How to paint a wall

How to paint a wall

In my role as a colour consultant, I get a lot of questions about the best painting techniques. As an avid DIY painter of my own home, I do have several tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years. Perhaps the most surprising thing to most people is that I don’t use painter’s tape. In this post, I’m going to show how I paint without tape, as well as some basic coverage techniques using pictures from a recent repaint of my kitchen.

The painting process: preparation makes perfect

The success of a paint job has more to do with proper preparation than anything else. Prior to painting, you need to know whether you are covering oil or latex, and choose your paint accordingly. Once you have your paint, you will need to prep your room. It’s pretty common to run into unexpected situations, and so it’s good to plan your prep a day ahead of time, or at least at a time when an emergency trip to the paint or hardware store is possible.

  1. Remove all things on the wall including switch plates
  2. Fill all holes
  3. Wipe fixed holes with a dry rag to remove dust; wipe trim and door frames; make sure all surfaces are clean, dry and grease-free (this helps the paint adhere to the wall) 
  4. Put down drop cloths 
  5. If you are using tape, apply it
  6. Coat all fill spots with primer or paint-with-primer before the first roll.
  7. Paint!
  8. Do not wash rollers and brushes between coats. Wrap tightly in plastic and store in freezer (oil paint) or fridge (latex/acrylic Paint). 
  9. Paint again (second coat)

 

Painting techniques

  • Edge with the brush 
  • W technique: W then backroll (short, wide) 
  • V technique: V then backroll (tall, narrow) 
  • When using either the W or the V technique always roll into the wet edge for two reasons. First, sometimes when you use a brush it can leave a bead that can dry into a ridge, so rolling into it will help smooth it. Second, sometime if you paint into a dry edge you can see a shine difference, which can sometimes create a strong contrast. This is most important on the second coat.

Painting tips

  • For multiple can projects:
    • On the first coat: just mix the end of the first can into the next.
    • Top coat: when switching from one can to the next, you want to start and stop a new can in a corner if possible. If your can will run out halfway through a wall then before you start, open the second can, mix the two together, and use the combined paint to paint the whole wall. This is because sometimes there can be slight variations between cans that can give a weird shadow effect on your wall.
  • If you want to try a new tool (or one you haven’t used in a while), then practice in the corner. Corners are the most forgiving of colour variations and mistakes.

The final result

Even though this isn’t a before and after post, who doesn’t love a reveal? Here’s the final look!

After photo painted wall

I love the new, brighter colour!

Do you have any questions about painting that aren’t covered here? Let me know in the comments! I have more painting to do, and I’d be happy to showcase other techniques in my upcoming “how to paint” video series!

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