Thursday, January 21, 2010

How to paint your walls without tape

I bought my first house when I was only 22. I had a lot of energy, and spent a lot of time learning about how to paint walls quickly and efficiently. I was so enthusiastic about home-ownership and had more energy back then, so I don't know how many times I painted the walls inside that little house (actually, every square inch, including the exterior had been painted at least once!). Here is what I learned:

1. Buy a high quality paint. The first paint I bought was from Home Depot. It was runny and thin, and it still didn't completely cover the walls after 5 coats. 5 coats! It took me forever to get my bathroom done.
Good paint won't dribble all over the place and will cover the wall better. It will be more expensive but will more than make up for itself.

I usually get my paint from Miller Paint. Benjamin Moore also has good paint but is a bit more expensive
2. I get cleaner lines by NOT using tape. I hate tape! It takes forever to mess around with it, is a waste of money and waste of resources. If you use a high quality brush such as the Purdy brand, painting lines is very easy. You can buy these paint brushes at most high quality paint stores.
Purdy Corporation 080320 2 2-Inch Nylon Dale Angle Paint Brush

To paint around trim, use a slow, steady hand. It may take some time to get used to it, but the good news is that you can wipe off the paint and try again or wait until it dries and paint over it. See my video demonstration.

3. I generally prefer not to use a drop cloth. I find that when I use a drop cloth, I can't tell which paint drips are dry and end up stepping in a wet drip and then track it all over the house. Latex paint comes up easily with a rag, and I find it far more efficient to just clean as I go.

4. When you are ready to take a break from painting, use a plastic bag (squeeze out the air bubbles) over the roller or the brush. That way you can just pick up right where you left off rather than spending forever cleaning the brush out.

5. When you are finished painting, spend a good amount of time cleaning out the brush. Hold it under running water until it runs nearly clear, and then soak it in water. Most of the rest of the paint should settle out to the bottom. When the paint is gone, you can let it air dry, or if you need to use it again immediately, take the brush outside and shake off all the water onto the lawn or dirt. It takes quite a while to flick out all the water, but it is worth the effort, as any leftover water will cause your paint to run allover the place.

6. I like to use light colors. I used to like bold, dark colors, but found that they darken the room too much. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we need every bit of light we can get! Everyone speaks highly of replacing lightbulbs with CFLs, but if the room is dark, it won't do you much good as you will end up turning on more lights just to read the newspaper.

7. The low VOC paint is really worth the extra cost. It covers just as well and I don't worry as much about my 2 year old's exposure. If you live in the Portland area, the Chinook Book has a coupon for buy one gallon get one free. Also, I believe if you are a PGE customer and you switch to renewable energy you will get a similar coupon.