8 Secrets Only Professional Painters Know
Make your next painting project stress-free with these genius tips from experts.
Don't know how to reach tall ceilings? Or maybe you don't know how long to leave painter's tape on? Below, we've asked some of our favorite paint experts what to do about both of these and more secrets to achieving a flawless paint job.
Use an Extension Pole
"Most people think they’re only for reaching high places but if you have a lot of wall surface to paint, an extension pole is a must. It will give you greater leverage so you don’t have to keep bending down to load your roller, which reduces strain on your arms and back. With better leverage and less physical stress, you’ll be able to paint faster and more efficiently."
— Nicole Gibbons, founder of Clare Paint
"Slip a small plastic bag over your doorknobs, and tape the edge to avoid getting paint in places it isn't supposed to go."
—Mike Mundwiller, Field Integration Manager at Benjamin Moore
Choose the Right Brush
"Investing in a good paintbrush is the first step towards a professional-looking finish. Plan to invest $20-$25 on your brush, this is not the area to save a few dollars. As a homeowner, stick with the synthetic brushes–poly brushes are good for exterior work and soft nylon is good to use for interior work. The smaller the brush, the more control, but be mindful of selecting a brush too small that would make a project take longer."
— Thumbtack painter Brian Bedenbaugh
Don't Forget to Caulk
“Don’t forget to caulk around the trim work, crown molding, windows and door frames. This makes your trim and wall finishes stand out and look like a professional took their time in providing quality work. Plus, caulking could add the benefit of keeping unwanted cold air/draft from sneaking into the room.”
—Rick Watson, director of product information at Sherwin-Williams
Use a Box Cutter To Remove Painter's Tape
"Latex paint can have an almost elastic-like "stretch" before it fully cures, so when you remove the painter's tape that was protecting your floor or door trim, be careful not to pull the latex paint off with the tape and ruin your perfect finish. Simply use a retractable utility blade or box cutter to score the place where the tape meets the wall so you get a clean edge when you pull off the tape."
—Anne Treutel, Sr. Product Manager at Valspar
Put Your Roller in the Fridge
"If you're taking a break from painting for the night but plan to add another coat in the morning, wrap your brush and roller tightly with a plastic shopping bag and use a rubber band to secure it and place it in the fridge (not the freezer). In the morning, take it out of the fridge and get to painting!"
—Lou Manfredini, Home Expert at Ace Hardware
Use the "W" Method
"Many pros swear by the 'W method.' When painting a room, roll your paint onto the wall in a W shape, then fill in around and inside the W to create a square and repeat until the wall is covered. Each “W” should be about an arm's-length, with strokes 12” or longer, to evenly distribute the paint for a beautiful, professional-quality finish. Don’t forget to reload your roller before starting the next W section."
— Jessica Barr, Behr National Sales & Development Trainer
Keep a Wet Rag in Your Back Pocket
"When paint hits your trim, grab your closest wet rag. Wiping the unwanted paint with a wet rag will help remove paint better than a dry cloth or paper towel. (Extra pro tip: Use a razor blade to remove unwanted paint from windows)."
—Jenny Burroughs, PPG senior product marketing manager