Painting Tips: Techniques for the Perfect Paint Job

Stuart Wellbert
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Techniques for the Perfect Paint Job

Here are some of the most commonly used painting techniques:


Glazing involves loading wet paint with just a hint of color in transparent or semi-transparent color palette to alter the hue of anyone who sees the final product. It involves a clear transparent color (the glaze canvas) being painted over a color and absorbing light from the base color.

To do this easily, first paint the base color without a second thought to the glaze, creating an opaque layer. Once dried, brush on the transparent color. At this time the existing paint should appear translucent or semi-transparent. Make sure you take care distributing it through each layer of paint.

Another option is to create a variety of hard and soft edges while painting your original layer. This will allow the glaze to grab the next layer, and the result will be a range of light and dark undertones.

Show Time

When painting something like a television, table, or any other item with a shiny finish, you may want to consider glazing. This will help create a more realistic look and take into account all the different angles and the light dispersal it will be subjected to.

Painted with a smooth brush in several directions across the shiny surface, it ensures the light reflects in all the correct places and will give the image a more polished look.

Clean your walls First!

You want to make sure to clean your walls before applying paint. Sanding off any chipped or peeling paint is also a good idea, because it allows the new coat to adhere better.

Next, you’ll need to wipe off the walls with a damp washcloth. If you have a clean wall, clean paint will stick much better. Any dirt or debris on the wall will create flaws in your paint job.

Not that you'll have care, but to protect from drips or potential splatters from your can, it's a good idea to cover your floors and trim with plastic sheeting before you start painting.

You'll also want to use both a primer and a good-quality paint. A good primer acts as a super sealant to hold everything together. It'll block the paint from peeling as easily.

If you're painting a new color but don't want it to take too long, buy one of the varieties of paint that blushes the colors of the wall.

Keep a Wet Edge

Always start your brush in the middle of the area you are painting. Work from the middle and work your way out. This will give a clean edge to your wall and make sure that all of your strokes are uniform and straight. It can be difficult to keep a wet edge, but as long as you start in the middle and work your way out, it will be much easier to do.

To help keep your paint from drying into a thick glue-like consistency, use a fan.

Set one up and keep it on you while you work. It will not only make the paint dry quickly, but will keep your work area cooler and reduce unwanted odors. Your paint will dry faster since you are creating fan-forced circulation.

Practice this technique with a small section of your painting, and you will have the technique mastered in no time.

Start with the Trim

If you start painting with the trim, you will save yourself from having to paint over mistakes wherever you don’t want the base color to show through. The trim will also serve as a border for a clean line where you want your top color to start. It’s an easy job. Just remember to paint the underside of the trim to finish the job.

Apply 2 Coats of Paint

Apply your paint in 2 coats, and you will never look back. 2 coats will cut down the amount of time you spend on the job, and it will make it last longer because 2 coats creates a better barrier between the paint and the elements. This can delay your next paint job by months!

Smooth, Even Paint Job.

Using a roller with a long handle is an easy way to achieve a smooth, even finish. This is the most popular way to complete a paint job. It’s much easier than trying to apply a smooth finish using a brush.

If you are using a roller, do it with the grain. This will help avoid bubbles and brush strokes in the finished product.

Sand Between Coats

Sanding between paint coats is probably the single most important step in getting a good paint job. If you skip this step, you’re going to end up with a lot of drips and runs in your final coat.

By sanding the base coat before applying the clear coat, you give the paint time to settle into the pores and texture of the wood. The chalky surface that you see from flat paint coats will disappear into a smooth, uniform surface.

If you don’t sand between coats, your hand will be all over your finished project. It’s almost impossible to sand your project before applying the clear coat, so pay extra special attention to this step for every painting project.

What is the Correct Order to Paint a Room?

You’ll find conflicting information on the Internet about the correct order to paint a room. Some paint professionals will recommend that you paint ceilings first. Other professionals say to do the trim work first.

Less Expensive to Paint over Existing Paint

So, which way is the right way to paint a room? After more than 30 years in the painting business and thousands of interior painting projects under my belt, I believe all the experts are right. Painting the ceiling first is the most economical way to paint a room. The ceiling is the highest point in the room, so you can paint it and it will dry before you finish the walls. The trim is the second-highest surface, so you can paint it and it will dry before you need to paint the walls.

Of course, if you’re painting only the walls, don’t paint the ceiling or trim first because you’ll want to paint the walls and ceiling in a single day.

Can I just Paint over old Paint?

If you are starting with glossy paint and want a matte finish, you can just sand it out and spray over it. If you try that with matte paint, you will end up with little glossy spots. This is because the spray paint doesn’t respond very well to sanding. If you have a wall that has been painted all over, you may need to sand it down to the bare wood.

If you have an exposed area, a good way to go is with an enamel paint. Color changing paints are good as acrylic paints can be hard to match after paint has been removed.

Problem: The paint has changed color from the sun.

Solution: It is best to use an oil based primer because latex paint tends to yellow over time. The primer will give your body paint a clean canvas to show off on.

Do you roll or cut in First When Painting?

There are two fundamental types of painters:

It’s possible to start more than one project at once, or to repaint areas and then return to them. A good painter knows his colors and paints in the order of his choice. So long as the brushed paint doesn’t have time to dry before receiving the next coat, he can get any type of effect by the order of the coats. I prefer to go with the roller on new or previously painted surfaces, and to cut-in if the surface is old and/or damaged.

So long as the brushwork is skillful and you’ve worked on the same types of projects in the past, your choice of technique is personal. The more you do the same job, the more proficient you’ll become, and the more flexible you will able to be with whatever it is you’re painting.