So a few weekends ago, two of my former California roommates came to visit me in Missouri. We had a nice weekend full of craft shows, coffee shops, and Harry Potter Trivia games (based on the books, of course.) But they also volunteered to help me paint my sunroom/future office, so after a nice trip to Home Depot (where the paint took forever to be mixed, so we invented an awesome game to entertain ourselves), we got started.
As I’m pouring paint into the paint tray, Brittany (California friend 1) picks up a paintbrush and casually catches all of the paint sliding down the side of paint can in this snazzy swoop-y motion. When I look at her all impressed, she goes “Oh yeah, didn’t you know, my Dad used to paint houses. That’s how he put himself through college.”
Well, okay then. Show me everything you know. Turns out, it wasn’t that much. It’s not like Brittany painted professionally. But together, we realized some things that made the whole process go faster. Here were our key takeaways:
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1. Always Have Someone On the Ladder
For our first coat, Brittany and I both started painting at ground level. This resulted in inefficiency at the end, when both of us needed to be painting up high. For the second coat, Brittany started and stayed on the ladder, while I painted everything at ground level. We finished our respective parts at exactly the same time, and no person was ever standing around waiting for the ladder.
2. Painting Around Windows? Don’t Worry About Tape!
The room I was painting had not one, but two sets of french doors, as well as eight windows. Eight! To make it all go faster, I didn’t bother putting down painters tape, or being extra careful as I painted. I used a small brush and painted quickly, then when I was done, scraped the dry paint off the window with a scraper. Much faster.
3. Like Your Shirt? Turn It Inside Out.
Since Brittany was visiting from California, I loaned her some painting clothes to wear. However, it was a little chilly, so she opted to wear one of her long-sleeved shirts underneath the t-shirt I gave her. Since she liked her shirt (at least a little,) and didn’t want to ruin it with paint, she turned it inside out just in case a bit of paint got on it. Maybe that’s an obvious tip, but I thought it was a brilliant idea, and decided to share with everyone else!
4. Prime Trim at the Same Time as the Walls!
The trim in the future-office was super grimy, flaky, and overall unacceptable. I knew I’d be painting it eventually too. What I should have done (and admittedly didn’t) was prime all the trim and walls at the same time. Then I wouldn’t have had to be careful not to paint the walls while painting primer on the trim, which would have made one coat at least a little easier to paint.
5. Know When To Splurge On Tools.
If you’ve read any other “painting tips” articles, you’ll know that you should be purchasing nice paintbrushes. Most people recommend the Purdy brand. But if you haven’t looked at the prices yet, you’re in for a shock. Purdy paintbrushes tend to cost $10 and up for the typical brush.
Now, I highly recommend splurging and getting a couple of these paintbrushes for your final coats. They do a better job, and are easier to use. However, if at any point you are using an oil-based primer, or doing a furniture project with oil based stain, get some cheap-o brushes. Oil-based products are difficult to clean, requiring mineral spirits instead of water. Given that primer gets covered up by your final coat, and stain gets wiped off, erasing any texture marks, I prefer to use cheap brushes that I can throw away after applying the oil-based product.
If you live by a Menards, they regularly have paintbrushes that are free after rebate. Otherwise, Harbor Freight has a decent selection of cheap brushes.
I hope these five tips make your painting go at least a little easier. While my sunroom has been painted, I have at least three more rooms that will need a new paint job in the coming months. I’ll definitely be keeping these things in mind, and adding any more tips I discover on the job!