Painting Tips

Read these 37 Painting Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Home Improvement tips and hundreds of other topics.

Painting Tips has been rated 3.0 out of 5 based on 1235 ratings and 1 user reviews.
How can I avoid a second coat?

Primer

When applying a light color over a dark one, you can help eliminate a second coat by asking the paint store to tint the primer to the color of the finish coat. It doesn't have to be an exact match, just closer to the finish color.

   
How do I paint my steps?

Steps

If you paint your outdoor steps, consider mixing some sand into the paint to increase traction when the steps are wet or snowy.

   
How do I paint a door?

Painting a door

To paint a door easily, take it off the hinges, drive a 16 penny (large) nail in the top edge and the bottom edge so it will hang between 2 sawhorses. Now you can paint both sides at once without resting the door on fresh paint.

   
How do I keep paint off myself?

Keep yourself clean

When you go to the paint store for supplies, buy a set or two of paper coveralls to keep your clothes clean. You can also buy a "paint sock, which is like a ski mask, to keep paint out of your hair.

   
How do I keep spray paint from getting on the floor?

Spray paint booth

Save the box your new stove comes in to use as a makeshift spray painting booth. When spraying a shelf or chair, put it into the box to protect the surrounding area from overspray. To store it, cut the short corners so it will fold up.

   
How do I cover a water stain in my ceiling?

seal stains

When repainting a water stain, always seal the stained area before painting. A good product is KILZ. If the stain is not sealed, it will leach through the paint eventually.

   
How do I smooth caulk?

Caulking

To get a smooth finish on a bead of caulk, use an old paintbrush dipped in soapy water.

   
When should I spackle holes?

Spackling

It is easier to see defects in walls after the primer is applied. Why not wait until after the primer is applied to spackle holes and cracks?

   
How do I paint windows?

Windows 2

When painting windows, don't mask the glass. You can rub petroleum jelly on the glass and paint won't stick. Wait till it dries, then wipe off the glass.

   
Should I paint with a roller or a sprayer?

Big jobs

For large painting projects, it is more efficient to rent a paint sprayer from a rental yard than to brush or roll. Once the masking is complete, you can spray a large room in about an hour.

   
What can I use to mask a wood floor?

Masking

When masking a wood floor, use blue masking tape. It is not as sticky and will release without pulling up the finish on the floor.

   
How do I clean a paintbrush?

Cleaning a brush

To clean your paintbrush, comb it with a wire brush while running water (for latex) or mineral spirits (for oil) over the brush. Keep cleaning until there is no more color coming out of the brush.

   
Do I paint the ceiling first or last?

Avoid tracking paint through the house

When you paint an entire room, paint the walls first. Then, with drop cloths on the floor, paint the ceiling last. That way, splatters which land on the floor can be rolled up in the drop cloths, you can remove your shoes, and no paint will be tracked through the rest of the house.

   
What is a convenient touch-up paint?

Touch-up Paint for Shiny Finishes

Black nail polish makes an easily applied, easily stored and inexpensive touch-up paint for shiny finishes. Works well on tile and black screws, however it may not work on surfaces that will get very hot.

   
What are some common paint brands?

5 of the Most Common Paint Brands

Choosing paint can be difficult enough without having to determine which brand equates to quality. Here are five of the most widely used paint brands and a bit of information on each.

Behr: This paint brand features one of the lower end cost options, strictly available at Home Depot. However, the brand does not spare when it comes to color options, as they literally have hundreds to choose from.

Benjamin-Moore: This particular paint brand is a favorite for home builders and construction teams alike. Available only at authorized paint brand stores, this selection is a bit more pricey than those found at home improvement warehouses. However, the difference is great in that the quality of Benjamin-Moore paints seems to be well worth the extra cost.

Valspar: This paint brand seems to be the Lowe's equivalent of a "house" paint brand, much like Behr is to the Home Depot. Good quality for a wide variety of household projects and a lower price scale. Many different colors to choose from.

Sherwin-Williams: this is another brand favored by builders and decorators. Sherwin-Williams is available only at brand specific locations, with a higher quality and a bit higher price tag.

Ralph Lauren: This paint brand features the moniker of fashion icon Ralph Lauren and is available only at the Home Depot and a few specialty shops.

   
What are natural ?

Natural rollers.

The wool rollers are used to apply latex painting to rough surfaces, such as cement blocks or concrete. Because they hold a large amount of paint and flow over the surface easily. Mohair rollers on the other hand are used to apply oil based paints where a super smooth finish is wanted. They are both natural products of animal hair.

   
How do I put the paint on?

Putting on the paint.

There are two basic ways to apply paint. With a brush and a roller. The brush is used to apply paint around the edges of what you are painting. For example walls, ceilings, and baseboards. The size of the brush depends on the detail of what your painting and the area. There are latex brushes and oil brushes. Rollers come in different sizes from nine inches to three inches. How thick the pile is on a roller is called the nap. The thicker the nap the rougher the finish will be.

   
What do I do with primers?

primed for primers.

Primers are by nature pigmented sealants so that the paint product lays on the surface instead of the water or thinner being pulled into the surface, which will cause the paint to fail. It binds the surface and the paint to each other. They are also used to seal things in and seal things out. They are an important step in painting. But if the surface you are painting is sound they may not be required.

   
Do I have to use white primers?

White primers.

No. Today paint companies have made it possible to have a primer colored closer to the paint color you intend to use than ever before. Also, by tinting the primer it creates a foundation to support the finished color. As gray would support black or similar dark colors.

   
Do I need to wash the walls before painting?

Wash before painting.

In order for the paint, any paint to stick well, the surface must be cleaned. This is not always the first step in preparation of a surface. But sometimes is over-looked for its importance. Without washing the surface we would only be painting over dirt, oils and not the sound surface.

   
How do I paint windows?

Windows

When painting windows, you don't need to mask the glass. Go ahead and get paint on the glass, then when it's dry, use a razor blade scraper to scrape the dried paint off the glass.

   
Do I need to wash the walls before painting?

Wash before painting.

In order for the paint, any paint to stick well, the surface must be cleaned. This is not always the first step in preparation of a surface. But sometimes is over-looked for its importance. Without washing the surface we would only be painting over dirt, oils and not the sound surface.

   
What do I do with latexs?

What about latex paints?

As with oil based paints, water based paints also produce waste. But because they are water based products their disposal is a little different. It isn't dangerous to dispose of small amounts of this water in city water systems. But check with local authorities. The burn sites do not always like latexes because of the way they burn. To dispose of latex paint most companies will accept paint if it has been dried with something. In addition, there are add-ins to dry theses paint for disposal.

   
Is there some where to take used thinners?

Where can I take it.

Yes, there are sites to dispose of paint thinners, used motor oils and other products. They are called burn sites. Incinerators for by products, however they are used mostly for automotive paints which burn hot and fast. House paint burns differently. These sites charge by the burn rate of the product and sometimes only want to deal with large quantities.

   
Where can I dump used thinners?

Dumping used products.

The answer is no where. If you have used paint thinner most of the time if left, the heavier chemicals of the paint will settle to the bottom and newly cleaned paint thinner can be siphoned off allowing the residue on the bottom to dry. Once this is dry it may be thrown away. But check with local laws in your area pertaining to paint disposal.

   
Will paint thinner hurt me?

Working with paint thinners.

Long term and the risks go up. Misuse and they're even higher. Studies have shown that long term exposure to this chemical and others like it can cause different levels of nerve damage. One of the best ways to protect yourself is work in a well ventilated area, where protective eyewear and chemical resistant gloves.

   
What are natural ?

Natural rollers.

The wool rollers are used to apply latex painting to rough surfaces, such as cement blocks or concrete. Because they hold a large amount of paint and flow over the surface easily. Mohair rollers on the other hand are used to apply oil based paints where a super smooth finish is wanted. They are both natural products of animal hair.

   
How do I put the paint on?

Putting on the paint.

There are two basic ways to apply paint. With a brush and a roller. The brush is used to apply paint around the edges of what you are painting. For example walls, ceilings, and baseboards. The size of the brush depends on the detail of what your painting and the area. There are latex brushes and oil brushes. Rollers come in different sizes from nine inches to three inches. How thick the pile is on a roller is called the nap. The thicker the nap the rougher the finish will be.

   
What do I do with primers?

primed for primers.

Primers are by nature pigmented sealants so that the paint product lays on the surface instead of the water or thinner being pulled into the surface, which will cause the paint to fail. It binds the surface and the paint to each other. They are also used to seal things in and seal things out. They are an important step in painting. But if the surface you are painting is sound they may not be required.

   
Where do I start?

Where to get started.

Whenever we are getting ready to do anything, a good place to start is the paint cans labels. There you will find all the information to do a basic paint preparation job. But there are some rules of thumb. Like if the surface needs minor repairs or if it only needs nail holes filled. Do I do this before washing? Yes, also cover any outlets with tape after removing the cover plates and before washing begins.

   
Is there some where to take used thinners?

Where can I take it.

Yes, there are sites to dispose of paint thinners, used motor oils and other products. They are called burn sites. Incinerators for by products, however they are used mostly for automotive paints which burn hot and fast. House paint burns differently. These sites charge by the burn rate of the product and sometimes only want to deal with large quantities.

   
Where can I dump used thinners?

Dumping used products.

The answer is no where. If you have used paint thinner most of the time if left, the heavier chemicals of the paint will settle to the bottom and newly cleaned paint thinner can be siphoned off allowing the residue on the bottom to dry. Once this is dry it may be thrown away. But check with local laws in your area pertaining to paint disposal.

   
Will paint thinner hurt me?

Working with paint thinners.

Long term and the risks go up. Misuse and they're even higher. Studies have shown that long term exposure to this chemical and others like it can cause different levels of nerve damage. One of the best ways to protect yourself is work in a well ventilated area, where protective eyewear and chemical resistant gloves.

   
How do I make flat finish paint washable?

Washable paint

The higher the gloss of the finish, the easier the paint is to clean. However, the higher the gloss, the more imperfections show. That is why walls are painted with flat finish. How do you get a flat finish with "washability"? Mix a pint of gloss finish paint into each gallon of flat finish. Your paint store will mix the colors so that the gloss matches the flat.

   
Do I have to use white primers?

White primers.

No. Today paint companies have made it possible to have a primer colored closer to the paint color you intend to use than ever before. Also, by tinting the primer it creates a foundation to support the finished color. As gray would support black or similar dark colors.

   
Where do I start?

Where to get started.

Whenever we are getting ready to do anything, a good place to start is the paint cans labels. There you will find all the information to do a basic paint preparation job. But there are some rules of thumb. Like if the surface needs minor repairs or if it only needs nail holes filled. Do I do this before washing? Yes, also cover any outlets with tape after removing the cover plates and before washing begins.

   
What do I do with latexs?

What about latex paints?

As with oil based paints, water based paints also produce waste. But because they are water based products their disposal is a little different. It isn't dangerous to dispose of small amounts of this water in city water systems. But check with local authorities. The burn sites do not always like latexes because of the way they burn. To dispose of latex paint most companies will accept paint if it has been dried with something. In addition, there are add-ins to dry theses paint for disposal.

   
Not finding the advice and tips you need on this Home Improvement Tip Site? Request a Tip Now!


Guru Spotlight
George Sayour