How to Bring Your Interior Painting Ideas to Life

Got painting ideas you don't know how to start? No worries. The step-by-step instructions below can help. Or maybe something is wrong with your existing paint job and you want to make sure it doesn't happen again. Check the troubleshooting section for solutions to help ensure your new interior painting ideas turn out looking as good as you imagined.

 

Prep Work

To do your interior painting ideas justice and protect surrounding items, it's important that you do a little prep work.

  1. Move furniture out of room or cover it with a drop cloth.
  2. Remove wall hangings, switch plates, ceiling fixtures (if possible), window latches, doorknobs, etc.
  3. Use masking tape and plastic sheets to cover objects and surfaces that will not be painted and cannot be moved. Cover the floor with drop cloths.
  4. Wash the walls from the bottom up to prevent streaking. Rinse with water and a sponge.
  5. Use drywall compound to fill holes and smooth out rough areas in walls. Once the compound is dry, lightly sand it with fine-grit sandpaper (150 to 200 grit).
  6. Vacuum up the dust after sanding.

Painting

After you've prepped, it's time to see your interior painting ideas take shape! To paint an ordinary wall, follow these simple steps.

  1. Paint top to bottom. Start with the ceiling, then the walls and woodwork.
  2. Paint the ceiling edges with a brush, creating a border about 2" to 3" wide.
  3. The easiest way to paint a ceiling is with a roller and extension handle. This allows you to stand on the floor while you paint.
  4. Dip your roller in the paint tray and roll it back and forth on the ridged part of the tray.
  5. Use diagonal or zigzag strokes to get the paint on the surface. Go back over the area with longer, up and down strokes to even out the surface.
  6. When the ceiling is dry, start painting the walls. Use a brush to paint corners, ceiling edges and areas adjacent to woodwork.
  7. Use roller to paint in blocks of roughly 4 x 4 feet. Paint adjacent blocks before each previous block dries to help blend the edges.
  8. Work from the ceiling down to the baseboards. Do one entire wall or area at a time.
  9. Paint molding and woodwork with a brush. Use wide masking tape to mask off adjacent areas (e.g., window panes).
  10. Paint with the grain of the wood. Use short strokes to coat the surface with paint, then use longer, smoother strokes for an even, finished surface.

Interior Painting Troubleshooting

Below are some of the most common interior painting issues and tips to help fix them or avoid them altogether.

Blistering

Problem:

Blistering — Bubbles under the painted surface caused by exposure to moisture shortly before the paint has completely dried.

Solution:

Investigate the source of the problem before preparation to ensure it won't spread. Scrape away all loose or flaking paint, and then sand smooth. Seal the surface with a high-quality primer. In high-traffic areas, use premium latex interior paint.

Burnishing

Problem:

Burnishing — Increase in gloss or sheen of paint film when subjected to rubbing, scrubbing or having an object brush up against it.

Solution:

Paint heavy-wear areas that require regular cleaning (e.g., doors, window sills and trim) with a top-quality latex paint, interior or exterior, because this type of paint offers both durability and easier cleaning capability. In high-traffic areas, choose a semigloss or gloss interior paint color rather than a flat sheen level. Clean painted surfaces with a soft cloth or sponge and non-abrasive cleansers; rinse with clean water.

Cracking/Flaking

Problem:

Cracking/Flaking — Flecks of paint flaking from a surface.

Solution:

Scrape away all loose or flaking paint, then sand it smooth. Seal the surface with a high-quality primer. In high-traffic areas, use premium latex interior paint.

Lapping

Problem:

Lapping — Appearance of a denser color or increased gloss where wet and dry layers overlap during paint application.

Solution:

Using a top-quality latex paint makes it easier to avoid lapping problems because higher solids (pigments and binder) content makes lapped areas less noticeable. If substrate is very porous, it may need a primer/sealer to prevent paint from drying too quickly and reducing wet edge time. Alkyd interior paint colors generally have superior wet edge properties.

Mildew

Problem:

Mildew — Brown, black or gray spots on paint surface (usually found in corners).

Solution:

Scrub the surface with a solution of one part household bleach to three parts water, then rinse. Try to reduce the amount of moisture. In bathrooms, install an exhaust fan, and in basements use a dehumidifier. In high-traffic areas, use premium latex interior paint.

Poor Hiding

Problem:

Poor Hiding — Failure of dried paint to obscure or hide the surface to which it is applied.

Solution:

If the substrate is significantly darker or is a patterned wallpaper, it should be primed before applying a top coat. Use a top-quality paint for better hiding and flow. In high-traffic areas, use premium latex interior paint. Use quality tools; use the recommended roller nap, if rolling. Follow manufacturer's recommendation on spread rate; if using tinted paint, use the correct tinting base. Where a low-hiding organic color must be used, apply a primer first.

Poor Stain Resistance

Problem:

Poor Stain Resistance — Failure of the paint to resist absorption of dirt and stains.

Solution:

Use a higher-quality latex interior paint containing more binder, which helps prevent stains from penetrating the painted surface, allowing for easy removal. Priming new surfaces provides maximum film thickness of a premium top coat, providing very good stain removability and vibrant interior paint colors.

Roller Marks/Stipple

Problem:

Roller Marks/Stipple — Unintentional textured pattern left in the paint by the roller.

Solution:

Use the proper roller cover; avoid too long a nap for the paint and the substrate. Use a quality roller to ensure adequate film thickness and uniformity. High-quality paints tend to roll on more evenly due to their higher solids content and leveling properties. Pre-dampen roller covers used with latex paint; shake out excess water. Don't let paint build up at roller ends. Begin rolling at a corner near the ceiling and work down the wall in three-foot square sections. Spread the paint in a zigzag "M" or "W" pattern, beginning with an upward stroke to minimize spatter; then, without lifting the roller from the surface, fill in the zigzag pattern with even, parallel strokes.

Wrinkling

Problem:

Wrinkling — Buckling paint caused by painting a warm, sunlit or wet surface.

Solution:

Scrape away all loose or flaking paint. Dull the surface with a fine grit sandpaper. Seal the surface with a high-quality primer. In high-traffic areas, use premium latex interior paint.

Yellowing

Problem:

Yellowing — Development of a yellow cast in aging paint; most noticeable in the dried films of white paints or clear varnishes.

Solution:

Top-quality latex paints do not tend to yellow, nor does non-yellowing varnish. Alkyd paints, because of their curing mechanism, do tend to yellow, particularly in areas that are protected from sunlight. In high-traffic areas, use premium latex interior paint.