It’s not rocket science…

Or is it? 

Painting can be very gratifying to those who love it and very intimidating to those who hate it.  Most people I talk to hate it. So, I have figured out that it’s a love it or hate it job!  I am thankful for that because it has allowed me to make a decent living.  So for those who love it on to the next blog and for those who hate it read on for some interesting tips.

My paint toys of choice are: Wooster cages, poles and angled sash brushes (2.5”) and Simms microfiber roller sleeves & trays.  I do not slop paint on from a 5 gallon pail!

I work from top to bottom and from left to right it gives me a sense of direction.  Ceilings are done in flat paint, satin or semi-gloss normally is only used on bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms.  Sometimes we think we can get away with not painting ceilings and that’s fine if they are in perfect condition.  Make sure you check them well because let’s face it, it’s easier to paint a ceiling first than to get everything done and the ceiling looks dirty against your brand new walls/trim. Then you’ll have to and cut it in dn ǝpıs uʍop and roll it out.

As usual, any paint job is all in the prep work, so first, lay out your drop sheets.  Fill any holes, dents or divots or cracks (gouge cracks with a drywall/razor knife first)  on walls/trim/base with wood filler on trim, drywall compound on walls, caulk the edges of trim where it meets the wall.  Let dry, then sand the filled areas. Lightly sand all the trim and doors to be painted as well so the primer as something to bite in to.

Start your ceiling by cutting around the light fixture and corners.  With flat paint you don’t have to keep a wet edge as it dries chalky and well,… flat!  You should be able to roll the ceiling along the edges where it meets the wall without cutting in, you can roll all around the perimeter.   When rolling the middle, always roll in the same direction.  On your 2nd coat roll in the opposite direction, that covers any missed areas from the first coat.

So, once you have your ceiling done, it’s time to paint window and door trim. If it’s been painted previously then that’s easy, just recoat the returns (don’t worry about hitting the walls) and the face, making sure to brush out the trim so brush strokes are barely noticeable, using a latex semi-gloss trim enamel, because it’s tougher and stands up to the abuse trim usually takes.

If it’s new wood or varnished wood that you want to paint for the first time then we have extra work to do here.  First you want to get a Shellac base primer, there are new latex primers out there that they say will cover wood and not bleed thru but I’ve yet to find one that actually does that without putting on multiple coats. Shellac base primer works best as it seals the knots and little pockets of pine pitch that usually show up in new wood. Latex wood primers, in my humble opinion, just don’t cut it in the tough world of woods. My apologies to the paint companies. You hate painting, so we want fast and right or you’d have hired me. So Shellac based it is. You’ll need a (2” angled sash) brush for oil base paints and denatured alcohol for cleaning up and any drips. Make sure the area is well ventilated.  Shellac  seals in one good coat, (stir it well and often) it dries in a little more than an hour. Then apply 2 coats of latex semi-gloss trim enamel finish over that as explained above.

When painting doors, first cut in around the hinges, knob and bottom along the floor area, remember to carefully cut in the thin edge on the hinge side and the knob side. Use a 1/4 inch nap roller and  roll from middle to top and back to bottom, back roll lightly, do not stop. You want the door to be smooth, look uniform with no lap lines or flashing. Roll as close to your wet edge cuts as possible without hitting your hinges or knobs. Nothing looks nastier than painted hinges!  I keep a wet rag with me at all times in case I hit a surface I don’t want painted. But, if you don’t trust yourself you can remove them all together.  Or an old trick is to take an artist brush some vaseline and ‘coat’ your hinges/knob areas then paint & when dry wipe off the vaseline with a paper towel.

Before-This is what the room looked like when I arrived!

Ok, now that all  your window & door trim is done, it’s time for walls.  You should have all your patches sanded and primed and ready to go. If you are using satin, eggshell or semi-gloss finish paint  you will need to keep a wet edge on your cut when you roll. Keeping this in mind, pick your starting point and start cutting in along the corner and downward to the base board, cut along the base for about 3 feet then up your ladder and cut the top part of the corner and along the ceiling line then roll.  Using the same technique you used on the doors, start about mid-way and roll to the top cut then back down to the cut on the bottom. Stand back from the wall and use a pole, roll with ease at arms length, don’t kill yourself there’s no need to. When you have filled in your 3ft area, back roll over it again to remove any lap lines from the roller. Go all the way around the room like this being careful when cutting up to the trim. Should you have trouble cutting a straight line, an old trick is to take a pencil and run it along the corner you want to cut, it’s easy to stay straight when you have a real line to follow.


Lastly is baseboard, you can just face it off with your trim paint or if you have a steady hand and are adventurous,  you can cut it along the top edge where it meets the wall.  Again, keep a wet rag for wiping any drips or spots you hit along the floor line.

Good luck and Happy Home Improving.




Cracked & Plastered!

I just finished a small job that I thought may  be of interest.  It took me 7 hours to do, over 2 days!

In a 100 plus year old house, the owners had the kitchen skim coated with compound a few years prior and through the powers that be the outer layer of the skim coat started to crack and pop in several areas on 3 interior walls. I have photos of all the areas but limited space prevents me from posting them all. I shall post only this one particular wall.

Plaster is cracked & popped & ready to fall.

Cracked area are chipped & scraped & edges caulked.

Using a drywall knife I chipped out the cracked and broken pieces until they would not chip away any further. I then used ordinary latex caulk and caulked the edges of the scraped areas, this seems to hold off on any further breakage.  I learned this technique several years ago from a maintenance man at a university where I was painting student residences.

Once the caulk was somewhat set up, about 30 minutes or so. I proceeded to re-plaster the areas. In most instances I would recommend Sheetrock 45 because it sets up and you can re-coat in 45 minutes; but all I had with me was Sheetrock 5. That means after mixing I have 5 minutes before it sets up/hardens. I mixed small batches so I would get the most out of the half bag I had.

1st coat of quick dry compound.

When the Sheetrock had set up/hardened I then knocked down any high ridges with my knife,  and then spread each area with a good coat of premixed compound and called it a day. That took 4 hours. The following day I arrived to nice dry compound.

2nd coat, this time premixed compound was used.

I then sanded, primed the areas twice to prevent flashing and then painted the room complete. Add another 3 hours…VIOLA!   Look, practically brand new.

Primed twice and painted.

Thank you for stopping by and reading, it’s appreciated very much.

See you soon,


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