Best Ways to Paint and Prime


This time of year it’s great to open the windows and air out your home. We tackle spring cleaning, organizing the garage and getting rid of some of the things we’ve been hanging onto for too long. We’ll swap out pillows for lighter colors and fabrics and maybe even change some artwork to bring our home into the new spring and summer season. But sometimes you just need a fresh coat of paint to really freshen things up.

Before you get started on your project you need to follow a few simple steps to make sure you get the job done right.

Choose your paint– there are five sheen levels for interior painting. Tim from Hirshfield’s in Lakeville explains the differences between the five levels:

  • Flat is the lowest sheen level and is best used for low traffic areas and ceilings.  Flat paints touch-up wonderfully but aren’t the most washable.
  • Matte finishes are relatively flat looking on the wall but offer an amount of durability and are commonly referred to as washable flats.
  • Eggshell is the most common sheen and is appropriate for many different uses. Its level of durability makes it washable in high traffic areas and bathrooms.
  • Satin finishes are great for very high traffic and high moisture areas such as busy laundry rooms and bathrooms where condensation is common.
  • Semi-gloss works well for walls that see abuse everyday and is very durable and washable.

Supplies – make sure you have the right brushes and rollers. The experts at your neighborhood Hirshfield’s can help you find the right one based on the paint you choose and the surface you’re painting.  You’ll also want to have painters’ tape to protect any woodwork. We have a series of videos to show you how to tape a room before you paint. We cover everything from taping a room the right way, taping around windows, taping around light fixtures, and removing the tape once you’re finished. And don’t forget drop cloths to protect the floor or carpet in your space.

Prime – Priming may be an important step for a successful job.  While there are many all-in-one “paint and primer” products available today (Hirshfield’s™ and Benjamin Moore Aura are examples) they should not be viewed as the corner-cutting panacea.  Glossy and slick surfaces, areas that have undergone extensive repair, and even when making drastic color changes are a few of the instances when you should consider the use of a specialty primer.  Consult with the staff at your paint store.   Taking the extra time to prime the walls first can actually save time by helping the finish coat develop its optimal color and appearance more quickly and in fewer coats. Primer can be white, gray or tinted. If you’ve chosen an off-white or light color a regular white primer should be just fine. Getting your primer tinted to be close to your final paint color is a great idea if you’ve chosen a dark, rich color. This will ensure an even coat and help you avoid needing what may seem like a million coats of paint to cover your walls. Gray primer is also a good idea for rich colors, especially red.

Paint – When you’re using a brush it’s important to hold it correctly. If you’re using a smaller brush for sash and trim work,  grip it like a pencil. You’ll want to hold a larger wall brush in your entire hand. Trimwork can be tricky – but it can go well if you follow this pattern: to cut in at a corner, paint out from the corner for five or six strokes, then smooth over them with a single, long, smooth stroke.  When using a roller, think of the letters M, N and W. Use your roller to make a large M (about 3 feet square) on the wall, followed by a backwards N or W pattern over it. Always start with an upward stroke so the paint won’t run down the wall and you’ll get good, even coverage. Fill in any spaces with crosswise strokes.

If you have a painting project for the outside of your home, we just covered how to get the exterior of your home in shape before you paint in this Friday Finds blog post.

If you’re having trouble picking a color for your room, why not try a Color Consultation?

Leave a Reply