The maxim “you get out what you put in” applies to most things in life – including painting walls, which means that if you want a long-lasting and professional finish, you’ll need to spend time preparing for the job. However, it is possible to cut a few (very small) corners when painting walls and still make the task a relatively painless one and one that will give a professional looking finish.
Clearing the Room
When painting walls with a roller you may think that there’s little danger of paint ending up on any other surface than the walls. However, regardless of how careful you are, tiny splatter spots can still occur, especially if you use an inferior quality roller. Therefore, it’s important to protect anything you don’t want spoiled by paint. That means moving what you can out of the room including light shades and curtains or blinds.
If you can’t remove a light shade then cover it with a plastic bag or a piece of protective sheeting. Move heavy items of furniture to the center of the room and cover with old sheets. Also use old sheets or plastic sheeting to cover the floor. You don’t need to cover the entire floor, just the section you’re working on (and then once finished, move the protecting covering to the next section to be painted).
Painting over Wallpapers
Ideally, you should first remove wallpaper, but if the current state of the wallpaper isn’t too bad, you can get away with painting over it. Sometimes it’s actually preferable to paint over wallpaper as opposed to removing it; for example, if removing the wall paper could result in damage to the walls. In addition, if previous owners have papered the walls a number of times, then to remove all the layers could be an extremely labor-intensive job!
If you do decide to paint over wallpaper, then remove all loose pieces and paste down any loose edges. If you want to apply an undercoat, use an oil based one and apply it with a short nap roller to create the smoothest surface possible. If the wall has a few “dents” where you removed pieces of wallpaper, fill these with drywall mud. Once dry, sand the filled areas until smooth and then apply the oil based undercoat. When it comes to paint, using an oil based paint will give the best results. Apply two coats following the process detailed below under the heading “Painting the Walls”.
Painting Plastered Walls
If you’re painting plastered walls, first check for cracks. If you find cracks, fill them with drywall mud and then, once dry, sand down to create a smooth finish. If the cracks are large, you may need to apply the drywall mud in stages, allowing each application of mud to dry before applying the next. Once the wall is ready for painting, remove all dust with a damp cloth. You may need to apply an undercoat first, especially if you’re painting the walls a lighter color than their existing color. Once the undercoat is dry, apply two coats of your chosen color of paint following the process below.
Painting the Walls
Regardless of whether you’re painting over wallpaper or painting plastered walls, the process is the same: Use an angled brush to cut in the paint along tile wall edges and any other edges (e.g. baseboard edges, window frames, switch plates, outlet covers).
You need a fairly steady hand for this job. If you don’t feel confident about your ability, then use tape to protect these edges. Once the paint is dry, you can remove the tape. This will of course add time to the overall task, but if you don’t have a steady hand and forgo using this tape method, you could spend a lot of time having to remove unwanted paint from a number of areas in the room.
Once you’ve completed this part of the painting task, use a roller to apply paint to the rest of the wall areas. Make sure the roller is fully covered in paint (first having poured the paint into a roller paint tray) but not dripping. After you’ve painted the entire wall run the roller, unloaded, along the four edges of the wall using one continuous stroke for each edge: this will help to blend tile paint in with the cut in brush paint strokes.
And then, once the paint’s dry and you’ve turned the room back to how it was before you started, you can stand back and admire your newly painted room, which you’ve completed at a fraction of the price a professional would have charged, in a fraction of the time it would’ve taken him or even you to do it!