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!