Adding paint to your walls can dramatically change the look and feel of your
home. It's also an inexpensive way to transform an ordinary room into
something extraordinary. But first you must start with the basics. Preparing
your walls with primer before you paint is the best way to ensure a lasting
finish. Priming not only adds to the durability of the paint job it also saves
you time, especially if you have the primer tinted the same color as the
Tinting primer improves the color of your paint and reduces the number of coats needed to achieve the truest color or hue. Primer is formulated to adhere to a variety of surfaces and seals them to prevent stains and discoloration from bleeding through the final coat. The finish coat sticks more effectively to a primed surface than it does to plaster, wood or an earlier coat of paint.
|Fix the dings|
Examine all the surfaces, then carefully repair and sand any cracks, holes, or dents before you apply any paint.
Tint the primer
Most primers don't require tinting, but if you're changing the finish color of a room, or using deep, saturated colors, then tinting the primer can help achieve better color consistency and coverage for your finish coat. Follow the paint manufacturer's recommendations or ask a salesperson if it will help to tint the primer when you're getting your paint mixed.
Mask the room
Determine the order for painting the room. Paint last the areas that are likely to get dripped on. Prime (and paint) the ceiling first, walls second, and trim last. If you plan to prime the trim with a different tint than you will use on the walls, mask the trim first. Mask the top of the walls if you are painting the ceiling; mask the ceiling and trim if you're starting with the walls.
If using latex, dip the brush in water to help it absorb the primer. If using alkyd, dip the brush in mineral spirits. Brush out the liquid on a piece of cardboard to remove loose bristles. Brush primer on areas of walls and trim that need special attention: patches in drywall and plaster, areas of bare wood exposed by scraping and sanding, and any spots treated with stain blocker.
Prime the roller
It's hard for a dry roller to absorb primer or paint, so "prime" the roller before you put it in the primer or paint. If the primer is latex, spritz the roller with a garden mister and squeeze off the excess water. Use mineral spirits for alkyd primer. Run the roller over the paint grid or roller pan several times to get an even amount of primer on the roller cover.
Prime the ceiling
Start on the short side of the room and "cut in" the edges about 2 inches wide and about 5 feet long along the edge of the ceiling. Then, wearing safety goggles and an old cap, roll paint onto the ceiling, working the roller into the cut-in area to remove as many brush marks as possible. Roll with diagonal strokes and move from the edge toward the middle of the room. Continue cutting in and rolling until you're finished.
Cut in a section of wall
Wait until the ceiling dries and mask it off with blue painter's masking tape. Mask off the trim if you haven't already done so. Starting in a corner, prime along about 5 feet of trim, 5 feet of ceiling, and from top to bottom of the corner.
Prime the walls
To minimize the wall area that will have a brushstroke texture, run the roller over the strips you've primed during the cutting stage, getting as close as possible to the masked trim, ceiling, or adjacent wall.
Begin rolling at the top section of the wall along the cut in strip
Work to the bottom in a series of Ws, as shown here, to avoid creating a visible pattern of vertical passes. Move along the wall in 3- to 5-foot sections, cutting in and rolling until the job is done. Work in sections small enough to cover with a single load of the roller, and always roll up on the first stroke. The key is to overlap areas of wet paint.
Sand the walls if necessary
Wait until the primer is thoroughly dry and sand lightly with 120-grit sandpaper. Tear a piece of sandpaper in fourths, and then fold one of the quarters in thirds. Whisk the paper along the wall, removing bumps and other high spots. When the paper loads with paint dust, refold it to reveal a fresh face, and continue. Once you've finished, wipe the wall with a damp rag to remove dust and debris.
Roll the ceiling with the finish color
When the primer is dry, mask around the ceiling. After cutting in a section, start rolling. Protect your eyes with safety goggles and wear an old cap. A 5-gallon bucket with a roller grid requires filling less often and is less likely to tip than a paint tray. Use a relatively dry roller to reduce spattering. Roll diagonally, as you did to prime, to avoid creating visible rows across the ceiling. Extension poles allow you to reach more area without leaning dangerously from a ladder.
Cut in the walls
After you've painted the ceiling, remove the tape from the top of the walls and allow the ceiling to dry thoroughly. Then mask off the ceiling and trim to paint the walls. Start painting in a corner and cut in a few feet along the ceiling, a few feet along the baseboard, and the starting corner.
Roll close to the wall perimeter
The texture of brushed areas is different from rolled areas. Paint into the freshly cut-in areas with a roller, removing as much of the brush-stroke texture as possible. Cover as much of the cut-in as you can without getting paint on other surfaces. Starting with an up stroke, work from the ceiling toward the baseboard, rolling on large Wshape strokes. Back roll with a light load of paint to smooth things out.
Prime and paint the trim
Remove the masking for the walls, allow the paint to dry thoroughly, and mask off for the trim. Control dripping by pouring the trim paint into a small bucket and dip the brush about halfway into the paint. Tap the brush against the sides (instead of scraping it around the rim) to remove excess paint in the tip of the brush; this will leave paint in the body of the brush.