Painting can be frustrating. We have the tips that will help you paint like a pro and love it.

Advice from a pro

Painting fast would seem to be at odds with getting great results, but that's how painting contractors make their living. You, too, can paint faster without sacrificing quality by using the tips shown here. Some of these methods are contrary to the painting advice you've been hearing for years, but they work—they'll save you time and leave you with a professional-looking finish.

For this article, we worked with painting expert John Right. John is a veteran professional painter and the owner of Do It Right Painting. The tricks and techniques he shares here come from 30 years of experience painting thousands of homes. Besides being a super-efficient painter, John leaves a flawless finish on walls, ceilings, and woodwork.

Clean quickly with TSP

Starting with a clean surface before painting will ensure the paint will adhere to previously painted woodwork and walls. Use Trisodium Phospate cleaner (TSP) and a sponge to quickly was off dirt and grime.

Strain or pain

Even new paint you just purchased from the paint store can still have small chunks of hard paint in it. These will be a pain when they end up on the wall as you will have to pick them off and reroll. Straining the paint either using pantyhose or paint strainer pour the paint throught the strainer into a 5 gallon bucket.

Cut in quickly and steadily

It takes a steady hand to cut in along trim that's not protected by masking tape. And once you get the knack for it, you'll never want to fuss with taping trim again.

A tapered paintbrush is best for cutting along trim. The angled bristles uniformly unload the paint as you cut in. Dip the brush into the paint, then tap (don't wipe) each side against your container to knock off the excess. Brush the paint on the wall, about 1/2 in. from the trim. Then make a second pass, cutting in all the way to the trim. Avoid “pushing” the paint with your bristles or you'll leave a ridge where you're cutting in. Apply just enough pressure to let the bristle ends glide next to the trim. To help keep the brush steady, move your entire arm as you paint instead of moving your arm only from the elbow down.

Cover walls fast

Anyone who has painted has a personal technique for rolling paint onto walls. For three decades John has honed his technique which makes it fast, efficient and provides even coverage.

If you're right handed, paint the wall from left to right (it'll feel more natural when you're rolling). Load the roller sleeve with paint and roll from the baseboard to the ceiling to get the paint on the wall. Then roll straight back down (without reloading the roller) to ensure the wall is covered. Load the roller and move over about 3 in. to the right (the unpainted side of the wall) and roll the full height of the wall again to feather out the leading edge.

When you get to the top, move about 6 in. to the left (without reloading) and roll back down to smooth out any runs or lap marks. Then reload the roller, place it on the feathered edge and start the process over. As you paint, roll horizontally where you cut in along the baseboard and ceiling. Only roll about 3 ft. at a time so the paint will stay wet as you roll the walls.

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having the materials ready ahead of time.

  • Painter's tape
  • Paint strainer cloth
  • Paint
  • Trisodium Phosphate cleaner (TSP)

Required Tools for this Project

Save time and frustration by having all the necessary tools ready before you start.

  • Bucket (5 gal.)
  • Paint roller
  • Paint tray
  • Putty knife
  • Paintbrush
  • short handle extension for the roller
  • rubber gloves
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