Want to learn exactly how to paint a wall? Expert tips and advice ensure you get a professional-looking finish on your next DIY project.
“When it comes to living spaces, there really isn’t a ‘quick and easy’ way to paint walls,” says Benjamin Moore’s Helen Shaw.
“Two ways to make your painting project a success: Prepare the surface properly and take your time. Also, remember to read all labels and follow all directions carefully.’
Find more expert tips and painting ideas below.
How to paint a room for a professional finish
Follow these top tips for painting a wall from Benjamin Moore for sleek and chic results.
The right tools are important. Here’s what you need:
- Wash and dry roller sleeves to remove loose fibers before painting
- High quality rolling sleeve and handle; Use a 3/8″ core for most finishes, a 1/4″ core for glossy finishes, and a thicker 1/2 or 3/4″ core for rougher, textured walls
- Painter’s tape
- extension rod
- You’ll also need quality paint, like Premium Aura® Interior, Regal® Select Interior, a favorite of homeowners and painting professionals, or ben® Interior, a paint specially formulated to help DIYers with quick drips and a smooth feel. UPS
2. Make sure you prepare properly
Room wall preparation is always crucial for a successful painting, starting with cleaning.
Most walls can be washed with a sponge and warm water. If mold is present, be sure to remove it completely.
Primer is also important; Be sure to ask for a deep primer when painting a darker shade.
3. Attach the painter’s tape
Once the surfaces are clean and dry, use painter’s tape or good old-fashioned masking tape to cover any outlets, switches, and baseboards in the area.
You’ll need a roll or two of painter’s tape to protect trim or switches from drips and ensure a neat finish. Make sure you apply the tape carefully to create a good seal and avoid getting paint and running underneath.
4. Paint the ceiling first
A frequently asked question is: “Which should I paint first, the ceiling or the walls?”
Always paint the ceiling before the walls and always cover everything below the ceiling with hand towels.
Try to empty the space completely to make the job easier. Also, try removing overhead lights. If you can’t remove jigs, use painter’s tape to protect them from splattering, or use your brush to carefully trim them.
Start painting the edge of the ceiling where it first meets the wall. Score the ceiling as if cutting a corner.
Starting at the ceiling line, brush into the corner and sweep 2-3 inches and down onto the wall.
Use the brush to cut a nice straight line along the edge of the wall. Switch from brush to roller to paint the rest of the ceiling.
Start in the corner of the ceiling and roll closest to a window so you can see the light from the window reflecting off the wet paint. Then work your way across the room, rolling slowly when you’re near the wall to avoid hitting it.
Each time you load your roller, start with an unpainted area and work your way back to a painted area.
Paint the ceiling in one pass so that the paint dries evenly. Wait for the coat to dry to determine if a second coat is needed. Check label directions for drying times.
5. Cut into the walls
When your ceiling is dry you can proceed to the walls.
When learning how to paint a wall, the first lesson is to cut in with a 2½-inch angle brush.
Incising with a brush means brushing along the ceiling line, corners, windows, doors, trim, sockets and switches before using a roller.
6. Get ready to roll
Place a liner in your paint tub and carefully pour paint into the tub. Begin loading your scooter by rolling it along the raised rolling area of the pan.
Touch the paint, but do so without fully submerging the sleeve. Repeat this movement until the roller is completely saturated.
Begin rolling each section from top to bottom first, overlapping each row about 3-5 inches. Apply only light pressure and let the roller and paint do the work. If you press too hard, you can create drips and runs.
Each time you reload the roller, start a new row on an unpainted area and work your way back into the previously painted row. Your extension pole should be long enough to comfortably reach the highest and lowest points on the wall.
7. Do not take up large areas at once to avoid streaks
Painting walls without streaks is an important technique to master; Start painting one room at a time that is too big.
Painting manageable areas helps you maintain a “wet edge” – applying paint to the unpainted area and then back to the just painted surface – ultimately creating a smooth, uniform appearance and helping to avoid overlap marks.
8. Apply at least two coats of paint
Benjamin Moore recommends at least two coats of your top coat product for optimal skin and color development.
Check the paint can for the recommended drying times and allow the paint to dry completely before applying the second coat.
Make sure you allow the correct curing time before attaching any fixings, wall panels or frames to the walls.