10 Painting Hacks

Painting tips to make your next project easier an less stressful.

Stop Paint Lid from Splashing

Omaha Interior Exterior Painting

Ever hammer down a paint can lid, or stomp the lid on, only to have paint splatter everywhere? You can prevent that by grabbing a 5-in-1 tool or a nail to punch a few holes through the groove of the can's rim The holes allow excess paint to drain back into the can. The lid will cover the holes and make an airtight seal.

Preserve Your Brush and Roller

Omaha Interior, Exterior Painting

The Paint Brush Cover is a unique, airtight, durable plastic cover for a paint brush. Because of its airtight foam seal, it allows you to store paint covered brushes for hours, days, even weeks, without fear of your brush drying out. If you need a break for any reason, just place the brush in the cover and snap shut. Come back to it when ready to resume painting.

Use a Push Broom For an Extension Handle

Omaha Interior, Exterior Painting

I prefer to use an adjustable length extension pole. You can spend $10 to $70 on an adjustable extension pole for rolling paint in high places. However, if adjustability isn't important you can use a push broom handle. Most fit perfectly on a paint roller and cost far less. Especially if you have on laying around.

Slap It On, Then Smooth It Out

When painting trim or other woodwork with a brush, I've found it's best to load my brush with paint and then lay it on heavily in small sections using short, quick strokes—just to get enough paint on the trim to work with. I then blend the paint into the section I painted before and smooth it all out using long finishing strokes in one direction.

Wrap Your Paint Brush

Without something to hold them in place, paintbrush bristles will curl as they dry. The best way to store them is in the cardboard wrappers that they came in. You can also use the paint brush cover you use to preserve your brush as well. They're not just packaging; they maintain the shape of the bristles as the brush dries after cleaning. You can also use the paint brush cover used to preserve your brush as well. If you've already thrown your brush wrappers away, use paper and a rubber band instead.

Cardboard instead of drop clothes

I prefer to use good quality drop clothes. However, some people find them big, clumsy and hard to work with. You may prefer to use cardboard. Just set it tight to the wall and slide it with your foot as you work your way around the room.

No-Maintenance Paint Tray

Don't bother cleaning or putting liners in your paint trays. Just pour any excess paint back into the can and let the paint in the tray dry completely before using it again. I have paint trays with a 1/8-in.-thick paint buildup in them. I like them better than clean trays because they're a little heavier and don't slide around when I'm loading the roller.

Prep is as Important as Painting

A good prep job often takes more time than painting, but it pays off. The more time you spend prepping a room for new paint, the better your finished paint job will look. Washing, patching, sanding and vacuuming walls, ceilings, trim and doors before you pick up a brush or roller are time well spent. If you don't take care of small imperfections now, they'll stick out like a sore thumb once the paint goes on.

Ceilings First

Before painting any walls, take a good look at your ceiling. If you think it needs refreshing, paint it first. You don't want to paint the walls and then—in a couple of weeks or years—do the ceiling. Rolling the ceiling drops a fine mist of paint onto everything below. Painting the ceiling first also allows you to be less fussy along walls. Any paint that gets slopped onto walls will get covered up later when you paint them.

Use Painting Pyramids

Omaha Interior, Exterior Painting

Whenever I need to paint something small like a picture frame and want to raise it off the table a bit to paint the edges, I break out these handy painting pyramids. They are reusable and store easily. If you do not have any on hand you can cut an egg carton in half or in thirds and use that instead.

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