Over the course of about four weeks I, with the help of my husband and his mother, painted our entire new home. Thirteen rooms. Sixteen cans of paint. Just two rolls of tape. One pair of paint jeans. Countless hours up and down a ladder.
Here is what I learned from all that painting.
Work with a partner.
When I worked with a partner, we were able to paint the four rooms upstairs, including ceilings, in just over two days. And we only needed the third day because we ran out of paint. The technique that helped with both timing and morale was to have someone roll while the other person cut in the top, bottom and corners. If you both start at the same point (and maybe give the person cutting in a small head start), by the time you’ve circled the room it’s finished!
Knock out the difficult areas of a room first.
Did you know that everyone has a willpower reserve? At the beginning of a day or project, you are more able to push through challenges because your willpower reserve is full. Use this fact to your advantage and tackle the hard parts of a room first: tricky corners, the part of the wall behind the toilet, the nine windows in the sun room (yep, there are nine windows in our sun room). If you leave the hard parts til the end, your willpower will be busted and you are more likely to slack on the quality of the work. Trust me on this one.
Tape hardly ever works.
Don’t trust painter’s tape. Ever. I don’t care if you buy the most expensive painter’s tape. I don’t care if you put caulk on the seam or push the edge down with a credit card to ensure a tight seal. You will always, always have to go back and do touch-ups after the fact. So that you don’t get frustrated, just know that you will be peeling off the tape, then going in with a small craft brush to neaten all the wobbly lines where the paint got under the tape. Or don’t use tape at all and rely on a good-quality angle brush and a steady hand.
Paint the trim first.
There are chair rails and crown molding in many of the rooms I painted and base molding in all of them. In order to save time, avoid using costly and time-consuming tape, and get a very sharp, professional looking result, I painted the trim first.
When I painted the trim, I did not cut in. I allowed the white paint to get on the wall. You might say I slopped it on because I did not pay attention to staying in the lines. When the trim was dry, I cut in around all the base and crown molding, windows and doors. If I had any lines that were less than perfect, I went back and touched up with a small bristled craft brush. The results were beautiful and looked very clean.
Remember which sheen of paint to buy.
For pretty much any wall, especially heavily textured walls, you should get eggshell or satin sheen. For kitchens and baths, get semi-gloss because it is more durable if you need to wipe down the walls.
Know when to hire a professional.
Our living room has vaulted ceilings with eight beams running across it. After two days of starting and stopping the project myself and finally getting intimidated with the scope of the project, I decided to let someone else finish the job. Sometimes, you must evaluate a project by literally asking, “Will I give someone a hundred bucks (or whatever they are charging) so that I don’t have to do this?” If the answer is yes, then hire someone else. It will take them less time than it will take you.