect that may not blend in when the paint dries. If you create an “orange peel” area, sand it out and repaint the entire surface.
Painting the Walls
Virtually all jobs require two coats of paint. One exception is a job that requires a color that closely matches the new color. The second coat is applied the same way as the first coat. Avoid the temptation to skip the cutting-in process. Once the paint is dry, this shortcut becomes obvious.
Let each ceiling coat dry completely before moving to a wall. Cut in the wall to ceiling joint, being careful to draw a straight line at the freshly painted ceiling. Cut in around doors and windows, in tight areas (less than a roller width) between trim and wall joints, in the corners, and at all wall to baseboard joints. (Touch up mistakes at the end of the job.)
If the room is completely cut in and allowed to dry before the rolling begins, a line shows up where the cut in area meets the rolled area. The effect is very slight, virtually unnoticeable if you are using high quality paint. Even with a semi-gloss paint, this line bothers only the most extreme perfectionists. Keeping a wet edge will prevent the line from appearing. As you cut in along the ceiling, have a helper roll out the area, working along with you.
Apply the Paint
Use the roller technique to apply paint to the walls. Paint two strips and connect them. Or apply paint in a W pattern and fill in. Many pros like to use an extension handle on walls as well as ceilings because it is easier on the shoulders. If using an extension handle, place the roller tray on the floor. If not using an extension handle, place the tray on the paint shelf of a step ladder or on some sort of raised, stable work surface so that you don’t need to keep bending to load the roller.
Painting Door & Window Casings
The first decision to make when painting any trim work is whether to extend the trim color to all sides of the trim, or paint just the face of the trim. Most modern, post World War II trim is comprised of flat boards which can be handled either way. In general though, wrapping looks best on thicker moldings. Many older houses have trim with rounded edges that do not provide the sharp edge necessary for facing off. Therefore they must be wrapped. Either way, start at the outside edge of the trim and keep a wet edge as you paint.
There are two big reasons to paint doors carefully. Because door panels are large, flat surfaces located at eye level, doors get noticed. Secondly, doors are functional moving parts, so you want to avoid a buildup of paint, which prevents doors from closing properly.
Doors should be carefully prepared to remove old paint drips and fat edges and to ensure a good bond between the old and new paint. A good prep job requires sanding. Use a palm sander for the quickest results. If you do not have a palm sander, sand the door by hand. If old runs and drips require coarse sandpaper, start with 60 grit paper and finish up with 100 or 120 grit paper. You may need to do a little work with a pull scraper to get the door in good functioning order.
For best results, prime doors with a good quality primer. If the doors are flat, prime the edges with a brush, and then use a roller to prime the faces. Do the same when you apply paint. If the door has raised panels, it should be primed and painted, in this way:
As you paint the edges, use a rag to wipe off paint that accumulates on the front and back of the door.
Paint the door panels next, working from the top down.
The rails are the horizontal members at the top, middle and bottom on a two- or four-panel door. Brush out the paint with fine strokes that run the full width of the door.
The stiles are the vertical members on both sides of the panels. Again, work from top to bottom, and finish with long, continuous brush strokes. Look for drips, sags, and runs as you work. Paint often runs off the corners of the panels. Brush out any imperfections.
If you feel you might lack the skills for fine and detailed painting talk to a painting professional in your area.