It seems as though members of the public believe painting is an easy job, but the truth is that many DIY painting projects end in disaster because it is easier than you think to do a poor job. While there is no substitute for an experienced painting company, there are a few interior paint tips and tricks used by the pros that can help you along.

Proper Painting Protection

Paint Roller & Bucket On Drop Cloth

Painters have an arsenal of tools and equipment to protect everything that’s not supposed to get painted, such as the floor and trim work.

Painting preparation involves sanding and scraping, which results in a lot of dust. People don’t seem to realize just how far dust can actually travel, nor are they aware of the tiny areas dust can make its way into. To prevent your home from becoming a dust bowl, put plastic up around the doorways leading into the work area and over all furniture. Purchase strong and reusable heavy-gauge sheeting and secure with painter’s tape.

Quality Sandpaper

Man Sanding Wood Trim

Sanding is a great way to prepare the surface that you’re painting by making a smooth surface for paint to adhere to.

Professionals tend to use black sandpaper because its silicon carbide coating makes it more efficient and durable than standard sandpaper. Cover foam sanding sponges with black sandpaper to get right into the corners of any surface. Use 100- to 120-grit when sanding walls in good shape, coarse 60- to 80-grit to deal with chipped or cracked paint, and 200- to 220-grit when you want to smooth surfaces between coats of paint.

Use Tape as Your Guide

Painter Taping Off Baseboards

Use painter’s tape to create sharp lines separating two colors of paint or areas that should not receive a coat of paint.

Professional painters use a lot of blue painter’s tape as a guide for cutting in ceilings or walls, as well as protecting surfaces (low-tack tape is essential for this purpose). Flat surfaces can be uneven in older houses, so you can’t be certain that you’re getting a good line by painting over the tape. Instead, you should cut into the edge of the tape but do not cross over it. Bring a fully loaded brush to within 2 inches or so of the tape, but be very careful when you come to the last quarter-inch before the tape. By doing this, there is a good chance the paint won’t wick beneath the edge of the tape.

Choose a Different-Sized Roller

Painter Using Roller to Apply Base Coat

In recent years, many different roller sizes have been introduced; each having it’s own benefits of use.

You may pick up the first roller you see in your hardware store, which is likely to be of the 9-inch variety, but there are better choices. For example, a smaller roller is great for wainscoting and door panels whereas huge 18-inch rollers allow you to cover a much larger area than standard-sized rollers. Large rollers are especially useful if you are trying to paint a big room with a high ceiling.

Paint in the Right Sequence

Woman Painting Wall Green

To be as productive as possible when painting, it’s recommended that you start with the baseboards and trim and paint the walls last.

Most DIY jobs involve an individual painting the walls first before tackling the trim while waiting for the first coat of paint to dry. Yet experts say it is better to paint the woodwork first — both the first and second coats — then move on to the walls. When you go back and forth, the cutlines won’t be as sharp, but when you complete the woodwork job first, you can ride the trim on the walls a tad and cut over it in one go.

These are tips derived from professional contractors, so if you follow them to the letter, you will do a much better job than your neighbor, who continues to make the same traditional DIY painting mistakes.