Learn about painting the interior of your home and some common house painting mistakes…
If you are planning to sell your home, painting your house can add a huge amount of bang for your buck! There is no doubt that paint can help your home’s curb appeal. You should also consider painting your home’s interior when getting it ready to sale.
Maybe you just bought a home and want to start adding your personal style to the interior. No matter why you want to learn about painting the interior of a home, I have some house painting tips for you!
I hope you’ll learn more about the most common house painting mistakes!
DIY or Hire A Pro to Paint Your Home?
Do you want to paint your home yourself to save money and because you enjoy doing home improvements? I completely understand but it is possible you will make mistakes. Or the quality is not equal to a professional house painter.
Painting your home’s interior might seem easy but that is almost never true. If you want to have a beautifully painted home, I strongly suggest you consider hiring a pro!
A professional painter has the right tools and materials to do the job right.
And the pros know the prep work and techniques for high quality results.
Not only do you need to decide if you can paint your home’s interior, you must decide if you have the time?
Prep Work for Painting a Home’s Interior
Remember the Boy Scout motto of “Be Prepared” when planning to paint the interior of your home. Not being prepared will cause you a lot of problems, take more time and could wind up costing you more money. And you may not be satisfied with the end results.
To save you from having to remove paint drops & spatters, there are necessary steps before you begin.
Remove everything in the room. If that isn’t possible, cover everything with sheets of plastic or painter’s drop cloth. Also, you must cover the outlets, switch covers, doorknobs and hinges.
Don’t forget to cover the floors. You can use old newspapers but I suggest using plastic sheets. Don’t underestimate how much far drops of paint can jump. Cover everything!
You need to plan to keep any pets or children out of the area you are painting. You don’t want any extra messes such as freshly painted paw prints throughout your home!
One of the simplest steps to avoiding disaster is keeping the lid on the paint can. Obviously, this can prevent spills! This helps to keep the paint clean and prevent dried-out paint from forming in the can or on the lid.
My short but sweet advice is to always use a primer. Many people make the mistake of not using a primer.
The reasons to use primer include:
- Covers surface imperfections
- Helps paint stick
- Gives smooth, long-lasting finish
It’s OK to use paint-and-primer-in-one mixes in some cases. If the wall was previously painted, is in good shape, and has a flat finish, it should be OK. Paint and primer mixes work best on surfaces that are already painted.
For new drywall or wood, use a stand-alone primer or a premium all-in-one mix designed for unpainted surfaces.
If you are going to paint a light-colored wall with a darker color, start with a tinted primer. The paint store should know what tint to use.
Not Using Tape Or Using the Wrong Tape
You must use painter’s tape at the borders such as baseboards and windows. Professional painters use high-quality painters tape to get an even & clean finish.
If it is really hot, the tape may not stick properly.
It’s better to remove the tape before the paint dries completely. If you remove the tape after the paint has dried, the paint may come off with the tape! You can use a razor blade to remove the tape after the paint has dried.
Preparing the Walls to Paint
Lack of proper prep work is the difference between DIY and professional paint jobs. You may want to dive right in but one thing to consider is that the pros spend much of their time on prep. To get the best results, take the time to do the proper prep work!
The best coat of paint can’t hide bumpy walls! If there are small holes, old paint peeling off or some patches on the walls, this needs to be fixed first. Use sandpaper to remove the old paint that’s coming off, and fill in the holes with patch compound.
Wait for the patch compound to dry completely before you sand and prime the patched area. Do not forget to prime any patches or they will be visible after you paint!
Painting the walls without cleaning them is one of the most common mistakes people tend to make. The walls must be clean before you start painting.
First, vacuum the walls from top to bottom. Then use a soft rag and soap and water (or TSP) to clean the walls. Rinse with water and let the walls dry overnight. Don’t forget the corners and baseboards.
Painting over any surface that already has a coat of varnish or glossy paint, means more work. Thorough sanding will work, but using a liquid deglosser is easier and more effective.
Paint deglosser prepares dirty or glossy surfaces for new paint. It eliminates the need for sanding and minimizes chipping, cracking and peeling. You can find deglosser at the paint store.
Wrong Type of Paint
It doesn’t matter how great a painter you are if you pick the wrong paint for the job! Choosing the wrong paint is a very common house painting mistake. I am not talking about the color but the type of paint. For example, latex paint and oil-based paint don’t go well together.
What type of paint you select will depend on how the room is used and what type of finish you want. As far as color goes, I suggest buying only a quart first and paint a small board. You can move the board around to see how that color looks in the various light conditions.
As far as types of paint there is latex or oil based.
Latex paints have the best gloss retention, are extremely durable and the best choice for new drywall.
Oil based paints have better stain resistance and are excellent choices for high traffic areas such as bathrooms or kitchens.
Putting latex paint over oil based paint will lead to peeling or cracking. The only way to prevent this (to my knowledge) is by sanding the wall thoroughly. Don’t apply latex paint on top of oil based paint or vice versa without sanding the walls.
As with most things in life, cheap paint is cheap for a reason. Using the best quality paint you can for the best results when painting your home’s interior!
Be sure to label all the cans. It’s easy to get paint cans mixed up and you won’t realize your mistake until AFTER the paint dries. This is especially important years later when you need to do some touch up work.
Paint the Ceiling First
You should always paint the ceiling first. If you paint the ceiling last, you risk spills and paint splatter on the freshly painted walls. This could mean all the hard work of painting the walls will be messed up!
Don’t make the mistake of painting the ceiling last.
Paint a 2-inch wide strip on the ceiling where it meets the wall. Start in a corner and work across the shortest side to maintain a wet edge.
Another common mistake is painting popcorn ceilings without testing first. Before you paint a popcorn ceiling, test paint a small inconspicuous area. If the popcorn texture stays up and everything looks fine, you can paint the whole ceiling. Sometimes popcorn ceilings fall off in sheets after it is painted, so testing first is a must.
Painting a new drywall ceiling requires more prep than a wall. Often the drywall seams show no matter how many times you paint the ceiling.
The best way to prevent this problem is using a thin layer of joint compound across the entire ceiling. This helps smooth out the ceiling and leaves a consistent surface for paint. There are special paints made for drywall ceilings but I have not tried them and cannot say how good they are.
Using the Wrong Tools When Painting
One of my biggest pet peeves is someone using the wrong tool for a job. You can imagine my reaction when I found my wife using my carpenter’s hammers to “dig” a hole in a flower bed…
Using high quality brushes is just as important as using good paint. Did you know you should use different brushes for different types of paint?
You should use a synthetic, either nylon or polyester, bristle brush for latex paints.
For oil based paints, you need to use a natural bristle paint brush.
Paint Brush Tips
For the smoothest possible finish, avoid too much brushwork. Dip just one-third of the brush in the paint to help to prevent drips. There will be spills, ripples, runs and uneven paint if you dip the all of the brush into the paint.
After you dip the brush into the paint, you must quickly cover an area with paint. Then use a stroke or two to smooth it out. Brushing over an area after the paint has started to dry, causes brush marks and ridges.
Too Much Paint Is Never Enough
OK, maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration. Not buying enough paint is a very common house painting mistake. A gallon of paint normally covers about 400 square feet.
It is better to have too much paint than not enough! I would suggest buying extra for future cover ups and to prevent any last minute trips to the paint store.
Buying all the paint at one time can prevent in variation in the color! There can be small variations when paint is mixed at different times. You can avoid this by mixing all the paint at the same time to ensure you will have consistent colors.
The 2nd Coat of Paint: The Waiting is the Hardest Part
One of the easiest mistakes to prevent is not waiting long enough between coats. I know reading the directions is blasphemy to some people but it is a must when painting a home’s interior.
Just follow the instructions about how long to wait between the coats of paint. If you don’t know, my suggestion is to wait at least 24 hours between coats. Rushing to get the job done may mean you get less than stellar results!
Trim Painting Tricks
Do not forget to start by cleaning the trim with a damp sponge.
Then you want to sand the trim. If the trim is new or already smooth, use 120-grit sandpaper until all shine disappears. If the trim is rough, start with 80-grit sandpaper. Then you can use 100- or 120-grit to smooth the surface.
Be sure to use a damp sponge after sanding to remove any dust.
You also do not want to forget to use primer on the trim work. After applying the primer, let it dry for 24 hours. then hit the primer with 120 grit sandpaper to remove any brush strokes. Use a damp sponge to remove any dust.
Apply paint to the trim using short, horizontal brush strokes. Smooth over the series of short brush strokes with one long brush stroke. Do not add more paint to the brush.
When you are painting wood, the paint that comes straight from the can is often too thick. Adding a paint conditioner will help the paint flow better and brush on smoothly.
Floetrol is a paint conditioner that reduces build up on brushes and extends the drying time. It also creates a smooth finish and helps eliminate brush marks. It really is a miracle and often a painter’s secret weapon for a flawless finish on trim work.
Paint Roller Tips
Painting your home’s interior with a brush is a lot of work. Using a roller gets is faster and much easier. There are different types of rollers for different kinds of paint. Make sure you select the right one for the paint you are using!
Paint rollers can’t get close to the edges. This means the first step is using a brush along the ceiling, inside corners and moldings. This will leave brush marks that won’t match the roller on the rest of the wall.
You’ll need to cover as many brush marks as possible with the roller to get the best looking paint job. To do this, get as close to the corners, moldings and the ceiling as you can.
Make a horizontal strip of paint at the top of the wall first. Then you roll up vertically to this horizontal strip. The horizontal strip of paint along the ceiling will help to prevent you from “bumping” the ceiling!
Roll up and down, from floor to ceiling. Overlap the previous stroke by about three-quarters of a roller width each time. Apply the paint with a sweeping stroke and quickly spread the paint.
Never start against an edge of a corner or molding. You should start about 6 inches from the edge.
When you reach the corners, get as close as you can to the next wall without touching it. Keep doing this until the entire wall is painted. Then you need to roll back over the wall you just covered to smooth and blend the paint.
You do not need to reload the roller with paint to get rid of the extra paint before you smooth and blend. Tilt the roller and apply a little extra pressure to the open side of the roller while rolling it up and down in the area you’ve just painted.
If you’re painting the walls with the baseboard removed, leave an unpainted strip along the bottom. This strip will be covered by the baseboard.
If you try to paint too close to the floor, your roller cover could touch it. Also, the roller might pick up stuff on the floor that will get spread across the wall.
Ridges of paint left by the edge of the roller are a common problem. If you let them dry, it may mean you will have to do some heavy sanding or patching. You can avoid these roller marks by never submerging the roller in the paint to load it. Try to only dip the nap in the paint.
If the surface you are painting is porous or textured, use a heavy nap roller cover (1/2″ or more). Use a 1/4″ nap to maximize sheen on a smoother surface.
Painting the Interior: Let There Be Light
You cannot expect to do a good job if you are painting in the dark. You may be feeling proud of your work until you turn the lights on. You may see thin patches and other imperfections when the lights are on or the shades opened.
It is important to have plenty of bright light when painting the interior of a house!
The Weather and Painting
Paint doesn’t like extreme temperatures. You need to consider both the temperature and the humidity level when painting. While this is more of a problem when painting the exterior, it can also cause problems inside as well.
High level of humidity causes paint to dry slower. So, if the humidity is high, consider delaying painting the interior of your house.
Paint also cannot dry properly in freezing temps. It will only dry partway and will come off easily when touched. You need to remember this if painting an unheated home during the winter months.
Wrinkled paint is caused by applying paint too heavily, extreme temps (hot or cold) or not enough time between coats.
The summers in South Carolina can be brutal and will also cause you problems when painting the interior of your home. The paint can start to dry before you can spread it evenly.
A Word of Caution About Painting a House
It is possible that you may generate some dust or fumes that contain lead. This should only be a problem in older homes but for safety’s sake, it is best to never assume!
Many homes built before 1978 have lead-based paint. Lead from paint, chips, and dust can pose serious health hazards, especially in children or pregnant women.
DO NOT TRY TO REMOVE LEAD-BASED PAINT YOURSELF!
Visit epa.gov/lead, or call 1-800-424-LEAD (5323) for more information about the dangers of lead or what to do about removing lead-based paint.
The Take Away on Painting the Interior of a House
Painting the interior can really help make your home attractive to buyers. It can help you to neutralize the home as you prepare the home for the market.
Painting your home can be one of the first steps in making it truly reflect you and your personal style.
As I suggested before, you may want the help of a professional painter. Painting a home is not an easy task and there are many common home painting mistakes to avoid.
Whether you are turning the house you bought into your dream home or getting a home ready to sell, I hope this article will help you to avoid some of the common house painting mistakes!