The pros were split on this tip. "Masking tape is problematic," says Mark Dixon, a painter in Missoula, Montana, and author of "House Painting Inside and Out" (Taunton Press, 1997). "Paint can bleed behind the tape, or remove the paint it's stuck to." Another problem is bridging. "Latex paints form a skin," says Dixon. "Removing painted tape can tear the skin, resulting in a ragged rather than a sharp line." Lastly, taping takes time. "Learning how to cut in with a brush takes practice, but if you can do it, you'll leave most tapers in the dust," Dixon says. (Cutting in is painting just the surface you want, not the surface adjacent to it — for example, where a wall meets the ceiling.) On the other hand, "If you can't cut in, you can't beat tape," says Span. The pros we spoke with all recommend painter's (blue) tape because it's easier to remove than masking tape. To prevent bleeding, Span uses a putty knife to bed the tape. After letting the paint dry, he scores the edge of the tape line with a utility knife to avoid tearing the paint.
Vinyl siding is one of the more inexpensive siding materials to have repainted, especially with recent innovations in painting materials. Homeowners will first need to vinyl cleaned and repaired, and any clapboards or vinyl sections that have blown off because of climate conditions will need to be replaced. Painting professionals will apply paint quickly and easily over the vinyl siding, much like an interior paint job. The finish, however, may require extensive work and regular maintenance. Expect to pay between $600 (~250 sq. ft.) and $2,000 (~1,000 sq. ft.), with prices likely increasing for the finish. Changing the finish on your siding is not recommended unless it's completely degraded and worn away by the weather conditions.
Professional painters provide estimates primarily based on the square footage of your home. Painting an average home between 500 and 1,500 square feet can cost between $1,000 and $3,000. However, factors such as number of stories and ease of access can also affect the overall price. Homeowners report that the average cost to paint a house nationally is $2,581 and most pay between $1,714 and $3,682.
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The walls must be properly cleaned prior to applying primer or paint. This involves using a mixture of soap and water. Nail holes, chips, cracks or other small imperfections should be filled in and evened with plaster and allowed to dry before the entire surface is lightly sanded down and wiped again. Once the wall is clean and dry, you should apply painter’s tape over surfaces you do not want painted. Be sure not to overlook ceiling corners and edges, baseboards and trims and moldings.
A thorough scrubbing is a must before painting any exterior surface. It removes the dirt and broken-down paint residues that keep fresh coats from adhering and gets rid of mildew that grows on paint in all but the most arid climates. Most contractors clean with pressure washers, but in the hands of someone unfamiliar with the equipment, these can gouge wood, shatter glass, and drive water behind siding and trim. Using a hose, a pump sprayer, and a scrub brush is slower but safer, and just as effective.
The right paint stroke to use in interior painting is highly debatable. It's not a talent as much as a skill that is learned through practice. Many experts paint in a “W” pattern when using foam rollers, but others simply roll up and down then sideways with either brushes or rollers. The motion isn’t as important as making sure that the application is even and drip-free across the entire area. However, technique is important when you're covering over wall repairs. 

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