Painting Project Tried-and-True Tips
Tried-and-true tips for a successful DIY painting project.
By Matt Weber
Experienced painters know that professional results come from careful planning and prep work. Before you revitalize a room with a new coat of paint, the walls need to be free of all dings, dents, cracks and holes.
Repair your Walls
Over time, walls are often damaged from accidental impact, or cracks can develop from the house settling. Pictures and artwork are rearranged to update the interior décor, and fastener holes are left behind, pockmarking the walls. These types of minor drywall damage can be easily repaired with a putty knife and vinyl spackling or lightweight joint compound.
Clear out the holes then recess the edges below the wall surface using the blunt handle of a putty knife. Use the blade of the knife to fill the hole with repair compound, flush with the wall. Allow to dry overnight and reapply as needed if any shrinking has occurred. Lightly sand smooth if necessary. Coat the repair with two coats of primer before painting. Some of the new spackling pastes are formulated with primer already in the product, which eliminates the extra step.
For larger holes you might try an aluminum screen patch, which are sold at hardware stores in 4-, 6-, and 8-in. sizes. Choose a patch that is larger than the damaged area on all sides by at least an inch, and stick the adhesive patch over the hole. Trowel on the first coat of drywall compound so the screen is barely visibly, then allow to dry overnight. Follow with a wider coat of compound, feathering the edges smooth 8 to 12 inches outside the patch. Allow to dry, then add a third coat, sanding as need to blend the repair with the surrounding wall.
Tape & Protect
When priming and painting, DIY’ers can use painter’s tape to mask off all areas where one color meets another, such as window or door trim, accent walls, etc. When applying the tape, use a roller or putty knife to burnish it to the surface you are masking for the best seal. And always remove the tape immediately after you’ve finished painting. This helps prevent dry paint from bridging over the tape and peeling when you remove it, which can mess up the crisp paint lines.