Fashion & Beauty | April 25, 2015

Primed For Painting

Get the inside edge for interior projects

Painting, DIY, Do It Yourself, Paint, Primer, Prime, Interior, Interior projects, projects, home, home projects, house, house projects, ladder

When it comes to transforming your home’s interior, few steps compare to the relative ease and cost-effectiveness of a fresh coat of paint. Whether you’re doing it for the first or forty-first time, here are some ideas for making that new color go on a bit more smoothly.



Even though you’re doing it yourself, you can approach your project like a pro. Like any home project, the best way to make it all work is with planning:

     1. Setting Your Vision

      2. Selecting Your Materials

      3. Preparing The Area

      4. Pouring On The Paint

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Painting, DIY, Do It Yourself, Paint, Primer, Prime, Interior, Interior projects, projects, home, home projects, house, house projects, ladder


What do you want the space to look like? What colors are you thinking of? By researching current color options and matching your tastes to the room you can complete one of the most important steps to success.


Lisa Boyles is a Paint Associate with Home Depot. She’s been helping pros and first-timers alike for years. She points to tools in place to help you get an accurate picture of what your space will look like, before you start.


“After folks choose a color, we’ll give them a sample to take and test out at home. This lets them see what it really is going to look like in that environment,” she says. “We also offer people a chance to see their chosen color options here in the store under a range of lighting conditions that can help them narrow down their choices.”

Painting, DIY, Do It Yourself, Paint, Primer, Prime, Interior, Interior projects, projects, home, home projects, house, house projects, ladder


Once you’ve decided on the color you want to apply, the next step is selecting your materials, including the paint you’ll be using.


Boyles says there are a variety of high-quality brands and options, including primer-and-paint blends. “It’s really a matter of personal preference whether or not you decide to use one of the blends vs. laying down a primer coat, and then using another separate coat of paint over the top,” she says. “One rule of thumb is that if you’re painting over a coat of paint that has been there more than five years, you may want to consider using the primer-and-paint blend. It will allow you to adequately cover the prior surface in most cases, and will save you time in applying multiple coats.”


If you’re trying to match a specific color already in the space you’ll be painting, technology can help you find a suitable match. Most paint stores will have a device that scans the hues from a desired colored sample you bring from home — then create a “recipe” for blending and matching the sample in the store.


“We’ve found that method is usually about 95% accurate the first time,” Boyles says.


Paint is just the start. See the accompanying list of “Tools to cover your project” that will help smooth the way for your project. From brushes and drop cloths to rollers and rags, you’ll find this list of project reminders helpful — and potentially time saving.

Painting, DIY, Do It Yourself, Paint, Primer, Prime, Interior, Interior projects, projects, home, home projects, house, house projects, ladder


Taking some extra time in setting up your work area, can make painting easier and more productive with less mess to clean up after the fact — and a better, more professional result in the end.


After moving furniture and items away from walls or out of the room, use drop cloths to cover anything on floor level that you don’t want to catch an errant drop of paint.



One of a painter’s best tools is edging tape for a clean division between two different surfaces and paint colors.


As Boyles says, there are options here. “Whether you’re using something like the blue Edge-Lock or Frog tape, it’s important to know what type of surface you’re attaching the tape to. This tape is designed to work primarily with latex-based tapes that have a higher water content. The tape is designed to bond with — and in turn create crisp lines on — these surfaces.


The issue, Boyles says, arises when tape is applied to non-latex surfaces such as oil-based or polyurethane coatings. “Some will say that the edging tape doesn’t work in those applications. But a good way to make it work is by moistening a sponge, and then applying that moisture to the adhesive side of the tape as you apply it along an edge. What that does is mimic the moisture content of the latex and allow the tape to create a tighter, crisper bond and edge on that surface.”

Painting, DIY, Do It Yourself, Paint, Primer, Prime, Interior, Interior projects, projects, home, home projects, house, house projects, ladder


No matter what surface you’re painting, taking time to hand trim the edges will make roller application much smoother later. It will also help you avoid getting too close to the edges of the surface with the roller — along with the accidental “roller rubs” that can accidentally leave paint on a previously completed surface.



Are you painting the ceilings in a room and the walls? If so, work top-down, beginning with the ceiling first. That will help you catch and correct any drips that may make their way onto your walls.


If you’re painting your ceiling, be sure to attach a spatter guard to your roller to protect lower surfaces as you apply paint. An extension pole or ladder can help you maintain good, consistent pressure as you apply the paint. And if you’re painting a ceiling that has significant texture to it, be sure to use an extra-thick roller. This will help you fill all the crevices and uneven surface faster and more efficiently.


When painting your walls, apply the same top-down mentality, working first up around the taped edges. Apply smooth, overlapping coats in a 3-foot by 3-foot “W-pattern” and fill in open areas using horizontal strokes for best coverage.



When using multiple cans of paint to cover a room or surface, pour and mix two cans at a time into the bucket. Even though paint is professionally mixed, subtle color variances that may exist from can to can are overcome using this method.


Be sure to allow plenty of time to complete each coat of paint instead of applying paint to half a wall, then coming back later. This will help you avoid even subtle variances that can occur when paint is applied over time.


Before your paint edges dry completely, remove the edging tape. This allows you to more easily remove the tape, and it also allows you to more quickly catch any errant paint that may have seeped beneath an edge to allow for easier cleanup.


For the majority of a ceiling or wall surface, check your coverage with the lights off and on. Seeing the area using a blend of daylight and different artificial lighting sources in the room brings out imperfections and uncovered remnants and makes them more visible to the naked eye.

Painting, DIY, Do It Yourself, Paint, Primer, Prime, Interior, Interior projects, projects, home, home projects, house, house projects, ladder


In the rush to make our ideas reality, the temptation for many of us is to dive in and get it done. But, by taking time to plan the final vision, prepare the area and equip ourselves for success, you can prime yourself for a less-stressful project—and a more rewarding outcome as you bring out your home’s new colors.



  • Sandpaper — To remove imperfections in the surface you’re working with.
  • Caulk & caulk gun — Helps you ensure proper seals between the area you’re painting and surrounding surfaces.
  • Spackling/hole filler — Quickly smooth the way for painting by touching up and filling old nail holes and other nicks that may have occurred since the last painting.
  • Putty knife — Use to apply spackling/hole filler.
  • Drop cloths — Protects the rest of your house during painting and makes cleanup much easier.
  • Painter’s tape — Helps you protect adjoining surfaces and create straight lines if desired.
  • Primer — Prepares the surface to receive new paint and helps mask older coats.
  • Extension pole — Extend your reach safely to get to high and faraway surfaces.
  • Ladder — Be sure to use one that is sturdy and high enough for the job at hand.
  • Brushes — A combination of angled and flat brushes help you get it done.
  • Rollers — There are a variety to choose from. Microfiber helps you lay down coats without leaving fuzz behind.
  • Edgers — These small units use brushes/pads to help you quickly trim straight edges around outside edges of your painting surface.
  • Paint trays and liners — A sturdy tray and series of liners can speed your job and ensure you keep solid control of your paint before applying it.
  • Paint sprayer/roller — A variety of models are available. These optional tools allow you to pull paint either directly from a paint can or to fill small, mobile reservoirs that attach to the painting tool.
  • Paper towels and cleaning rags — Just when you least expect it, spills and drips can occur. Paper towels help you get the majority of the mess soaked up. Cleaning rags help fine-tune the cleaning.
  • Disposable gloves — Speed your cleanup and protect your hands during your work.
  • Surface cleaners — While soap and water works in many cases for recent spills, a variety of cleaners is available to cut through a variety of excess paint from your project.
  • Sponges — Moist sponges help soak up excess paint spills and drips.
  • Trash bags — Having these in the project space helps you clean up and keep moving as you make project progress.
  • Bucket — For mixing and ensuring color consistency when more than one can of paint is needed for a job.

Credits // Author: Dave Danielson

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