People often wonder what the best order is to go in when painting a room. Do you paint walls or trim first? From a professional point of view, with interior painting, it makes the most sense to paint your trim first, then ceilings, and then your walls. It’s much easier and faster to tape off trim than to tape off your walls. And you definitely don’t want the hassle of taping them both. With this system, you don’t have to worry about neatly painting your trim because any paint that gets on the ceiling or walls will be painted over. Just be sure to get a smooth finish on the trim. It’s important to let your trim dry for a full 24 hours before moving onto the ceiling.
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How to Paint a Room Step by Step
Before you start any painting project, gather all the supplies you’ll need. This makes the job run smoother and you won’t have to waste time running to the hardware store. Here is a list of items we recommend compiling before you start painting:
- 2 ½ in angled brush for trim and cutting in
- Painter’s tape
- Ceiling paint
- Baseboard and trim paint
- Drop Cloth
- ⅜ in nap roller, frame, and paint tray
- Stir sticks
With all your paint and supplies ready to go, you’re all set to move forward with your project.
Choose Wall Color and Sheen
Choosing the desired paint color can either be really exciting or extremely daunting. So many options can be overwhelming. We recommend you head to your paint center and have them mix samples for you of your 3 favorite colors. Once home, apply these samples on different parts of the room to get a feel for the one you light best. Keep in mind different lighting in the room at different times of the day will change the color drastically. When it comes to choosing a finish or sheen, it will mainly depend on what type of room you’re painting. Bathrooms and kitchens do well with a semi-gloss finish as they are durable and helpful in areas that need to be cleaned regularly. A satin finish has a little shine to it and is extremely versatile for bedrooms and other living spaces. High Gloss is the best choice for your trim, cabinets, and doors.
Before getting started, it’s a good idea to wash your walls and trim. This gets rid of any dust or residue that could clump when you paint. Next, check your walls for any nail holes, dings, and dents. Fill them in with putty, let dry, and lightly sand. Always apply a coat of primer over patched areas. Finally, remove the outlet and light switch covers.
Protect Your Walls and Furniture
You’ll want to spread a drop cloth on the floor and over any furniture in the room where you’ll be painting. Fabric drop cloths are ideal but the plastic ones are inexpensive and can still do the trick.
Paint the Trim and Baseboards
In most cases, we recommend painting your trim before your walls. Let the paint dry, then tape off the trim and move on to the walls. Using high-quality semi-gloss paint will protect the wood as well as leave a pleasing shine to your trim and baseboards.
Paint the Ceiling
Painting your ceiling before your walls will avoid paint splatters on your wall. Paint the edge of the ceiling along the perimeter of the whole room with a 2 ½ in. angled brush. This process is called “cutting in”. Then use your ⅜” nap roller to paint the ceiling from one end to the other. Roll the paint in the same direction. If it needs a second coat, roll the paint in the opposite direction as the first coat.
Cut in the Walls
It’s a smart idea to cut in one room at a time. Then, immediately roll out the wall while the cut-in paint is still wet. This step eliminates an obvious line where different brushes were used. Paint along the edges of trim and baseboards as well as the entire perimeter of the ceiling.
Roll On Wall Paint
After opening your paint, be sure to stir it thoroughly with a stir stick. Fill your roller tray half full with paint. Load your roller and paint away from the baseboards in the direction of the ceiling. Roll straight back down to ensure the wall is covered. Overlap each stroke along the edge to avoid lap marks.
If you need to take a break but aren’t finished with your brushes yet, don’t waste paint and time washing them just yet. Simply place your roller or brush inside a ziplock bag and seal. This will prevent the paint from drying out and give you time to eat dinner or run an errand without all the unnecessary clean-up. When you’re ready to start up again, pull them out of their bags and they are ready to go.
Remove Tape and Clean Up
Once your paint is nearly dry, remove the painter’s tape from the trim and baseboards. Score the edge of the tape where it meets the wall. This can be done with a flexible putty knife and facilitates a nice, clean edge. Be sure to thoroughly clean your paint brushes with soap and water immediately after use. Wait too long and the dried paint can be very difficult to remove. After the paint is completely dry and no longer tacky, replace all outlets and switch covers.
How to Paint Trim After Walls are Painted
If you choose to paint your trim after your wall, start with prep work. Wipe down all trim and baseboards with a damp rag to remove any dust or dirt. It may take a little time but use painter’s tape around all trim and baseboards to avoid getting paint on your floor or walls. This also ensures a crisp, clean paint line when the tape is removed. Using an angled trim brush, apply your first coat of paint. After it has completely dried, add another coat. You’ll want to wait to remove the tape until the paint has had a good amount of time to dry but isn’t fully dry yet. Leave the tape on too long and it could compromise the old or new paint and you won’t be happy with the result.
How to Paint Walls
When it comes to painting your walls, there are a few tricks that will make a more cohesive, finished product. When painting areas next to the trim or corners with a paintbrush, the texture will be noticeably different than the portions painted with a roller. For the best results, after you brush on the paint, immediately roll out the same areas before the paint has a chance to dry. You can find a 3 in. roller at any big box or paint store. Just be certain the nap and thickness of both rollers used are the same. Do this section by section so it all looks uniform in the end and no part is forgotten.
It can be very frustrating to avoid lap marks on your walls when painting. Most people don’t know that they can avoid these uneven marks by keeping a wet edge at all times. This means that instead of painting in the familiar “W” pattern, you make sure each stroke of your roller overlaps the one before it while running the roller the full height of the wall. The unsightly marks appear when painting over sections that are already partially dry. Feather out your paint on large areas like ceilings where you can’t keep a wet edge to minimize lap marks. These techniques will also avoid you having to apply multiple coats of paint to get the uniform look you want.
Where to Purchase Paint Supplies in Elk Grove-Sacramento
There are several great options in the Elk Grove-Sacramento area to purchase paint and paint supplies. Here are a few that offer excellent quality products along with all the tools and materials you need.
Sherwin-Williams Paint Store-Elk Grove
9716 Elk Grove Florin Rd.
Elk Grove, CA 95624
Behr Paint Store-Elk Grove
9150 W. Stockton Blvd.
Elk Grove, CA 95758
Do You Paint Walls or Trim First Conclusion
Depending on who you talk to, you might get different answers to whether you should paint your walls or trim first. However, over our years of experience we have found what process works and we stick by painting trim first, ceilings, then walls.
If you have a painting project in your future or just have questions, give PaintRite Pros a call. We have years of experience painting homes in the Sacramento-Elk Grove area including, Stockton, Roseville, El Dorado County, and more! We’ll gladly help in any way we can.