How to Step up Your Painting Technique

A clean paint roller with a ladder in the background.

Painting your home, inside or out, can be a bit of a chore as well as an intimidating task. But just because you’re not an expert doesn’t mean that there aren’t simple ways to make your work look professional. To increase your painting skills without much effort, keep reading to learn all of our best tips and tricks.

Wash Roller Covers Before Beginning

A quick and easy trick that has a big effect is to wash roller covers before their first use. Doing so will get rid of the fuzz that will otherwise come off of these covers during their first round of painting, which is not something you want mixed with your paint or on your walls! Use warm water and liquid soap to clean the covers, gently running your hands up and down the item to remove loose fibers. Best of all, you don’t even need to let rollers dry before you start using them.

Mix Paint in a Large Bucket for Consistent Color

A DIYer mixing white paint in a bucket.

For consistent color across the entirety of a room, mix several cans of paint in one large five-gallon bucket. This helps because paint color could differ slightly from one can to the next, even if you buy the exact same shade. Thus, if you start a new can in the middle of painting a wall, it will be noticeable. Since that’s not the look you’re going for, mixing the cans together evens out the color across the board, making for a seamless paint job.

Paint From the Top Down

Paint the ceiling first. Next up is crown molding, followed by the walls, and then the casement molding around windows and doors. The baseboard molding should come last. This is a pro tip because it prevents you from collecting dust from the floor onto your brush, and then transferring it to your wall as you paint. It’s these small things that make a big difference!

Prime Walls to Avoid Blotchiness

A paint roller applying primer on a gray wall.

A fresh coat of paint on the walls can often lead to an undesirable blotchy finish. This most frequently occurs over any holes or cracks that were patched with filler prior to your paint job and is particularly noticeable when light hits these spots. To avoid a blotchy finish, start with a coat of primer to seal the patches and ensure that paint won’t sink into these spots, prompting a dull look. To prime like a pro, use a roller and feather out the edges. The nap thickness chosen should match the surrounding wall texture. A 3/8 inch roller is good for smooth walls while a ½ inch is best for a textured surface.

Clean Walls Ahead of Time for a Better Bond

Paint doesn’t bond well to walls that are dirty or oily. Washing walls with soap and water is an easy way to ensure that your paint job will last, preventing chips and peeling. If you want to do a more in-depth clean for an area that is a bit dirtier, use a deglosser or heavy-duty cleaner intended for prepaint purposes. Wipe the cleaner in a circular motion, using a lint-free cloth. Always start from the bottom of the wall and work upwards. This is especially important on walls in areas more prone to grease or moisture like kitchens and bathrooms, and is useful in removing hand marks around areas like doorknobs or light switches.

Press Down Tape With a Putty Knife

A man applying painters tape on a ceiling.

Using tape to block off areas that don’t require painting is a commonly known trick, but pressing down that tape with a putty knife is something amateurs won’t know to do. After you apply the tape to the wood or wall where desired, run a putty knife over the top to ensure that you’ve fully adhered it to the wall. This prevents any paint from seeping through, which means blank areas will stay exactly as you intended them to.

While none of these tricks are hard to execute, they sure do make a difference when it comes to upping the quality of your paint job. Take your technique from amateur to professional with these easy steps and you’ll absolutely love the results!