DIY Paint Tips: How to Clean Your Paint Brush Like a Pro

The experts at Freeland Painting are excited to share paint tips to help you accomplish do-it-yourself painting projects with professional results. That’s why we’ve shared information, including how to tape like a pro and 9 tips for painting a wall like a pro.

We recently posted our insights on how to choose the right brush for your paint project. In that blog post, we discussed various scenarios that call for specific brush shapes and sizes, but the overall takeaway was this: Buy the most expensive brush you can afford.

Why should you buy the most expensive paint brush you can afford? Because the technology is in the bristles: The better your paint brush, the better your paint job. Plus, a high-quality paintbrush will last for years IF you clean that paintbrush properly after each use. So, how do you do that?

How to Clean Latex Paint from a Paintbrush

Latex paint is the most widely used paint for walls and trim in homes, so that’s the type of paint we’ll talk about cleaning from your paintbrush.

When you’re done painting with latex paint, here’s what NOT to do: Don’t use vinegar, don’t soak the paint brush in a cleaning solution, don’t use a wire brush to scrub the bristles, and don’t use sprays or chemicals to clean it. Cleaning latex paint from your brush properly is much simpler than that.

All you need to clean latex paint from your brush is warm, running water. That’s right: Latex paint is water-soluble and will clean up using nothing but warm water. No soaps, no chemicals – just clean, warm, running water.

Here’s how: With the handle of the paint brush pointed toward your body and the bristles pointed away, run the bristles under warm water and gently massage the paint out of them with your fingers. Keep the paintbrush angled downward so that the bristles are lower than the handle and water flows from the handle end down through the bristles.

Be patient, as there can be a lot of paint on the brush. When you think you’ve gotten all of the paint out of the brush, turn the brush over and repeat the process on the other side–working any remaining paint out of the bristles with your fingers in a gentle manner. The key is to be patient and gentle with the paint brush.

Final Steps for Pro Paintbrush Care

Once all of the paint is out of your brush, it’s time to dry it like a pro:

  1. Dab it. To dry your paint brush, dab both sides of the bristles lightly on a clean cloth several times. Then, reform the bristles into their original position, and lay the brush flat to dry.
  2. Roll it. If there’s still a lot of water in the bristles, you can speed the drying process by rolling the handle of the brush between your hands so that the brush spins quickly and centrifugal force causes the water droplets to leave the bristles. After spinning the brush, reform the bristles into their original position—the way the brush looked when you took it out of its packaging—and lay the brush flat to dry.
  3. Cover it. When you purchase your high-quality paint brush, save the cardboard cover that comes with it. Why should you save it? Because it’s the ideal storage mechanism for your brush. Once your brush is completely dry, simply re-insert it into the cardboard cover, and your brush is ready for your next painting project!

Our No. 1 Paint Brush Care Tip

The number one, most important tip Freeland Painting can share about paintbrush care is this: Never let paint dry on your paintbrush.

It’s simple: Avoid letting paint dry on your bristles so that cleaning the paintbrush will be much easier and more successful.

That means you should always wash your brush immediately after you’re done with your paint job, while the paint is still wet. No procrastinating!

If you need help finishing your DIY paint project, call the expert painters at Freeland Painting. We’ll happily provide you with a free estimate on your home, commercial, or multi-family painting project.

Contact us today at 678.679.3126 to schedule a free estimate!

DIY Paint Tips: 9 Tips to Paint Walls Like a Pro

A fresh coat of professionally applied paint is one of the fastest, most effective ways to upgrade any space. In hours, the walls of a room can go from stale and scuffed to cheerful and refreshed. There are few more gratifying home improvement projects than painting a room!

If you’re a do-it-yourselfer who wants to learn professional painting tricks and tips, you’ve come to the right place! The painting experts at Freeland Painting are eager to share best practices and lessons learned over 20+ years of professional painting to give your DIY painting project the best basis for success.

If you haven’t already, read our blog posts about choosing the best paint brush for your project and how to use painters tape like a pro.

Here are 9 tips to help you paint interior walls like a pro:

1.Get a canvas tarp or two. A good painter’s tarp—or two or three, all made from canvas or other heavy cloth—is an invaluable investment to protect your floors and carpets. Because paint drips, and when that happens, you don’t want it to get on your beautiful flooring.

Freeland Painting pro tip: When you notice you’ve dripped paint onto the tarp, clean it off immediately. That way, you won’t step in the paint and track it into other rooms.

2. Protect furniture. In an ideal world, you remove all furniture from the room you want to paint. Since that’s not always possible, move furniture to the middle of the room and cover it with a thin-mill plastic to protect it from paint splatters and spills. However, please don’t use that same thin-mill plastic to cover floors because it will tear too easily when you walk on it.

3. Prep your room. Use quick-drying spackle and a utility or palate knife to fill nail holes or gauges in the wall. After it dries, sand lightly with fine-grit sandpaper until smooth. Use a damp cloth to wipe the walls down from top to bottom, which will remove dust and grime that can prevent paint from adhering.

4. Apply painters tape. Use painter’s tape (read Freeland Painting’s expert tips) to protect your ceiling, baseboards, and trim.

5. Cut-in. With the right paint brush for your project, first “cut in” all the walls to be painted—which is basically the process of using your brush to outline the area with three or four inches of paint before using a roller to apply paint to wide-open sections of the wall.

6. Roll it. Now you’re ready to roll! When applying paint to walls with a roller, the first step is to spread the paint around by working the roller in a W pattern about 3 feet across. Start at the top of the wall and continue down it using the W pattern, covering the wall as far as your paint will go. When the roller starts getting dry, dip it lightly into the paint, and go back to where you began painting that section to smooth any lines or patterns out. Here’s how: Starting at the top of the wall, roll down over the still-wet paint all the way to the baseboard in one long line. Then start back up at the top, overlapping by an inch or two. This will smooth the inconsistencies of the W pattern to ensure that you don’t see any line or pattern when your paint dries.

7. Consistency and overlap. When painting with a roller, be sure to use consistent pressure, consistent speed—not too fast or paint will splatter—and mild overlapping. At the end of each “W” run, overlap wet paint with wet paint.

8. Paint from corner to corner. Never stop to take a break in the middle of painting a wall—paint all the way from corner to corner. Never stop without a wet overlap, or you’ll be able to see the lines where you stopped and restarted after the job is done.

9. Wrap brushes and rollers. When you reach a logical stopping point to break for lunch, use plastic bags or plastic wrap and a rubber band to wrap wet brushes and rollers and keep them airtight. Without exposure to air, they won’t dry out, so you’ll be able to pick up a few hours later where you left off.

Following these 9 tips will ensure that you get a high-level result from your paint project, but at Freeland Painting, we always go the extra mile to make our customers smile, so we offer one additional bonus tip:

Bonus Tip #10

10. Make it fun! One of the most valuable tools in any DIY painting project is a blue-tooth speaker so you can jam out to music and make the project go by quickly and enjoyably. It’s also fun to get the kids involved—let them try their hand on some of the easy sections they can reach with a roller to make it a family project everyone can be proud of.

Call us for a Free Estimate

If we at Freeland Painting can serve you by providing your home, business, or multi-family residence with a fresh interior or exterior coat of paint–or a new roof, siding, or gutters – call us today at 678.679.3126 to schedule your free estimate. We brush up on the details every day!

DIY Paint Tips: How to Tape Like a Pro

When you’re ready to start your next DIY painting project, after choosing the right paintbrush and deciding what colors and sheen of paint to use, the next step is prepping your paint surface. To achieve a professional-quality paint job, Freeland Painting recommends using painter’s tape to ensure sharp, clean paint lines.

Painter’s tape serves as a barrier between the areas you want to paint—and those you don’t. It’s especially useful on ceilings, baseboards, and trim. Here’s what you need to know to apply, use, and remove painters tape like a pro.

Choose the right painter’s tape for your paint project

With painter’s tape, you get what you pay for. While you may be tempted to buy a cheap painter’s tape, at Freeland Painting we recommend “sticking with” the original: Blue interior painter’s tape from Scotch. We like ScotchBlue original multi-surface painter’s tape in the 1.5-inch width. With its medium-strength adhesive, it’s our go-to tape for protecting trim, drywall, ceilings, and floors. If you’re painting near delicate surfaces such as cabinets or freshly painted surfaces that you want to protect, use ScotchBlue’s lower-adhesive version. Unsure which tape is best for your project? Scotch offers a handy, free paint tape selector tool to help you decide.

Pro tip: Here’s what not to use: Masking tape looks similar to painters tape, but its adhesive leaves a sticky residue, which can be difficult to remove. And be sure to check that your painter’s tape is for interior surfaces when you’re painting inside. Exterior painter’s tape has stronger adhesive to stick to cement, brick, or stucco and could damage your walls, trim, or other interior surface when used inside.

Prepare Surfaces Like a Pro

To get the best paint job possible, you have to prepare like a pro. With a clean, damp sponge or cloth, gently wipe the surfaces you plan to tape and paint. This includes baseboards, trim, walls, ceilings, and wherever else may soon have either paint or painter’s tape on it. The reason is simple: Dust builds up (yes, even on walls—don’t ask us how!) and can prevent both paint and painter’s tape from adhering correctly. If you skip wiping down dusty baseboard surfaces and apply painter’s tape on top of the dust, the tape won’t adhere properly and may leak or pucker. When that happens, paint spreads under the tape resulting in messy lines—defeating the purpose of taping in the first place!

Pro tip: While waiting for your surfaces to dry after wiping them down, remove light switch covers, nails, and other fixtures. A 3-inch piece of painter’s tape applied over the bare light switch itself will prevent unwanted paint splatter. Use another small piece of painter’s tape to stick the light switch cover screws onto the back of the cover itself, so they don’t get lost.

Apply Painter’s Tape With Precision

Once your surface is clean and dry, it’s time to start taping. When applying tape to a straight edge such as a ceiling or baseboard trim, keep the roll of tape flat against the wall and work in short sections (about 8 inches at a time), aligning the tape over the surface you’re taping and making sure it sticks well. Avoid stretching the tape. Rookie paint tapers may want to remove short, 6- to 10-inch sections of tape while you get the hang of it. Once the tape is applied, go back over its edge to seal the bond with a putty knife or credit card. Check out this video from Ace Hardware that shows best practices for using painter’s tape.

Pro tip: When you get to the corner of the baseboard, continue past the corner and run the tape an inch or two up the wall in a perpendicular fashion. Then, use a sharp putty knife or razor blade to cut the tape off the wall along the baseboard line. That way, the corner of your baseboard is thoroughly protected.

Gently Remove Painter’s Tape

Once you’ve finished painting the wall, it’s time to remove your painters tape. The best time to remove it is just after you’ve painted, while the paint is still wet. Don’t wait for it to dry, as the dry paint may lead to chipping of the paint surface as you remove the tape, resulting in a messy line. To remove painter’s tape, tug gently on the tape at a 45-degree angle. Go slow as you remove it, watching for any trouble spots. If you see or hear paint pulling away from your freshly painted surface, use a razor blade or utility knife to gently cut the tape away from the surface to maintain a clean line.

Pro tip: Though it’s tempting to use the same tape for multiple coats of paint, the expert painters at Freeland Painting know that you’ll get a better result from removing the tape—and reapplying it—with each coat of paint.

Using painter’s tape like a pro takes patience and skill, but the resulting high-quality paint job is worth the effort.

When you’re ready to call in the professionals, Freeland Painting is here to help. Give us a call to schedule a free estimate on your paint job. Whether it’s a residential, multi-family, or commercial paint project: No job is too big or too small: We do it all!

Call Freeland Painting at 678.679.3126 to schedule your free estimate!

DIY Paint Tips: How To Choose the Best Paint Brush for Your Project

At Freeland Painting, we provide professional painting services for residential, business, and multifamily properties – but we also know that sometimes people want to paint a room themselves.

This is the first in a series of DIY  Paint Tip posts, in which we’ll provide tips on how to choose the best paintbrush for your project, how to tape like a pro (so it comes off smoothly), how to freehand a straight line of paint, how to paint walls like a pro, how to choose the right paint for each job, how to choose the right paint sheen for each surface, the ideal roller nap for your wall texture, how to clean your paintbrush like a pro, and how to dispose of old paint and paint cans properly.

First thing’s first: Choosing the right paint brush. When you walk into your local Sherwin Williams paint store, Home Depot, or Lowe’s, you’ll find a dizzying array of paint brushes. The important choices you need to make are: natural or man-made bristles, size of the brush, shape of the brush, and quality of the brush. We’ll break down all four to help you choose the best paint brush for your specific paint job:

Synthetic Bristles vs. Natural Bristles

Don’t spend too much time making this decision: If you’re painting a wall in your home, you’re most likely using latex paint, a water-based paint that cleans up easily with water, instead of solvents or mineral spirits.

The type of brush that spreads latex paint best is a synthetic bristle made from nylon or a nylon-polyester blend. A synthetic brush will spread latex paint smoothly and evenly. If you plan to paint more than one room over time and the cost isn’t prohibitive, consider buying a more expensive Chinex bristle brush, such as those from Purdy or Corona. When it comes to paint brushes, you get what you pay for; a high-quality brush can last for years if you care for it properly.

If you happen to be using oil-based paint, choose a natural bristle brush. Oil-based paints aren’t used as often lately as they were in the past because they can be environmentally and personally harmful because of their high volatile organic compound (VOC) content. On our blog, we’ve provided information about latex vs. oil-based paints and the pros and cons of each.

Why Paint Brush Size Matters

The size of your brush will depend on the size of your project. If you’re painting an entire wall, you wouldn’t want to use a small 1.5-inch brush because it would take too long, but if you’re painting a small area or a piece of furniture or mirror, that smaller brush would work well.

For wall and trim, we recommend either a 2.5-inch or 3-inch brush. When painting a wall, you’ll most likely use a roller for the bulk of the work and rely on your brush to “cut-in” around the trim and ceiling of the room. A 2.5-inch brush is ideal for residential painting in most cases.

A 3-inch brush is more ideally suited when you plan to paint large, flat surfaces, such as a fence or deck.

The Right Brush Shape For The Job

Both synthetic and natural bristle brushes come in angled and square shapes. The genius of the angled tip is that it gives you enhanced control of the paint as you apply it, such as when you’re cutting in around trim or a ceiling and want to paint a straight line. We recommend an angled brush for these tasks.

If you’re painting a large flat surface such as a fence or deck, a square brush will work well.

Brush Quality: You Get What You Pay For

While your first instinct may be to buy a cheap brush and toss it after your paint job is completed, consider investing in a higher-quality brush and cleaning it properly. Not only is this an environmentally friendly choice, it’ll help you achieve a higher quality paint job.

When it comes to paint brushes, you get what you pay for. Here’s what Freeland Painting’s founder shared about brush choice:

“The quality of the paint brush is important. We recommend that you get the most expensive brush you can afford. The technology in the bristles will make a huge difference in your painting project, and whether or not you can paint a straight line with it,” explained Doug Ireland, founder of Freeland Painting.

Doug went on to say, “A good, high-quality brush will last for years if you clean it properly after each use. I bought a $25 brush over 10 years ago for our home painting projects, and it’s still going strong.”

Pro Tip on Brush Care

Doug also offered a pro tip about caring for your brushes: The key is to never let paint dry on the brush!

If you need professional help for your painting project, call Freeland Painting. We’ll provide you with a free estimate on your commercial, residential or multi-family painting project.

Give us a call today at 678.679.3126 to schedule your free estimate!

What are VOCs—and Why Do They Matter?

VOCs, short for Volatile Organic Compounds, are a group of chemicals that are found in most paints and coatings. They’re not only found in paints—but they’re also in cleaners, disinfectants, dry-cleaned clothing, permanent markers, glues, air fresheners, and aerosol sprays. But because Freeland Painting is your locally owned painting company in Atlanta, we’ll focus on the VOCs in paint.

One reason VOCs are in paint is to keep the paint fresh while it’s in the can. Once the can is opened, VOCs enable the paint to spread smoothly on the wall or surface you want coated. Some VOCs give paint specific properties—rust prevention, for example. After we paint your walls, paint your ceiling, paint your business, or paint your house, VOCs evaporate into the air. That process is called off-gassing.

Health Effects of VOCs

We’re all familiar with the smell of fresh paint as it dries. For people sensitive to VOCs, that chemical smell can irritate their nose, throat, or even cause a headache. That’s because the paint is off-gassing VOCs, which can have health consequences if you’re exposed to paint fumes for lengthy periods of time. Leaving a door or window open for increased ventilation is a best practice during your interior paint job and while the paint dries. Latex paint dries fast, which is why Freeland Painting uses latex paint for most of its painting jobs, both big and small.

Most VOCs in paint are off-gassed as the paint dries in the first few hours, though a small amount of VOC off-gassing can continue for about 6 months.

Reducing Exposure to VOCs

The US Environmental Protection Agency recognizes that high levels of VOCs can have a negative impact on health, so they regulate the level of VOCs in paint to minimize exposure. According to the EPA, the levels of VOCs inside of homes and businesses are an average of 2 to 5 times higher than VOC levels outdoors. In addition, during the painting process and for several hours afterward, VOC levels may be hundreds of times higher inside than outside. That’s why good ventilation and a fresh air source are critical as paint dries.

Low-VOC Paint Options

In addition to practicing good ventilation during the painting and drying process, the paint you choose can significantly impact the VOC level that is off-gassed in your home or commercial building. Paint manufacturers offer choices in the levels of VOC in paints, with both low-VOC and no-VOC options.

Latex paint has a significantly lower level of VOCs than oil-based paint. At Freeland Painting, we typically use latex paint that the EPA has rated as “Low VOC,” meaning it has a low content of VOCs. Specifically, Low VOC paint has less than 250 grams per liter of VOCs.

Some paint manufacturers, including Sherwin Williams, offer both Low-VOC and No-VOC paint options. For interior painting, we suggest Sherwin Williams Harmony® Interior Acrylic Latex Paint for interior wall and ceiling painting because of its innovative technology and Zero VOC formula that contributes to better indoor air quality one coat of paint at a time. That’s right: Harmony paint not only has a Zero VOC rating, it can also help neutralize other sources of VOCs in your home or business, such as carpets, new cabinets, or fabrics. It can also reduce the odors from smoking, cooking, or pets. Now that’s a high-performance paint!

Best Low-VOC Paint for Exterior Painting

Do you need to repaint the outside of your business, home, or commercial property in the Atlanta area? For exterior surfaces, Freeland Painting recommends Sherwin Williams Emerald® Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint, which is a Low VOC paint with less than 50 g/l of VOCs. That’s five times lower than the EPA standard of 150 g/l of VOCs to qualify as a Low VOC paint. Emerald paint’s long life and resistance to blistering, fading, peeling, and mildew makes the product a high-performance paint that we’re proud to use to beautify your home or commercial property.

And, did you know that Freeland Painting will paint your business or commercial property after hours, so we don’t interrupt your flow of customers? That’s right: We’ll arrange to paint after normal business hours so you don’t have to close or lose revenue to refresh your curb appeal with a professional paint job.

Did we mention that we offer free estimates for painting your business, commercial property, or home? We do! Call us today at 678.679.3126 to discuss how Freeland Painting will beautify your home or business (or both!) with a fresh coat of Low VOC paint.

Let’s get rolling!