To paint a large section without leaving lap marks, roll the nearly dry roller in different directions along the dry edge, feathering out the paint as you go. After completing the entire length of the wall or ceiling, move to the next section and paint over the feathered edges. For the second coat, apply the paint in the opposite direction. This crisscrossing paint application sharply reduces (if not eliminates) lap marks.
A fresh paint job has the power to totally transform the look of your house in less time and for less cash than any other remodeling project. That thin skin of resin and pigment also protects your investment, shielding it from sun, wind, and rain—until the paint begins to crack and peel, that is. Then it's time to button up with a couple of new coats. Properly applied, new paint should last for a good 15 years, provided you use top-quality materials, apply them with care (and with an eye on the weather), and, most important, clean and sand every surface first. Here's what you need to know to get a first-class finish on your home's exterior.
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According to the EPA, professional painters must check for lead -- especially if a home was built before 1978. Many DIY painters forget to test for lead paint. Testing kits are available in home improvement stores for less than $40. You can also hire a lead testing and removal professional to do this work quickly and efficiently on your behalf. Lead paint can be dangerous; it's far better to find it before you put time and effort into painting your home than after the fact.
A good paintbrush is key to a professional-looking finish. "A quality brush costs $15 to $25, but you'll discover that pros aren't as talented as you thought," says Doherty. "The equipment has a lot to do with their success." Most of our pros prefer natural-bristle brushes for oil-based paints, but they recommend synthetics for all-around use. When choosing a brush, pay attention to the bristles. Synthetic brushes are made of nylon or polyester, or a combination of the two. Poly bristles are stiffer, which makes them good for exterior or textured work, but for fine interior work, Doherty uses softer nylon brushes. Look also for tapered bristles, which can help you work to an edge, and flagged tips, which help spread the finish smoothly and evenly. Brushes are available in 1- to 4-inch widths. Most painters keep an arsenal on hand to match the job. "Use common sense," says Maceyunas. "A smaller brush gives you more control, but no one wants to paint a door with a 1-inch-wide brush." Doherty recommends starting with a 2- or 2-1/2-inch sash brush. The angled brush makes it easier to cut to a line and puts more bristles on the work than a square-tipped brush.
Primers aren't just diluted paint. They're formulated to establish a solid, even base, seal stains and ensure that the topcoats of paint go on smoothly and bond securely to the surface. "Most homeowners use latex primers, but the pros stick to alcohol and alkyd primers because they'll cover almost anything," says John Weeks, of John the Painter in Mobile, Alabama. Primer can affect the appearance of the topcoat. "It's okay to spot-prime the ceilings but not the walls, because primed spots will show," adds Span.
This job is usually done by a professional house painter. The painter will assess the walls, clean, and make any necessary repairs or removal of old wall coverings. They will also tape off any adjacent surfaces and cover nearby furniture and floors with drop cloths. Typically, they will apply a layer of primer, then one to three coats of paint, depending on the color and coverage. Once the paint is dry, they take a final walkthrough to inspect and make any necessary touch ups.
Specialty painting by the hour costs between $40 to $50 on average. Paint might range between $75 to $90, costing an additional $40 to $50 per hour. The painter's skill and experience are also determining factors in the cost of specialty painting. While a freelance artist might charge $25 to $30 an hour, a very skilled professional might charge $80 or more. Some painters might also charge $60 or more for a consultation. Trompe l'oeils, in particular, will run on the expensive end of the price spectrum. Return to Top