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  • Writer's pictureAdam

5 Steps to Painting Walls Like a DIY Pro

Congratulations on embarking on a do-it-yourself (DIY) wall painting project! Painting your home can be both an exciting and rewarding job to undertake. Whether you're looking to freshen up your living space or add a personal touch to a room using an accent wall, painting your walls is a fantastic way to achieve a professional-looking finish without breaking the bank hiring painting contractors. In this 5-step guide, we'll walk you through five essential steps to ensure your DIY painting project is a success. As a DIY painter turned professional, I hope these tips and tricks will help save you the time, money, and mistakes that I made when I started painting. Let's jump in...

Girl doing a DIY Pro Home Paint Job

In these 5-steps, we are going to cover:

1. Choosing the right paint for the job

Understanding Paint Types:

The first decision revolves around the type of paint you'll use. The two main categories of paint you will run into are latex (water-based) and oil-based (alkyd). Latex paints are versatile, drying quickly and offering easy cleanup, making them ideal for most interior walls. On the other hand, oil-based paints, known for their durability and smooth finish, are better suited for trim and baseboards.

Compatibility Matters:

A common concern is whether you can apply latex over oil-based paint or vice versa. While applying latex over oil-based paint is generally acceptable with proper surface preparation, the reverse isn't recommended without a primer. Understanding compatibility is crucial for achieving a seamless, long-lasting finish.

The Primer Dilemma... 2-in-1 Paint and Primer:

Should you opt for a separate primer or choose a 2-in-1 paint and primer solution? If your surface is bare, or stained, or you're switching between oil and latex, a separate primer is the way to go. However, if your surface is well-prepared, a 2-in-1 paint and primer combo can save time without compromising quality.

Now the fun part! Since you now know what type of paint to use, it's time to pick out the perfect paint colour for your space.

Painting supplies and materials

2. Gathering the Tools and Materials for Painting

Prep Materials:

1. Spackle & Spatula:

  • Use to patch any holes in the walls.

2. Metal Paint Scraper:

  • Ideal for scraping off peeling or cracking paint before sanding.

3. Fine Grit Sandpaper:

  • Essential for smoothing out rough textures and eliminating bumps.

4. Mild Soap & Water Solution:

  • Use to clean dirt or grease off walls before priming.

5. Painter’s Tape (e.g., Frog Tape):

  • Prevent paint bleed by taping off borders and covering hardware and outlets.

Painting Supplies:

6. Canvas Tarp or Plastic Drop Cloth:

  • Protect floors and furniture during the painting process.

7. Angled Paint Brush:

  • Achieve clean edges in corners without paint bleed.

8. 3-inch Flat Paint Brush:

  • Perfect for "cutting in," the process of painting the border around the taped-off area.

9. Paint Roller Frame & Roller Covers:

  • For efficient and fast painting, especially in large or high-ceilinged rooms.

10. Painter’s Pole (Optional but Recommended):

  • Attach your roller for extended reach in larger spaces.

11. Paint Tray:

  • Holds smaller (and more portable) portions of paint while working and avoid contamination by dipping brushes directly into paint cans.


12. Primer:

  • An undercoat applied before colour is essential for covering existing colours and ensuring even adhesion.

13. Interior Paint:

  • The star of the show! Choose the colour and type of interior paint based on the purpose:

    • Flat Paint: Suited for low-traffic areas and ceilings.

    • Satin and Eggshell Paints: Ideal for higher-traffic areas due to easy cleaning and light-reflective qualities.

    • Semi-gloss and High-gloss Paints: Recommended for trim, windowsills, banisters, or smaller surface areas.

3. Preparing the Wall Surface to Paint

Before you begin painting your walls, taking the proper time to prepare the surface allows for a smooth and professional-looking finish that's built to last. Here's a quick guide to the essential steps in preparing your wall surface for painting:

1. Clean the Surface:

  • Wipe down the walls using a mild soap and water solution to remove dirt, grease, and any other residues.

2. Patch Holes:

  • Utilize a spackle and a spatula to patch up any holes or imperfections on the wall, ensuring a seamless base for the paint.

3. Scrape and Sand:

  • Employ a metal paint scraper to remove peeling or cracking paint. Follow up with fine-grit sandpaper to create an even surface, smoothing out any rough textures.

4. Use Painter's Tape:

  • Apply painter's tape along borders and edges to prevent paint bleed. Cover hardware and outlets with tape to maintain clean lines.

Taking these quick and essential steps ensures that your walls are prepped and ready to absorb the vibrant hues you've chosen. With a well-prepared canvas, your painting project is set for success. Now, on to the fun part!

4. Apply the Paint to the Walls

The time has come to unleash the transformative power of paint. To achieve that flawless finish worthy of a professional, follow these key steps in properly applying paint to your walls:

1. "Cutting In" with Precision:

  • Equip yourself with a 3-inch flat paint brush for "cutting in" – the meticulous process of painting the borders around taped-off areas. This attention to detail creates clean edges and sets the stage for the broader strokes.

2. Rolling Technique for Efficiency:

  • Utilize a paint roller frame and covers for the majority of the painting process. The rolling technique is not only more efficient but also ensures a smoother and more consistent finish, especially in larger areas.

3. Choosing the Right Roller Cover:

  • Select an appropriate roller cover based on your wall surface. Different covers are designed for smooth walls, textured surfaces, or special finishes. Choosing the right one ensures optimal paint application.

4. Avoiding Lap Marks:

  • Prevent lap marks by maintaining a "wet edge" as you work. This means overlapping each stroke with the previous one while the paint is still wet, creating a seamless appearance.

5. Consistent Pressure:

  • Apply consistent pressure when using the roller to avoid uneven coverage. A steady hand ensures that the paint is distributed evenly across the surface.

6. Painting in Sections:

  • Divide larger walls into manageable sections. Paint one section at a time, ensuring that each area is completed before moving on. This technique helps maintain a uniform look.

7. Quality Over Quantity:

  • While it may be tempting to complete the job quickly, prioritize quality over speed. Applying two coats of paint, allowing proper drying time between coats (usually about 4-6 hours), ensures a more durable and vibrant finish.

8. Finishing Touches:

  • Pay attention to details such as corners and edges. Use an angled paint brush for precision in these areas, ensuring a cohesive and polished result.

Remember, painting is an art. Therefore, it's OK to take your time. By following these steps with care and attention, you'll bring your vision to life, transforming your walls into a brand-new space for you to enjoy.

5. Final Touch-Ups and Clean-Up to Complete Your DIY Paint Job

To elevate your project from good to exceptional, pay attention to the often-overlooked details and ensure a seamless clean-up process. Here are the key steps for those crucial final touches:

1. Remove Painter's Tape Slowly with Precision:

  • Once the paint is dry to the touch, delicately remove the painter's tape. Pull the tape at a 45-degree angle to achieve crisp and clean lines.

2. Inspect and Touch-Up:

  • Take a step back and carefully inspect the walls. Address any areas that might need touch-ups or additional coats. This meticulous review ensures a flawless result.

3. Attend to Corners and Edges:

  • Use an angled paintbrush to refine corners and edges, ensuring every detail is perfected. This step is vital for achieving a professional and cohesive appearance.

4. Clean Brushes and Rollers Immediately:

  • Clean your brushes and rollers promptly after use. For latex paint, use soap and water; for oil-based paint, use the appropriate solvent. Proper cleaning prolongs the life of your tools.

5. Dispose of Paint Materials Responsibly:

  • Dispose of used paint cans, roller trays, and other materials responsibly. Check local regulations for proper disposal methods or recycling options.

6. Return Furniture and Remove Tarps:

  • Allow the paint to fully dry before returning your furniture to its place. Once dry, carefully remove canvas tarps or plastic drop cloths, ensuring no paint is transferred onto the floor.

7. Inspect for Drips and Splatters:

  • Inspect the surrounding areas for any stray drips or splatters. Use a damp cloth to remove them promptly.

8. Reattach Hardware and Outlet Covers:

  • Once the paint is fully cured, reattach any removed hardware, switch plates, or outlet covers. This final touch completes the seamless look of your freshly painted walls.

9. Bask in Your Accomplishment:

  • Take a moment to appreciate your hard work and the transformation of your space. Your attention to detail in the final touches ensures a result that reflects professionalism and care.


Conclusion: You Finished Your Pro DIY Wall Painting!

There you have it, 5 Steps to Paint Your Walls Like a DIY Pro! In mastering the art of DIY wall painting, we've gone through the steps of selecting the right paint for the job, gathering the essential tools, preparing the canvas, applying paint with precision, and adding those final touches for a polished finish. We hope we helped broaden your painting knowledge with this simple 5-step guide. For more expert tips and personalized assistance, contact us at Shades & Stain —your trusted interior and exterior painters in Hamilton, Ontario. Reach out to us at our website or give us a call at (905) 517-9241.


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