What Works for Painting Your Home

There are tons of guides on how to paint your walls out there on Google. I thought about whether my post would make a difference, then I realized I don’t want to write about the how-to. I want to share what I found on the internet and its application to my house, and the result. Sometimes what works for professional painter does not necessarily work for us.

These are the rituals to prepare the room for paint: cleaned the walls with TSP (Tri-Sodium Phosphate), patched holes and cracks with spackling paste, then covered door/window trims with painter’s tape, and don’t forget to mix paint from different cans because the color can vary slightly. Unless you have super heavily stained walls from smoke or something else, TSP won’t be necessary.

Closet, TSP-ed
Closet, after cleaned with TSP

We painted the whole house, including ceiling, closets, and shelves. The first two rooms we painted, master bath and bed, took forever because we didn’t know a few things. The trickiest part of having textured walls is that it’s impossible to paint a straight line at wall borders, including ceiling to wall borders, even with painter’s tape. I followed Ashley’s direction as written on her blog Makeit-Loveit and voìla, straight lines! Read her blog for a step by step instruction. (Psst! That Shur-line thing won’t work on ‘any’ textured walls!)

Straight line
Tape wall, paint 1st color, then paint 2nd color

We first used a roller cover marked for semi-rough to rough surfaces, which should work really well for knockdown texture, as shown on the picture above. However, it leaves dots of unpainted area even after a second coat, most of them being the thickest part of the texture. Then we used another roller marked for Bricks & Blocks and it got the job done faster and all is covered in one coat! Although, make sure to cover the floors as it leaves paint dots splattered all over the floor (and clothes. and skin), especially when painting ceilings.

Paint in sections, without extension

Most pro painter would probably suggest to use roller extension and paint from top to bottom, overlapping half of it when you move to the side. If you’re like me, 5′ height with small hands, there’s no way I could use the extension longer than 2 minutes before hurting my shoulder. Like shown on the picture above, I just did my painting on sections. Bottom first, left to right, then use a ladder to paint the top part from left to right again. Feathering (link to where I learned about that) is the key so the overlap won’t be visible, especially on a large area such as living room or ceilings.

Glossy Paint, smooth surface

Remember, no matter the texture, it’s recommended to brush the edges first before actually rolling it with the destined roller. The reason? To prevent visible brush mark. You want your effort to be pretty, don’t ya? I love the short handle brush because it gives more control for your hand, like this 2″ Purdy. The kitchen area have smooth walls so we use roller cover marked for smooth surfaces that also works really well for bathroom, which has glossy paint and little texture.

Glossy Paint, Smooth surface roller suffice

Next on painting is the shelves; from closet, pantry to laundry. We replaced the master closet’s shelves but we repaired pantry and laundry shelves as they were, surprisingly, in a far more decent condition than the master closet. Weird. You’d thought clothes would cause less damage than food, or laundry detergents.

Pantry Shelf
Pantry Shelf

I’ve read and consulted on how to repaint wood shelves the right way to a friend of mine who’s also renovating his house, and to my dad who owned a carpentry shop. The first step, and most important of all, is to strip the existing paint (especially if it’s already peeling like ours).

Second, patch holes and crack with wood putty/filler. I like Elmer’s better than painter’s putty because it dries faster. Then prime it well with an oil primer as it will penetrate into the woods and prevent the paint from peeling. I use Kilz Primer Original which allows me to use water-based paint. I use the same glossy paint I used on kitchen, or bathroom, walls.

Laundry shelf

I didn’t follow what they said on stripping all of the paint just because it takes so much time and the fear of ruining the already-bare wood. I just swiped the surface with my bare hands to make sure it was evenly smooth before filling it with Elmer’s, then sanded it again after it dries. Make sure to wipe it clean with a lint-free cloth prior to applying primer.

I’m sure there’s a lot of other little details I didn’t know yet in painting the walls or woods, or other bigger projects such as painting the kitchen cabinet. The only thing you have to remember is: You can do it! You won’t know what you didn’t know until you did it, and failed, and do it again until everything’s the way you wanted it to be. So, ready for some weekend paint project? I would be glad to help you if you have any questions!

Cheers! 🙂

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