Keep walls and doors looking flawless and freshly painted. A simple
paint touch-up may be all that's needed. Other times repainting the entire surface will be necessary. These interior
paint guidelines will help you decide which
interior paint is right for your project and budget.
Deciding to Touch-up or Repaint
Not sure which to do? Here are some tips on helping you decide between touch-up and repainting:
Touch-up paint if you:
- Have the original color from the original batch
- Can match the existing texture or brush technique
- Want to cover minor scratches and scuff marks
Repaint if you:
- Want a cleaner, more uniform look
- Want a different color
- Made repairs to the
- Cannot locate the original color and batch
When a full painting project is called for, it is best to remember the four P's—
Interior Painting Prep
Taking the time to prepare walls, doors, and other areas will make
interior painting projects easier and more successful. Make sure you have the
right tools on hand to complete the project and follow these tips to prepare for painting:
Clear the room: Remove all
furniture and wall hangings,
light switches, and
outlet plates. Working in an empty room is ideal—you minimize risk of accidents and spills, and have more room
for tools and equipment. However, if there are items that can't be removed, put them in the center of the room and protect
Patch and repair walls: Fill in any nail holes or dents with
spackle. Caulk cracks and gaps in the trim.
Learn more about the various types of caulk to be sure you use the right kind for your project. Once the patch is
set and dry, lightly
sand walls to ensure a smooth surface. Learn more about
patching and repair.
Clean the walls: Wipe down walls, floors, and baseboards with a
damp cloth or
mop. Remove cobwebs and dust. Kill mildew using a cleaner or three parts water and one part
bleach. This mix will also clean away dust, dirt, handprints, etc.
Protect the floors: Use
masking paper to cover the floor around the edges of the room, where paint may drip or spill.
Tape off: Cover any woodwork, light switches, window frames, baseboards etc., with a good quality
painter's tape. Remember, to press down on the edge of the tape to prevent seeping.
Prime: Apply a
primer to walls before the final color.
Cut in around edges: Use an
angled brush to cut in with matching color about 1 inch along the ceiling and baseboards.
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primer coat to your walls will help you get the most from your paint; it ensures your final surface is smooth and
even, especially if you have spackled or repaired any holes and dents.
Primer will hide stains and help the top coat adhere better.
Latex primers, or
water-based primers, are the best choice for drywall. They dry quickly and will cover any minor stains. Since latex
primer is water-based, cleanup is easy.
Oil-based primers work for a variety of surfaces and are compatible with both oil paints and latex paints. However,
oil based primers can take longer to dry, and are not low VOC.
Learn more about low VOC paints.
Shellac primers are typically used to seal wooden surfaces, but can be good for interiors. They can be used with
both oil-based and latex paints. Shellac-based primers will cover a variety of stains and even seal in odors.
Shellac primers do give off more fumes, and can be difficult to clean from applicators.
Once you have completed your prep work and selected the right
primer, make sure you have the right paint for your interior job.
Learn more about interior paints.
rollers in peak condition by properly cleaning them after each use. For
latex paint, soap and warm water work really well. For
oil-based paint, dip brushes and rollers in
solvents such as
mineral spirits or
paint thinner, squeeze out the excess solution by hand, then hang to dry.
Use this chart to determine which solvents are best for your specific painting application.
When working with thinners and solvents, always take the necessary safety precautions:
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