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My Top 5 Painting Tips

In order to prep the money pit for sale I needed to do quite a bit of touch up to both the plaster and paint. At first I thought this was going to be a simple job, but now I am in the middle of painting hell.

We never repainted any rooms in the house when we moved in, we left the color the way it was and decorated around it. The previous owners left at least 2 dozen cans of paint in the basement, so I was sure it was going to be smooth sailing retouching up the patches.

I was wrong.

So if you are currently painting, will paint, or are planning on thinking about painting your house anytime in the future take my advice and do the following.

My Top 5 Painting Tips

1. Remove the switch plate covers.
Seriously folks.. it isn't not actually *THAT* much more work to unscrew a single screw on an outlet cover and paint under it than it is to try to paint right up to it. Plus nobody likes to look at paint on the switchplate covers. It is just DAMN ANNOYING, so don't be a lazy fool.

2. Just because you removed the switch plates, doesn't mean you should be a pig.
This is a caveat of rule number 1. Once the switch plate covers are removed, it is much easier to paint, but there is NO EXCUSE for painting the outlets or switches themselves. Yes, you want to paint with the least amount of work, but if you are sloppy it will show.

3. Label paint cans by room.
I really appreciate that you like the color tan.. and all 15 shades of it you used in this house. But it would have been really great if you would have written on the paint can "laundry room" or "downstairs bathroom" or ANYTHING that gives the person an idea of what exactly is in the can. It also makes it much easier to pick out the right can when you are down in the dark basement, since in case you didn't know it, humans don't have color memory.. by the time we have walked from the 3rd floor to the basement and back, I can't recall exactly which shade of green I needed.

4. Use a paint pourer on your paint cans (or at least clean up after yourself)
If you have never used one of these:
I suggest you go out and get one RIGHT NOW. Best $1.97 you will ever spend. If you haven't seen them before, they insert in your paint can rim and prevent paint from getting in the little groove where the lid sits. It also makes it really easy to pour the paint out of the can.
But the real thing that makes this the.best.painting.invention ever is the fact that if the rim of your paint can stays clean, it won't RUST! There is nothing more frustrating that giant flecks of rust in your paint. Plus dealing with a crumbling paint can is downright annoying. (Says the woman who discovered a whole in the bottom of a rusty paint can only after having it leak all over her hardwood floors, interior floorboards of her car, her good wool winter coat and the floor of the paint store.)

If you are too cheap to pony up the two bucks for the paint pourer, at least make sure you clean off the paint REALLY REALLY REALLY well before you re-hammer on the lid. Or else you (or others) are destined to regret it down the line.

5. Find a brand of paint you like and stick with it.
God only knows who exactly bought the dozens of cans of paint in the basement. Knowing this house has had dozens of owners, it is most likely a few cans came in with every new owner (lord knows I have added at least half a dozen cans of my own) but if you are purchasing paint for your own home, I really suggest you find a brand of paint you like and try to always use that brand. If you jump around from Valspar to Sherwin Williams to Behr to Benjamin Moore to Glidden, you will be making 10 different trips to all corners of town to buy replacement paint. The other problem is that using multiple brands of paint, makes matching colors later much much harder. You are suddenly selecting from an unlimited number of color chips instead of being limited within one brand.

Well, there you have it. My top 5 Tips. If the people who owned the Money Pit before me had only followed them, my life would have been a lot easier.

Do yourself (and anyone who may purchase you home down the line) a favor and follow them. Trust me.. I know what I'm talking about.

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  1. Great tips... Did I ever tell you my dad painted houses in the summer... that's what all male teachers in the eighties did... I'm a Sherwin Williams gal...or as my sister and I always called it, "Sherman Williams" mostly because my dad gets a discount! :)

  2. Do we live in the same house? Those are all tips the previous owner could have used.

    Also, use tape along the wood trim if you're a sloppy painter.

  3. That number 5 part is hard when you give up and decide to outsource your painting to "professionals". >:-(

    The last crew we had in used some pretty shitty stuff (or okay stuff with shitty technique). Would have been better off buying our usual brand at Home Deep-o.

  4. I posted a handfull of paint tips awhile back and those same tips came back into play recently with our Master Bedroom Overhaul...

    Frog Tape - Ditch the crummy blue tape and get the stuff that won't let paint seep under the edges!

    Painter's Comb - Cleaning paint brushes is still a hassle, but much easier and an infinitely more effective with a painter's comb!

    Glad Press n Seal - Great for keeping your paint bucket, cup, or tray from getting dried out when you've gotta take a break.


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