Your paint finish is what makes your project look professional or amateur. Having a smooth paint finish on your walls and trim will give your rooms a professional feel and ensure that they look great for years to come. When you’re starting a new project it can feel overwhelming figuring out where and how to begin. These simple tricks will help you start your project and paint perfectly smooth walls. It may feel like more work now, but it’ll be worth it in the end.
1. Light Up The Blemishes
It can be difficult to spot the areas on your surfaces that need filling, but rest assured you’ll see them afterwards. Fresh paint will reflect more light meaning that even small imperfections will be noticeable. To avoid this frustrating situation take some time to sweep your surfaces for irregularities. Angle a hand held bulb, that is at least 60 watts, so that the light shines across the surface. This angled light will highlight any areas that aren’t smooth, circle these with a pencil to be filled later.
2. Fill Holes
Now that you’ve found the lumps and bumps in your wooden surfaces, it’s time to smooth them out. For minor blemishes of less than 1/8 inches deep use spackling compound. For larger dents it is best to use a more durable two-part filler. An epoxy wood filler is an effective filler, but it is recommended to mix small batches to avoid waste. To fill holes in walls, general filler can be used for small holes and hairline cracks. For larger areas, apply the filler with a putty knife. Filler tends to shrink as it dries so it is advisable to leave it protruding beyond the edges of the hole. In all cases, once the filler is dry, sand down the surface to smooth it.
3. Dust Everything Off
Now that you’ve levelled your surfaces it’s likely that you’ve produced a considerable amount of dust. Take a paint brush to start and get stubborn dust out of any nooks and crannies. Next thoroughly hoover the surfaces and floors to avoid any small particles getting trapped in your wet paint and ruining your smooth paint finish.
4. Liquid sandpaper
For glossy wooden surfaces use a liquid sandpaper or deglosser to clean them off, this is the final touch to ensure that the new paint bonds properly. When using liquid sandpaper take appropriate precautions to keep the area well ventilated and use gloves.
5. Caulk Cracks
For your final filling step use caulk along the joins between any woodwork and walls. Apply a very thin bead of caulk and remove any excess with a putty knife. To help with this cut the tip smaller than you think you need and buy a dripless caulk gun. Before you apply it, make sure that you are using paintable caulk.
6. Clean Walls
The final step before painting is to wash your walls. This will rinse any build up of grease or dirt, and ensure that your new layer of paint bonds well to the wall. Sugar soap is an effective cleaner to help give walls their final rinse. Don’t forget to wait until everything is dry before you start painting!
7. Trim first
When starting to paint your room, begin at the bottom with your trim. Next up the ceiling, and finally the walls. This order will save you a lot of taping later on! The focus when painting the trim in on getting a smooth finish, neatness is not such a priority as you’ll be painting the walls later. Using a piece of card held against the wall can enable you to get right to the bottom of the trim without worrying about painting your drop cloth.
8. Catch Drips
To help keep your trim drip-free, buy a painters tape that is twice the width of your trim. Apply the tap to the top of the trim and press it firmly down with a putty knife. Leave the excess tape flared out from the wall to catch any falling drips. Make sure to wait until your paint is dry before trying to remove the tape, if your paint is partially dry it may come off with the tape!
9. Avoid Paint Stripes
To avoid getting stripes on your walls, make sure to maintain a ‘wet edge’. To do this paint an entire section of wall at once, without stopping. Paint your wall in long strokes covering the full height of the wall and make sure that the roller does not dry out. As you paint, let each new stroke overlap the previous stroke while it is still wet. A handy tip to avoid excess paint build up, is to use your roller with the open side facing the area that you have already painted.
10. Invest In Your Roller
Although it’s always tempting to buy a cheap roller and then throw it away, this can ultimately cost you more time. Cheap rollers and less likely to hold enough paint and more likely to leave you with stripey, ridged walls. Take the time to invest in a 1/2 inch-nap wool blend roller cover. If you look after it properly, this could be the roller you use for the rest of your projects. In their first use these coll covers can shed fibres, but there is a trick to prevent this. Before its first use, wrap your roller in masking tape and peel it off a number of times. This will help to remove any loose fibres and leave you ready to go!
If you’ve enjoyed these 10 tips to help get you a smooth paint finish have a look at 10 Simple Painting Tricks For The Perfect Finish to take your painting technique to the next level.