How to Paint Your Home

In some ways, painting is as simple as can be: apply paint to wall until fully covered. There is a system to painting, however, and a few tricks that can help you avoid common mistakes and pitfalls. Whether you’re sprucing up your old home or your new one, follow these guidelines for a stellar paint job.



Half of a good paint job is in properly preparing the space. These tips apply to both interior and exterior paint jobs.

  • Cover the floor/ground: You can use plastic sheets, old bed sheets, rugs, patches of carpet — whatever is handy and you don’t mind getting paint on.

  • Stir the paint: Doing so will ensure your walls all turn out the same color, so don’t skip this step!

  • Wash the walls: Dirty walls leads to poor paint jobs. Give your walls a good once-over to ensure proper paint adhesion.

  • Fill holes: Examine the walls and door/window frames for nail holes, deep scratches, chips, etc. and fill them up with spackle or caulk, depending on their size. Smooth out with sand-paper afterward to ensure smooth paint coverage.

Basic Guidelines

  • 2–3 coats will usually provide the best coverage. Always wait until each coat is fully dry before starting on the next coat.

  • Wrap paint brushes and paint cans in plastic when taking breaks: This will keep your brushes from drying out.

Interior Paint Jobs

  • Paint from top to bottom: Start with the ceiling and work your way down, leaving the doorframe and doors until last. If you’re applying multiple coats, finish each section before moving on to the next — e.g. finish both coats on the ceiling before tackling the walls.

  • “Cut” the room first: The bulk of your painting will be done with a roller. Before you use a roller, however, you want to use a smaller brush to paint all the edges in the room, i.e. “cutting” the space. Cut where the wall meets the ceiling, the corners of the walls, around window sills and door frames, and above baseboards. Paint a 4–5 inch swath from the edge, so that you can easily finish with a roller later.

  • Using the roller: Use an extender with your roller so you can paint from floor to ceiling in a single stroke. This will ensure a smooth paint job, without dimples and uneven patches. Painting a “W” on the wall with a wet roller, then smoothing in the section will also help to keep the wall evenly loaded with paint.

Exterior Paint Jobs

  • Paint from top to bottom: The same rule applies outside as inside. Start with the gutters/eaves and work your way to the ground.

  • Paint in the shade: Weather permitting, paint in the shade as much as possible, to avoid over-drying in the sun.

  • Paint clapboard side-to-side: Paint 4–5 boards at a time to minimize overlap marks, and begin painting where two boards meet.

  • Keep an eye on the weather: It probably goes without saying that rain will ruin a fresh coat of paint! Also avoid painting in weather below 50 degrees.

Clean Up

  • Clean your brushes: If you want to use your brushes again, use a brush cleaner and water or a solvent (if necessary) to clean your brushes thoroughly. Wrap them in paper towels to dry.

  • Proper paint disposal: Empty cans of latex paint can be tossed out with the trash, once dry. Alkyd paints need to be given to special hazardous waste companies.

Now that you know how to complete a stellar paint job, you need the tools to do so! While you could head over to the hardware store to pick up some supplies, why add yet another errand to your to-do list?

Instead, head over to PaintZen! PaintZen is a full-service painting company that takes care of everything. Step 1: Go here. Step 2: Enter your job info. Step 3: Get a free quote. Step 4: Have all of your painting done.

It’s that simple. Happy Painting! 🙂

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