Every profession has some do-s and don’ts, and some best-kept secrets that only a pro in the field would know. But, of course, they won’t tell you these secrets, as these are the key elements that make all the difference between a professional job and a DIY.
A paint job is no different. But, have you ever looked at a professional paint job and thought, gosh, I’ll never get this good at it? Well, here’s the reason behind it. There are some little and big hacks and tips and tricks that professional painters apply to improve the quality of their work and make it easier for them.
These secrets have probably crossed your mind as questions while looking at a paint job or doing it on your own. Simple questions like “How did they reach the ceilings so high?”
Or “How long should I keep the painter’s tape on after the work is done?” These secrets are not something you can learn from somebody. Instead, you learn them as you keep going.
Have no fear. We are here to debunk all the secrets no painter would want you to discover about their job. So, hush up, and listen closely.
The Best Kept Secrets Behind a Professional Paint job
The things I’m about to tell you are not so much secrets but the handicraft of skilled painters. These things range from basic to advanced tips and tricks. Let’s get to it, then!
Keep Your Coast Clear
Before you begin, you must clear the room you’ll be painting. Get rid of all the furniture and everything else you will not be painting in the room.
This includes carpets and curtains as well. The more stuff there is in the room, the more hindrance they’ll cause when you paint. Also, you don’t want to dust or drip paint all over your stuff, do you?
I know what you must be thinking at this point. You’re forgetful just like I am, and you’re probably thinking about how you’ll remember what goes where after the paint job when you’ll be putting everything back in its place.
There’s a handy little trick to solve this problem. Use masking tape to mark the places where the furniture was, and write over the pieces the names of the furniture to mark their spots.
If you can’t move all the furniture to another room, move them from the spot where you will be painting, and put them around the middle of the room. In that case, cover them with a drop cloth to protect them from accidental drips or dust.
Cover All the Nooks and Crannies
If you cannot move all the furniture, you must cover them using a drop cloth. Drop cloths are sheets of fabric typically made of canvas or plastic and are used on floors and furniture while painting.
Anything from little drops and splashes of paint to large spills can be tackled with one of these. You can find them at any hardware store. Buy a large sheet and cut it into pieces according to the size of the furniture you’d want to cover.
To cover the floor, you could use a drop cloth. But the downside of using a drop cloth to cover the floor is that since it is a fabric, it can get quite slippery and clumsy.
If that’s the case, cardboard can be a better choice. Just cut a sheet of cardboard according to the size of your floor, or recycle old cardboard boxes, and you’re good to go.
Then you just need to set it on the floor tightly against the wall you’re painting and slide it around when you’re painting the next wall. Cardboard is also easy to dispose of once you’re done with the paint job, given that it’s biodegradable.
Choose The Right Brush and Roller
One of the first and foremost things to do when you want your paint job to look like the work of a professional is choosing the right equipment for the right task.
For example, I prefer synthetic or polyester brushes to paint the exterior. For the interior, I prefer soft nylon brushes. Brush sizes also make a massive difference in the quality of your work and the effort it takes. Therefore, some painters prefer smaller brushes.
They tend to give you more control and precision over your work.
However, the smaller the brush, the more time and effort the work will take. So, choosing the correct brush size for the job is also vital in a paint job.
The same goes for roller covers or roller sleeves. You might think roller covers don’t make that much of a difference in the paint job and just want to buy cheap ones from the market.
Then, throw them away right after the work is done. But once you get your hands on some good roller covers, you wouldn’t mind spending a few extra bucks behind them.
The pick, in this case, is ½-inch nap wool blend roller covers. A good wool cover will serve you months, if not years, if you manage to handle it properly.
Avoid Drips When You Paint
Even the hands of a professional get shaky if they’re fatigued. Of course, we’re not here to compete over who is more precise, so you’re allowed to make mistakes and drip. But the trick is to take proper precautions, so the dripping does not ruin the paint job.
One of the best ways of doing it is by using masking tape. Or if you want to get that professional, you could use painter’s tape.
Before applying the tape, make sure to clean off the trim properly using a damp piece of rag. Then hold the tape against the wall where you want to paint. Then roll it out, covering the edge of the trim. Finally, use a putty knife to press the tape against the wood along the entire trim length.
The next tricky bit is removing the tape or removing it at the right time. The science behind it is that you must remove the tape when the paint is stable.
It will not crack or get blotchy and remain in an even texture even after removing the tape. So, you should remove the tape right after painting, when the paint is still wet, or wait till the next day when it’s completely dry. Nothing in between.
Use Proper Lighting
Another term professional painters use is ‘holiday.’ It means missing a spot without noticing. It usually happens when you’re working with similar colors or different shades of the same color.
It also tends to happen if there is inadequate lighting in the room. The best and only way to avoid it is by shining a bright light over the spot you are working on.
A ‘holiday’ typically occurs around the edges of a room. And tend to happen due to using a brush where you should’ve used a roller. The problem with holidays is that they’re tough to fix and super annoying after you’ve finished the paint job and cleaned up anything.
So, you have to check for them before putting in the final finish. And the tool that will help you to prevent a holiday from occurring at all, or fix it right after it occurs, is using proper lighting. If the room is not well-lit, you should carry a portable light source over the spot you’re working on.
Take Proper Care of Your Tools
If you take care of your tools, they’ll take care of your work. This includes brushes, rollers, roller sleeves, extensions, and everything else in a painter’s toolbox.
Let’s begin with roller covers. Just like brushes, roller covers need washing too. But not just after finishing a paint job. Try washing them right after you buy them, freshly out of the box.
Pre-washing roller covers to rid them of the loose fuzz that will inevitably come off when you’re using them, ruining the entire paint job.
Use water and a little liquid soap to wash the roller covers, then rub and rinse the covers with your hands to eliminate any loose fiber that tends to come off. This is called ‘preconditioning,’ another practice done by experienced professional painters.
Don’t wait for the covers to dry. You can start using them while they’re still wet right after washing, as that would give a much smoother finish.
The following practice might sound odd, but refrigerate the roller covers when you’re not using them.
After finishing a paint job and washing them, some paint particles still tend to remain stuck between the fibers of the covers.
This tends to harden the covers, making them unusable. But refrigerating them overnight might save you from this problem. Try wrapping them tightly in a piece of plastic and using a rubber band to secure them.
Then place them in the fridge (not the freezer!) for the night. Take them out the following day, and they’re good to start painting again.
Next up is brushes. I believe even the most noob painter would know how to take primary care of a paintbrush. First, wash it thoroughly with soap water, rinsing it with your hands to eliminate any paint particles stuck between the fibers. It’s best if you use lukewarm water for this.
The following important part is storing those brushes. Brush bristles tend to be delicate and can curl up and lose shape if not stored properly.
The best way to save brush bristles from curling up is to wrap them in the cardboard wrappers they come in. These wrappers are specially designed to protect the shape of the brushes.
It’s best if you store your brushes in them. If you’ve thrown your wrappers away, you can use a rubber band instead to hold the bristles together.
Buy The Best Equipment
They say good things come at a price, which is valid for painting equipment. But unfortunately, cheap equipment is nothing but a financial scam. So don’t fall for it.
Instead, buy the best you can afford and maintain them well. They’ll serve you better and last a long time. This applies to paintbrushes, roller covers, and also paint.
Quality equipment serves the purpose well and helps you finish the task quicker and with much less effort. And the best part? You’ll know it’s a good paint job once you’re done with it simply by looking at it.
Some Final Words
It’s always fun to do things on your own. But that often leads to clumsy work and a less than satisfying outcome. Especially when it’s something like painting your sweet home.
Knowing some hacks about the task that only professionals tend to know might give you an upper hand and even save you the extra money you would’ve spent to hire a professional. We hope this article will help you to achieve that. Happy painting!