Painting is one of the easiest DIY home projects to take on, and an amazingly affordable way to change the entire look of a room. A sloppy paint job, however, can ruin the look of your impeccably chosen decor. Before you break out the rollers and dropcloths, check out these four secrets for the perfect DIY interior paint job.
1. For a Perfect Paint Job, Start with a Perfect Surface
According to Popular Mechanics, the only way your finished paint job will look perfect is if you spend time upfront prepping your wall until it is as smooth as glass. To get there, start by sanding out any imperfections like plaster marks or ridges around nail holes. Using fine grit sandpaper on a sanding pole, start at the baseboard and work your way up to the ceiling, then sand horizontally. Fill any holes or cracks in the wall with joint compound, then cover the entire wall with a coat of tinted primer.
2. Avoid Lap Marks
Lap marks are the streaks that can build up on a freshly painted wall when coats of paint overlap each other unevenly, causing the surface to look less than perfect. Perfecting your technique can help you avoid this phenomenon. The secret? Make sure each stroke of your roller overlaps the edge of the previous stroke before it has a chance to dry. Paint the entire wall at once, running the roller up and down the full height of the wall, and frequently reload the roller with paint before it dries out.
3. Keep Your Color Consistent
Did you know the same color of paint from the same manufacturer can vary slightly between cans? To prevent giving your walls an unwanted two-tone look, pros use a process called boxing before beginning a new paint job. Simply purchase all the paint you need, then mix the cans together in a five gallon bucket before getting started. You can then either paint directly from the bucket or pour the paint from the bucket into a rolling tray depending on your preference.
4. Buy Quality Paint and Primer
According to This Old House, this is one of the best ways to ensure that you are happy with your finished paint job. Avoid latex primers, which are commonly used by homeowners, and stick to the alcohol and alkyd primers that professionals prefer. When selecting paint, keep in mind that while glossier paints are easier to clean and more stain resistant, they also tend to highlight imperfections. For best results, choose an eggshell gloss finish and expect to spend about $25 to $30 per gallon. And don’t skimp on the number of gallons; you’ll need about one gallon for every 400 square feet of coverage.