Professional Painters Secrets, Tips and Tricks

Painting can be successfully accomplished whether you are a novice or pro. There are some time-tested tricks and skills that will give you a better result in the finished product. Here are our professional painters secrets, tips and tricks.


• Quality supplies

When shopping, it can be tempting to grab the most inexpensive and disposable supplies. Don’t skimp or the job will show it. Cheaper brushes and rollers will shed lint and bristles into your new paint, leaving a sticky mess. More pricey products tend to be better made, reducing this significantly.

• Get extra paint

Stopping mid-project to go restock your paint supply is disheartening. It eats up time, as well as quality. By having another gallon of paint mixed after the fact, your paint could show a slight difference in color. Ideally, it’s better to get extra paint to begin with and mix the gallons prior to painting.


• 2/3 Prep, 1/3 Painting

It’s exciting to see your new color on the wall, but preparation is key to a good paint project. You should plan to spend twice as long on prep work prior to ever opening a can of paint. The work you do ahead of time sets you up for an easier time painting and ensures you’ll be happy with the results you get. Washing, sanding and patching all of the areas of the room that need it. While tedious, you’ll be happy you did it in the end.

• Wash roller covers

Loose fuzz on a roller is the enemy of paint. Washing the covers prior to use is necessary to keep the sticky mess out of your paint. The recommended method is to use dish soap and water to hand wash the roller off. They should be somewhat dry for use, but damp is just fine.

• Lights for flaws

A handheld work light or flashlight shone along the wall can easily highlight areas you need to repair. Circle shadows casted with a pencil to address later.

• Degrease the walls

Clean surfaces accept paint better. Treat your walls to a sponge bath before you start painting. Rooms that tend to be greasy warrant a degreaser, available at your local paint or hardware store. This is especially important in kitchens and mudrooms, where walls take a beating.

• Sand flaws

With smoother surfaces, great results will be easier to achieve. Scuff off nicks and dings with fine-grit sandpaper. You’ll spend less time trying to cover them when it comes time to paint.

• Remove hardware

Taping or cutting around existing hardware can take time. Consider removing it for faster paint time. Door knobs, switch plates and outlet covers are big offenders when it comes to eating up time while painting. Instead, take them off and replace them after.

• Tape immobile hardware

If you are dealing with hardware or trim that is too hard to remove, take the time to tape it off. Masking tape could save money but not heartache. Spring for painter’s tape which is engineered to avoid bleeding through. Use a putty knife to push the edges in hard. A good seal is the key to painter’s tape being your friend, instead of foe.

• Cut textured ceilings

It’s more than difficult to paint walls against a popcorn or textured ceiling. Professionals deal with it by using a screwdriver along the edge of the ceiling to remove bumps by the wall. The missing texture will give you some painting wiggle room, and will never be noticeable once you are done.

• Remove or cover furniture

If it’s possible, remove all the furniture in the room. It will save you more time than you know trying to work around it. If it’s not possible, move it all to the center of the room and cover it with a plastic drop cloth. Make sure it’s secured with tape to protect it from rogue splatters or drips.

• Floor covers

It’s just as important to cover your floors as your furniture. Pros will tell you that when it comes to the floor, stay away from plastic drop cloths. Instead, opt for canvas or flattened cardboard. Either of these options will not get slippery if paint is dropped. Also, it will absorb small drips to keep you from footprinting paint all over your work space, and house.

• Tinted primer

Patches and stained walls will require priming before you paint. The professional painters suggest using a tinted primer that is close to your paint color. This will help mask the stains and imperfections on the walls.

• Box Paint

Even professional mixed paint can show slight variances between cans of paint. Get a large bucket to mix them all together will ensure you are working with one solid color. This is a technique the professionals call boxing paint. Once it’s mixed, you can pour it into a roller tray, or paint directly from the bucket.

• Start loaded

Make sure you have pulled enough paint onto your brush before hitting the wall. The bottom 1-½ inches should be completely covered in paint. Tap the side against the can to remove the biggest drips, then start painting the wall.

• Push paint

With a loaded paintbrush, it’s very normal to have runs in your paint. Use the bristles of the brush to push runs out and cover more area. This will also help you avoid stroke marks appearing in your final project.

• W strokes

With a roller, it’s insanely easy to miss spots. Use a w-shaped stroke method to cut down the misses. Move across the wall using this technique. You’ll cover more wall and more evenly distributed throughout the paint space.

• One wall at a time

Get an even dry time by working on a singular wall at a time. It’s tempting to move around but the paint film could be ruined by doing that. Cut in a wall and follow with the rest of the wall before moving on. This will give you even, seamless color.

• Pocket rag

Keep a wet rag in your pocket to wipe up spills. Wet paint is much easier to deal with that dried. Wipe up the messes quickly as you work through the room.

• Light it up

Holidays are missed spots on any painting job. They are easily done but hard to see while you are working. By shining a bright work light on each wall before you move on, you’re more likely to see (and correct) these missed spots before the paint dries. It’s much easier to correct now, than after you’ve cleaned up and put your furniture back.

Clean Up:

• Bag it

If you’re done painting for the day, but not quite finished with the project, don’t waste time cleaning off your rollers. Soak it in paint and cover it in airtight plastic for the next day. Other painting pros swear that if you wrap your roller and refrigerate it, the brush or roller will be ready to go when you are. Just take it out ahead of time to allow it to come up to temperature.

• Scrape windows

Taping windows is straightforward but very time consuming. Don’t bother taping off the panes. After the paint has dried, use a flat razor or scraper to scratch the paint off. The pane will be clean and your paint lines will be straighter than tape.

• Box cut tape

New paint can stretch before it’s done curing and sealed. When you remove the tape around items it can peel up the edges of the paint. Before you start to peel it up, use a retractable blade to cut a line into the edge of the tape. Then when you take it off, there’s less chance you’ll take your new paint with it.

• Brush storage

Washed paint brushes can have bristles that have a mind of their own. Tame them while they dry or the brush will be done fore. Create a makeshift wrapper by using paper and a rubber band. Wrap it around the bristles to calm them down for drying.

Need a hand?

Here at CertaPro Painters® of Yorba Linda, CA we provide a wide range of professional house painting services including drywall repair, popcorn ceiling removal and painting, wallpaper removal and installation, and color consultation.

Have a look, and if you’re interested, give us a call at 714-485-2883, or schedule a free estimate online today!