How to paint walls

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Painting your walls is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to make a huge impact on your space.

Unfortunately, that impact can be positive ("wow, the room looks so much bigger") or negative ("why is there a big purple stain on the carpet in your bedroom?"). However, if you take your time and pay attention to what you're doing, painting is a fairly easy skill to pick up (it just takes a little practice... and sometimes some trial and error).

I'm hoping that this instructable will help anyone who's new to painting. Whether you want to set yourself up with some good basic gear to tackle your fixer upper, or you just want to get your dorm room or apartment painted. In a pinch, I'd say you can paint an average sized bedroom (without major drywall/plaster issues for a little less than $50US (including paint, primer, sandpaper brushes, and rollers) and the price can shoot up from there.
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Step 1: Figure out what you're doing.

First of all, you need to figure out what kind of paint you have on the walls. If you use a little denatured alcohol on the paint, it will tend to have a noticeable effect on latex paints and it won't really do anything to oil-based paints. You often also tell by feel, latex paint will tend to have a slightly rubbery give to it, oil will be smooth. However, figuring this out by feel usually requires a fair bit of practice so if you have any doubts, go with the chemistry approach.

Why is this so important?

Well, you want to know what kind of paint you have so you can either put the same thing on top of it, or so you use a primer that will let you switch to a different type of paint. This is most often done in going from oil to latex paints. Latex paints are preferred for general wall painting because they can be cleaned up with water and are therefore much easier to work with, but they really don't like sticking to oil paints (at least not without some help from specialty primers).

Once you know what you have on your walls, you can go to the store and talk to the folks there to find out what they recommend for your situation. One thing I would add though is that you shouldn't feel like you need to buy the most expensive paint out there. I usually go for "one coat" store brands. You might need to use more than one coat, but they do tend to go on better than your average paints. More expensive paints do have somewhat better qualities for painting with them and in some situations do last better once painted, but IMO they aren't that much better. If you're painting something that you may want to repaint soon-ish (e.g. dorm room) you might want to seriously consider saving some money there. That's a personal and financial preference though. However, if you can, you should try to buy yourself some good quality brushes, rollers, etc... If you take good care of them they can last you many many years and they really do make a difference in painting. However, a perfectly reasonable alternative is to buy something very cheap and plan on throwing it away after one or two uses (very cheap brushes tend to do things like starting to lose bristles as you paint which is a pain).

Also, depending on how much you plan to paint (e.g. 1 room vs the whole house/apartment), buying the primer in larger quantities (e.g. 5 gallons) can be a good cost savings (this applies to paint too if you're going with one color for the whole house). You probably don't want to tint it if you plan on using it with multiple colors, but I've haven't really seen a major need for it. Tinting can make things a little easier, but I personally like having a lot of primer on hand so I can really make sure I prep my walls as well as possible rather than worrying about running out of primer in a specific tint (so one 5-gallon can of white primer was my choice for painting 5 rooms in my house in various colors and I still have a decent bit left).

As far as paint goes, there are quite a few options, but three of the more common ones are:

Flat - It's your standard issue paint in areas that don't see a lot of moisture or prolonged dampness. However, it does have a tendency to get dirty easier than other alternatives.

Satin - Is my preferred paint for areas that don't see a lot of moisture. Unlike flat paint, satin has a slight (hence satiny) sheen to it and it looks good without looking outright shiny like semi-gloss. This also means it tends to resist dirt and grime better than flat paint.

Semi-Gloss - This is what you should use in your kitchens and baths. It's got a good bit of shine to it and it tends to handle moisture and humidity better than satin or flat so it's easier to keep clean (you can wipe it down as needed). If you have kids, this is also an option in areas that see a lot of hand-to-wall contact like a hallway or a playroom.

Once you know what kind of paint you want and you've settled on a brand, you can go ahead and choose a color. Some people might say that you should pick your color before the brand, but in my experience and given the color selection for even the least expensive paints, you're better off keeping you budget in mind and then working within what you can afford.

I'm not even going to try and suggest how you go about picking a specific color, but if you're very picky about shades and slight differences in colors, don't rely on a the small paint chips you find at the store. Buy a small sample can (or cans if you want to try multiple shades/colors) and paint it onto something fairly large (a piece of canvas or piece of plywood or sheetrock, whatever is convenient for you.. oh and don't forget to prime it too). Then put it in your room and see how it looks at various times of day and see how it looks against your furniture etc... Make sure you really like it before you proceed. This step isn't absolutely crucial, but it's certainly one to consider before you jump in and start painting.

Also keep in mind that the actual colors and their lightness or darkness can significantly impact your mood. Do a little research into how colors affect mood, and consider how you and your other household members feel about the colors you're considering (some people are more affected than others). The last thing you want is to make a space unpleasant to be in by choosing a color that is not conducive to the room's activity (e.g. concentrating in an office, relaxing and resting in a bedroom, etc...).
swarnken1 year ago
You have to love that lightweight joint compound, beats the hell out of waiting for spackle to dry, just to put another coat on! Looks like the place turned out nice, I like your choice of color, so many people just go boring white with everything. Just a couple of comments from my experience..The one big thing that I disagree with here is the roller tray, once you've used a 5 gallon bucket (with 1/2-1 gallon of paint in the bottom) with a drop in roller screen, you'll wonder why they even sell roller trays. It puts the right amount of paint on the roller with minimum drips and minimum time(roller trays by contrast slop paint around without getting it on evenly). And with the right length wooden or extendable roller pole your arms never need to stretch far, which makes an enormous difference if you are working all day(usually plastic mop handles and such are too floppy to paint well with). The other thing is it doesnt matter how you get the paint on, the important thing is a laying off pass with straight vertical lines overlapping 50% every 5 or 6 ft section you do(to get the paint even thickness everywhere)..the way you avoid those lines mentioned in this article is by trimming the edges of your roller with scissors..they should be rounded not box square like they come from the store. Lastly higher quality rollers hold much more paint and will let you work less, but are almost impossible to clean, Im happy to chuck mine at the end of a job.
nevinleiby4 years ago
My advice:
1) Paint selection. If painting all of the walls one particular color, pick out your favorite color. Then go at least one shade lighter. Consider a second. A brighter room looks larger and the color is usually more than noticeable. Buy quality paint.

2) Use a handle on the paint roller. Snag the handle from the broom. Place the paint tray on the floor, directly in front of you, about 4" from the wall. Practice first - the trick is to get only a little bit of paint on the roller, then roll it out a few times in the tray. Buy quality paint - it tends to be less runny/thin and will not drip nearly as easily. Pause when lifting the roller up from the tray. You can twirl the roller, but that is usually unnecessary. Start at the top and roll straight down, then back up to the top, forming a very large N. Personally, I work left to right, so it would be horizontally flipped N. Roll the entire wall vertically - you will get a much nicer product than using a ladder, etc, etc, etc. And you'll be no more likely to dump the paint than standing on a ladder with a paint tray 4' off the floor, going up, down, etc, etc, etc. PRACTICE is the keyword here. I was a little clumsy at first but I would never go back to painting without a handle....unless it is in cramped hallway or bathroom where I can't stand back from the wall without banging the handle into the wall behind me...

btw..with the handle, I stand about 3 - 4 foot away from the wall, about 2' away from the paint tray. Don't overfill the paint tray (you won't slosh it all over the place) and you can just slide the tray across the floor with your opposite foot - especially on wooden floors or non-shaggy carpets.

3) if you do drip anything, relax. Immediately and carefully set down your roller in your paint tray (near the top so it doesn't "dip" into the paint at the bottom. Grab a ~3 bucket of water (should be kept handy anyway) with a sponge or washcloth. Sponge up the excess and wash it out in the sink. Then wet the carpet were the paint was, then sponge (pushing it down into the carpet) to get it out. Wring out, wash in the bucket, apply more water, sponge, wash, apply. Repeat 3-5 times until it all comes out. Just don't drop your paint bucket or paint tray...that stinks. I've gotten up lots of little accidents up without any issue. Mostly because I probably should have not fallen behind on my sleeping ;-).

4) Paint buckets and paint trays demonstrate potential. Keep them as low as possible when they have ANY paint in them. Keep both opened and unopened paint buckets on the floor. They will never fall if they are on the floor to begin with. A (former) employee never observed this simple rule of potential energy...I lost at least 1 or 2 carpets (costing me about $1500-$2000) and a few spirit levels before....=(

I have used this technique to paint many many rooms in our office building.
Thank you thank you thank you thank you so much for that idea, attaching the roller to a broom-handle (or in our case, one half of a curtain rod...) It made painting our massive living room wall, and all four walls of our bedroom, so much faster thank last time we took on this endeavor. It's amazing. Both you and dragonvpm rock for your tips. <3
nevinleiby4 years ago
Nice paint liner idea. Does the bag stay in as well as the plastic ones? They are usually about $0.50 for one, but I never have a clean one handy =)
i love that purple!!! i painted my bathroom in the same color and love it still to this day, four years later!
dragonvpm (author)  geekygirl5024 years ago
Good choice! I really loved that color, but sadly it had to get painted over recently so that I could get the house ready for sale (if you're curious about how the whole thing ended up looking see: ).

I miss the old place, but I'm definitely looking forward to getting to paint the rooms in my new spooky old house :-)
bazai5 years ago
I just painted my room over the weekend for just over $150 to buy paint and tools. I had two different painters came and estimated the job for around $900.

Thanks for the painting tips. More paint tips at
fguna5 years ago
Excellent instructions! Great photos too!
Here are some additional tips to consider also.
Dropcloths: If using old sheets, go for a double or triple thickness layer. Any less and drops will seep through to the carpet below. Throw-away plastic ones are good for covering furniture, but are a real trip-hazard underfoot, so avoid them there.
Clothing: Grab a few sets of baggy shirts and pants at a thrift store. They are so cheap you can wipe your hands on them, then toss.
Handles: Putting even a short handle on a roller makes it MUCH easier to use and easier to bend over for loading with paint from the tray.
Cardboard: Put the tray / bucket on piece of corrugated cardboard. You can throw rollers and brushes on it and slide it around easily when moving to a new area.
Power Rollers: For a big multi-room job in a single color, investing in a power roller is a time saver. They are pump and hose units that inject paint through the inside of special perforated rollers. Roller covers cost more and cleanup takes 30 min. to flush the hose, but you get it back in speed.
Dip the Brush: If using fast drying latex, it helps to dip the brush in water first to wet the ferrule near the handle. Work out most of the moisture from the tip bristles before starting. This keeps a blob from drying to quickly where the bristles attach.
Lextone5 years ago
Here's a tip for cutting in. Use an airbrush. Its fairly in expensive to pick one up in any department store that sells models. I have a Testors airbrush kit I got from Kmart that included extra paint bottles and a can of compressed air for $20. Just fill up a bottle with paint(dilute if its too thick) put the can of air in your pocket and go to town. I tape everything but the ceiling off and use a piece of cardboard about 2 feet long and 6 inches wide to avoid over spray as I go. We cut in and painted our entire kitchen and dinette ( a 12 by 20 room with 9 foot ceilings) in less than an hour. The longest part was moving the ladder and waiting for the wife to catch up with the roller (always keep a wet edge going). Air brushes leave no brush marks, leaves a nice edge that is easily blended in with a roller and uses way less paint than would be wasted with a brush ( I used about 6 oz of paint). Its also handy for touch up's and perfect for Stenciling borders. Clean up is pretty straight forward. With latex paints use warm water, oil based use spirits. You can cap off and save the paint in the bottle for later if you need it or rinse them out. Air brushes are great for a wide array of painting or staining projects and don't wear out or leave hairs behind. Lextone
NightFire5 years ago
I'm a 3rd generation painting contractor, and have over 30 years of personal experience; commercial, residential and industrial. This may have been better named in a way to show it's more about refurbishing than just painting. Wall prep is rarely this involved, except in severely abused situations. Though I would do things differently, this is a good instructable. Go to a paint store like sherwin williams and talk with some of their people as well. They'll try to sell their stuff, but will also give some good pointers. Paint quality is a significant issue, if you plan repainting often (like the dorm room example) commercial grade paint is fine. On the other hand, if you don't want top paint again for 5 or more years, get a professional grade paint. Make sure you get interior paint. Latex vs oil paint: latex is used almost exclusively in homes built within the past 15 years in most parts of the country. That doesn't mean it's better than oil though, it is easier to use, and there are less environmental issues with it. Oil base will almost always outperform latex in nearly any test, and is easier to clean and more resistant to molds and moisture. Even though oil is superior, I would recommend against it except in a few cases. Every year, latex paints get better. Dark or bright paints are more difficult to cover and more difficult to get to cover, especially red. It's not uncommon for red to take 5 or more coats, depending on what it's going over, and the brand of paint. Lambswool roller pads and china bristle and horse hair brushes are overkill. High quality synthetics are much more suitable for general painting. Keep in mind, a high quality horse hair or china bristle brush is easily $40.00, where a high quality poly/nylon brush is closer to $20.00.
dragonvpm (author)  NightFire5 years ago
Thanks for your comments you have some good points that I'd chosen not to cover. I was trying to walk a line between encouraging people to try painting their walls without ignoring some of the more common pitfalls I've either seen or dealt with myself.

I don't quite have your painting pedigree, I'm only a 2nd generation general contractor with most of my life spent around buildings in all stages of construction from surveying a property all the way out to performing maintenance on them for years after they've been lived in (my folks own rental properties, some are older than I am and I designed and built others). Nowadays I make a living working for one of the bigger home builders in the country, so I'd like to think I know a little bit about homes in general and painting in particular.

I'm not entirely sure why you thought I put too much emphasis on wall prep. If you look, the basic level of wall prep is caulk what needs to be caulked, do a little sanding and cleaning of walls, and you're good to go. IMO there's a good bit of planning that should go into this sort of project (especially for someone new) and I tried to touch on some of the more significant issues that might come up for an decent cross section of people (e.g. someone working on a fixer upper, someone painting a new addition, someone just painting a room in a dorm), but actual prep isn't necessarily that involved (but it can be so it seemed worthwhile to warn people about it so they can be on the look out and not get unpleasantly surprised).

Stores - I've had good and bad experiences with paint stores and good and bad experiences with home improvement stores so I'd kind of leave it up to folks to go somewhere and talk to someone who deals with paint and perhaps try different places. I did think it was worth warning them that they don't have to spend lots of money to get a good result from painting. I wouldn't go so far as to recommend any one large chain of stores.

IMO paying attention to detail and being careful with what you're doing will more than make up for any differences in brushes or paint (i.e. a sloppy person with a great brush will do a much worse job than a careful person with a cheap brush). So I disagree that paint quality is that big of an issue. It is AN issue and something people should consider in deciding what to buy, but again, results vary a lot by how much attention you put into the work you're doing. You did make a good point about using interior paint although you can use exterior paint indoors, generally what you want to avoid is using interior paint for exterior uses.

Latex vs oil paint: As I said earlier, this instructable was meant for people who don't have a lot of experience and are looking to learn about painting. So, for that audience, latex is the better choice. The ease of use and clean up is far and away superior to oil's and that counts for a lot for someone who doesn't necessarily have access to all the equipment or materials that a professional painting contractor does. Also oil based paints and products related to their use (e.g. thinner) also tend to have noticeably stronger smells that can really bother people who aren't as used to them as professional painters and volatility of the chemicals in oil paint also means that ventilation is often a much more critical issue when using oil vs latex.

I considered mentioning the dark/bright color issues wrt repainting, but depending on the primer you use though it's not always that difficult to cover up. I've repainted a lot of walls (tenants are great about painting and not repainting sometimes) and I don't think I've ever had to use 5 or more coats for any color (I don't remember if we've had red, but I know we've had black).

Brushes & Rollers: All along I've been trying to make the point that there is no need to buy anything terribly expensive. Since there was an interest in what qualified as good I put that up, but my personal take on most things (painting included) is that budget should determine what people buy. If they can afford a top of the line brush or roller, that's great. If they can't then at least they can look at what goes into a premium brush (like the heel, how it feels, how it's constructed, what it's made of) and buy something in the middle and they can decide which of the features matter most to them.
I didn't intend to come across as attacking you. I think your instructable is very good. For prep, I was simply trying to let people know that most walls won't need as much prep work as your needed. Stores: Paint stores will have employees with the working knowledge and advice that most home improvement places won't have. My only purpose in in mentioning any single place was to give an idea of where to get information. My personal preference for paint supplies is not Sherwin Williams, it's just a well known outlet across the country. Paint quality isn't a matter of neatness, it's a matter of protection, which is the primary purpose of paint. If you want to see just how significant the difference of a good quality paint and a cheap paint, buy some WalMart/HomeDepot/Lowes paint and some professional paint (Kelly Moore/Benjamin Moore/Sherwin Williams). Get 2 4'x8' sheets of wood and paint them, both sides, 1 type of paint per sheet. Put them out in the sun and see what happens after a year. Exterior paints are designed different than interior paints. Though you can use them inside (I never said you could not) exterior paints will take longer to dry inside, and have a higher VoC level. Interior paints are also designed to be scrubbed. Latex vs oil: I brought this up more to enforce the idea to use latex when possible. It's easier to cover dark and bright colors than it is to put them up. I've had burgandies that have taken over 10 coats to cover.
dragonvpm (author)  NightFire5 years ago
Thanks, given your expertise in the area I do appreciate your thoughts on the subject, but your initial comment did come off as a little condescending (although I may have also misinterpreted it). Regardless, sorry if I was overly defensive.

Prep is tricky. I really wanted to focus on some of the more common, bigger issues that might come up because, from my own experience, they're the kinds of things that I would want to know before I start a project. Not necessarily to stop anyone from doing something, but just so they go in prepared and they knew if their project might be more involved and take more time than they originally hoped.

Stores: In my experience, home improvement stores do a decent job of not overselling people who come in looking for help. They're not perfect and their service does tend to vary store-by-store, but on the whole it seems like the folks that work there have a decent understanding of the basics in their departments. Specialty stores (OTOH) seem to have more "experts" who seem to upsell or oversell more often than the other stores. They're great if you have an unusual situation (e.g. I went there when I needed supplies to spray on black lacquer onto some cabinets where I wanted the wood grain to still be visible) but they can be overkill for a budget minded consumer.

Paint quality: We may have to agree to disagree on this point. I understand the point you're making about longevity, but in my experience, cheaper paints last just fine under "normal" circumstances, especially in interior applications. However, as I've said before, a person's budget should inform their decision. For instance, someone living in a home they plan to stay in for years, but one where they don't intend to paint more than once, could choose to go with cheap tools and premium paint. By the same token, someone who thinks they may move often, or who may decide to change paint colors frequently could decide to invest in better tools and cheaper paint, knowing that they don't need it to last more than a year or two. There's not just one way to approach these projects and I'm hoping that anyone reading this instructable and the comments will take into account what's written here and their own situations and come up with a solution that works best for them.
Looks pretty good. We ended up doing that same thing on a rental house we own that's about 100 years old. I went through about six of the 5 gallon buckets of drywall mud. Some areas were so bad we just broke out all the plaster in something like a square and replaced it with a piece of drywall of the appropriate thickness, and then mudded that to blend it in. One thing you mentioned that made me shudder - the sanding. In a house as old as yours, or our rental, it's bound to have had lead paint. Sanding will get that stuff _everywhere_, so people should be really careful to use a sander with a vacuum attachment or something similar to keep the lead dust under control. You also mentioned at one point to use caulking to fill cracks; wouldn't you want to use drywall mud/spackle so you can sand it? The caulking I'm familiar with can't be sanded. Nice instructable, though. Clear instructions and decent photos.
dragonvpm (author)  Culturedropout5 years ago
Thanks for the comments. wrt lead paint - That's a tough call at this point. IMO, it really shouldn't be an issue on anything that's been painted since the 80s. At this point any lead paint left on walls of older homes is likely to be buried several layers down. Even so, the amount of light sanding necessary if you're just roughening up the paint really isn't likely to produce enough dust, let alone lead paint dust, to affect your health. If you think about the house you worked on, most of the sanding you did was on new drywall and mud. In addition to lead paint, an older house may also have lead in solder used for water pipes, as well as asbestos in insulation, floor tiles, some wall coverings, and other items. If folks are concerned about lead paint or any other potential hazard in their homes, they can have their homes tested, however an important note for homeowners is that once you've tested your home for something and found that it tested positive you are legally obligated to notify people of this when decide to sell your home. If you haven't had it tested then you or your agent are only obligated to provide them with the standard "this house was built before 1978 and MAY contain lead paint" document that some of you may have seen when buying an older home. WRT caulking, that's intended more for situations like, for example, a small crack between the trim and the wall, or perhaps a crack that runs around an outlet or light switch, or any nail holes or minor wall damage that isn't significant enough to warrant actual joint compound (or tape). In my experience latex caulking (the most common type you come across) is pretty easy to leave as smooth as you want on it's first application. If you're using it to fix a crack between the wall and your trim you can often use a moistened finger to leave it about as smooth as you want so there is no need for sanding.
clydicus5 years ago
Just echoing what others have said - it is worth spending a little extra on good brushes. They'll do a better job, and they will last a long time if you take care of them. Those wire brushes sold in paint stores ($2 or so) do a great job of cleaning them out. A dinner fork will work too. They get it dry - pro painters use a brush spinning tool, but you can spin the handle between your hands (you might want to take it outside...). another cleaning tip for latex paint on a roller - garden hose on the jet setting. Messy, but FAST. Might have to hose yourself down after, but when I get done painting a room it's time for a shower anyway... Great instructable.
dragonvpm (author)  clydicus5 years ago
Well the difference between cheap brushes and good brushes is pretty decent. Personally, I prefer using good brushes to using cheap ones, but having worked with the cheap ones, I can say that they aren't completely useless. Particularly if someone really doesn't want or need to keep the brushes a long time, a cheap set of brushes can get the job done for a lot less than a single good one. Also, when starting out (as with a lot of things) you're focusing on the basics so much that you can't appreciate a fair number of subtle differences between a good brush and a cheap one. The suggestion that cheap brushes are ok is really aimed at people who might not want to make a huge investment in something they might absolutely hate after trying once or those who already know they have no interest or desire to do it more than absolutely necessary to get their living spaces looking the way they want. I definitely liked your idea about using a fork to clean them out though. I need to give that a shot next time I paint. Your comment about spinning the rollers made me think it would be cool to rig up a roller cage onto a fixed post of some sort so it could be mounted on a drill. I always have my drill around and that could be a neat way to make taking care of good rollers reasonably painless.
bustedit5 years ago
awesome, thank you. great tips - trash bag liners for paint pans? I never would have thought of that, and so simple. we bought a c1907 house last year in august and so far just pulled the carpeting and wallpaper and re-painted the living room. Our dining room is in progress, but underneath the paper was...wood panelling...argh. It's actually a nice light maple stain, but very dated. we were going to rip it off and drywall, but for now I think we're just going to paint it w a textured paint. the previous owner spackled all the faux joints b4 papering, so im just touching that up, then a few coats of primer and sanding, and we' are going to try to find some stuff our fiend told us about, material you add to the paint to give it a texture. Any tips or experience in that regard? We plan on a bold color below a chair rail, neutral color up top, then some of that lightweight crown molding to dress it up. It will be my 1st time cutting molding, and I thought that synthetic material would be easier for me to work with alone if the wifes not around. Thanks again!
dragonvpm (author)  bustedit5 years ago
Thanks. I think the trash bag idea was born out of laziness and cheapness (I hated cleaning the pans and I rarely bothered buying the plastic liners they sell at hardware stores). I'm not really familiar with the texture product you're talking about. My best advice when trying out new products like that is to read the instructions, make sure they make sense, and then try it out in a small, inconspicuous area (or if you don't really have one, maybe on a piece of plywood or drywall). Most stuff sold in your average home improvement store is within the capabilities of your average DIY-er, but some take more fiddling with than others so a little practice doesn't hurt. Good luck with your old house, speaking from my experience, they may be tempermentel and full of surprises, but they're definitely worth it!
dchall85 years ago
Yowza! Good job!! I see why it was featured. I think there is a mental block about painting for some people. Once you try painting, the block fades away in about 10 minutes. I agree about using good brushes. If you are going to paint wood or a room larger than a bathroom, spring for good brushes and take care of them. I have a trick for cleaning rollers. You need a hose, some pretty good water pressure, and an adjustable hand grip type nozzle. First you have to know where the wind is coming from or you will be covered in paint. Then you hold the roller as far away as you can so that when it spins the flinging paint and water will not hit you directly. A 90 degree angle to your body is best. Then with your other hand, aim the nozzle at the upper surface of the roller and let the water fly. The roller will spin very fast and fling paint out of the roller. Aim the nozzle along the top surface of the roller from one end to the other and back again. Then stop and inspect the roller. You may want to resoak the roller slowly with the sprayer and start spinning it clean again. You can clean a roller in just a couple minutes and not waste much water at all. Don't try this anywhere near surfaces that you don't want to get paint on. Take off your watch and jewelry and wear grubby shoes.
I'll second that tip. It's a great one! I used to paint houses during the summers and we would use that constantly. Alternatively, if you need to take a break and don't want to clean your roller, load it up with as much paint as possible and wrap it as tightly as you can with plastic. It'll stay wet all night.
dragonvpm (author)  csalzman5 years ago
I'll have to remember that tip for storing rollers. I could have definitely used when I was trying to get rooms painted during the course of a weekend (and I have some bigger rooms coming up soon so all the more reason they might take a while).
SDx dchall85 years ago's really not worth the trouble/great potential for mess to clean out a roller that's less than $5 dollars.
dragonvpm (author)  dchall85 years ago
Thanks. So far I've had to do 5 rooms in my house (with fairly significant problems in each of them) and even though I can still see my mistakes, it's nice to also see how I improved over time. Personally, I like having good brushes, but I figured this instructable should be useful for anyone fairly new to painting whether they were a new homeowner looking to set themselves up with nice basic gear, or if they were on a tight budget and wanted to do it as cheaply as possible. I know a lot of people who painted their rooms or apartments for anything from 1-3 years and don't really need or want to have lots of tools (blasphemy, I know ;). That's a great suggestion for cleaning rollers. Next time I need to do that I'll give it a shot. Usually I've done it in my laundry room sink to avoid painting the grass... or the dogs, but I think I can work around that (I noticed my neighbor washes his painting gear in the alley behind our properties)
I clean my rollers in the asphalt street or along my white crushed stone driveway - depending on the color of paint. The worst problem with poor brushes is they shed hairs into your paint job. If you don't realize it, you'll get a lot of them and it looks bad. If you do realize it, you spend more time picking hairs out of the paint than painting.
dragonvpm (author)  dchall85 years ago
I'd do that as well, but since we're in the desert, there are watering restrictions in place during a good chunk of the year so letting water run down the street is frowned upon. Oh yeah, they definitely do shed, but in my experience you can usually get a couple of uses out of them before it's an issue. I doubt I would have ever tried the really cheap ones except that I ran a construction company for a while and my workers weren't the most conscientious when it came to cleaning painting equipment. It quickly got to the point where I kept my nice brushes at home and would just buy cheap brushes for them before we did any painting (which was infrequent, we mostly only did it during slow times on some of my parent's rental properties). Cheap brushes should be viewed as disposable at best, but IMO they can have their uses (although my personal preference, as a homeowner with lots of stuff left to paint, is a good high-end brush ;)
SABBaS5 years ago
Very nice instructable!! i worked as a painter (just one month), and now i notice the really crappy work some people do for money... c'mon it's not THAT difficult to do it kinda rigth ;) your previous paint job is one of the worst i've ever seen, well done!!
dragonvpm (author)  SABBaS5 years ago

You're right, it's not that hard to do a decent-to-good paint job, it's all about being careful and not trying to rush through the work. WRT the fiasco the previous owner's inflicted on my walls, I keep wondering how someone leaves a paint job looking that bad without feeling pretty crummy about it?
canida5 years ago
I generally like to use high-end brushes, but cheap disposable rollers. It takes LOTS of water to get the paint out of a roller, and I often can't be bothered. The nice brushes are definitely worth it, though, especially if you're edging freehand.
dragonvpm (author)  canida5 years ago
High-end brushes are definitely worth it if you're planning on painting a fair bit, but I wanted to be sure I floated the idea that someone doesn't need to make a major investment in tools to paint a room or two (especially someone new to it). For a small room, someone could probably buy paint, primer, a couple of cheap brushes, and rollers for less than $50.
revdc55 years ago
Looks great! I'm due to do the same thing to my living room, hopefully it comes out as nice-
dragonvpm (author)  revdc55 years ago
Thanks, I'm sure yours will come out great. Fwiw, I still look at the rooms I painted and if I really want to I can spot the little mistakes I made. If you happen to make any you'll probably always be able to spot them but the overall job will still look great.

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