While it’s true that many of us will always take the easy way out and hire professional painters when we want to change up the look of our homes, there are also those among us who take great pride in doing at least some of the interior painting of our houses ourselves. Whether you’re a true artist at heart for whom painting comes natural, or you just want to save a little money by investing time and energy into a DIY project, we have several tips and tricks to share for those of you considering taking (color) matters into your own hands!
Wait for the Right Weather
Did you know that humidity and temperature affect how well your paint will go on and how quickly it will dry? If you try to paint on a high humidity or rainy day, your paint will drip and run more and it will dry more slowly. If you must paint when the humidity is high, you can correct errors as you go, but be sure to leave plenty of time for complete drying between coats – your rooms will be inaccessible for longer while drying. Also be prepared to wait longer for your paint to dry in cold weather – when latex paint is cold it dries much more slowly.
Buy in Bulk
Take measurements of the room or rooms you will be painting, then use an online calculator or talk to the salesperson at the paint store to determine how much paint you will need, so you can purchase and mix it all at once, rather than gallon by gallon. If you will need four gallons of paint, you can have it mixed in one large container to ensure paint color consistency, and to avoid mistakes like running out for one last gallon and inadvertently purchasing the wrong sheen. Already purchased your paint? Empty all of the gallons into a larger bucket and mix it yourself to achieve consistency.
You may be tempted to leave outlet and vent covers up and either tape them off or try to carefully cut in around them. Don’t. Trust us, it is worth the time to take all plate covers off so you can paint all the way to the edge of the drywall cut. You will have fewer paint drips to clean up after painting, and if you decide to change the look of your outlet and switch plates later, you don’t have to worry about slight differences in size showing your previous paint color.
Start with a Clean Slate
Have little hands left dirty spots near the light switches or along the bottoms of a bedroom wall? Unfortunately just painting over these spots is not the best idea. Painting over dirty and oily spots will make your paint more likely to chip and peel in that area. First use a deglosser or a heavy duty cleaner designed for pre-paint cleaning. You can find these cleaners near the paint in a home improvement store, but be sure to wear rubber gloves as they are quite abrasive.
Cut the Tape
When your paint is dry, always cut the tape from the baseboards first rather than just grabbing an end and pulling it off. Wait a full 24 hours for the paint to dry, then use a utility knife or box cutter to carefully cut a line along the edge of the tape. If you don’t take this extra step first, you risk pulling paint off of your wall along with the tape. To make sure your paint is ready, start in an inconspicuous area, and stop cutting if the paint seems gummy.