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Interior Home Painting Tips

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Whether you're touching up a single wall or repainting an entire room these interior home painting tips and techniques will help ensure that your next project goes smoothly and quickly.

Get Organized:  Gather everything you're going to need together before you start.  Choose a convenient location to set up a tool station where you can lay out your paint, brushes, rollers, drop cloths, and other tools.

Take Time to Prep:  If you can spare the time, take at least a day to prep the room or area for painting.  Either move furniture to another location, or gather it in the center of the room and cover it with a drop cloth.  Place strips of blue painter's tape around doors and windows to protect them.  Remove all light bulbs and cover all light fixtures with large plastic bags.

Patch holes or cracks in the walls before you start painting.  Use fiberglass tape to bridge wide cracks, and spackle or putty to fill in small holes.  Most paint and home improvement stores also offer texturizing products so you can match your wall's existing finish.

Unless you are supremely confident in your ability to paint around hinges and doorknobs, your best bet is to remove them until the interior home painting project is done.  Use plastic zip lock bags to keep your doorknobs, cabinet knobs, hinges, switch plates, and outlet covers organized.  Label the bags with the contents and location, and put them somewhere out of the way.

Dress for the Job:  Face it.  No matter how hard you try, you're going to spill paint on what you're wearing.  Choose some old, comfortable clothes to paint in.  Wear shoes you can slip on and off easily so you won't accidentally track paint into another room.  Take off all of your jewelry.  Finally, wear a shower cap or old baseball cap to protect your hair.

Do Your Work in Sections:  It's important that the paint remain wet while you're working, otherwise you may end up with unsightly stripes on your wall where wet paint meets dry.  You should do your painting in small sections, alternating back and forth between the paintbrush and the roller when necessary.  For most projects, doing the work in 4-foot square sections will suffice.

Start with the Paintbrush:  Use your brush to lay down paint in areas that are too tight for the roller.  You should also "cut-in" a one-inch border of paint around the doors and windows, and in all the corners.  For best results, dip the bristles of your brush about halfway into the paint, and then tap the brush against the edge of the paint can to remove any excess.  When painting, press the brush lightly against the surface so that the bristles flex slightly.  Move the brush in both directions to prevent streaking.

Finish Up with the Roller:  Rollers aren't as flexible or maneuverable as brushes, but they distribute paint more quickly and consistently.  Make sure you choose a roller with the proper nap for the surface you're painting:  flat, smooth surfaces require a short nap, while rough textures (such as stucco) will require a thick, deep nap.

Dip the roller into the paint so that it is covered, but not saturated.  Roll it back and forth over the ridges in the tray to remove any excess.  Paint a large zigzag pattern on the surface, covering the entire section.  Without lifting the roller, move it back and forth to spread the paint.  Finally, use light up and down strokes to give the surface an even finish.

Clean Up:  If you're painting your home interior with latex (water-based) paint, clean up is relatively simple.  Soak your brushes and rollers in a solution of laundry fabric softener and water for about 10 minutes, and then rinse them in clear water.  Wipe off excess moisture from the brushes and rollers, and allow them to dry before putting them away.

For alkyd (oil-based) paint, cleaning up requires a little more effort.  Soak your brushes and rollers in a bucket of paint thinner, swishing them around to remove the paint.  Dump out the used thinner, rinse out the bucket, and repeat until the brushes and rollers are clean.  Shake them to remove excess moisture.  Put the brushes and rollers back in their covers or wrap them in plastic before storing them.

Be Prepared for Touch Ups:  Put some of the leftover paint into small jars or food storage containers.  Label these containers with the type of paint and where it was used, and seal them in plastic bags.  If you need to fix a small dent or scratch, simply shake the container and use a cotton swab or small foam brush to dab on a small spot of paint.

Just follow these interior home painting tips, and your next painting project should come off without a hitch.  If you have any questions or need any further advice on interior home painting, the experts at your local home improvement, paint, or hardware store should be able to help.

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