LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Cold weather means most home improvement projects need to be indoors at this time of year. 

And painting is one of the easiest and most effective ways to give your space a new look.  The Home Depot's Scott Krueger and Joe Autry show the best way to get started.

Preparation:  Remove everything possible from the walls, including all HVAC registers or grilles and electrical faceplates.  Cover the floor with plastic sheeting or a canvas dropcloth.  Careful masking at each stage will allow you to work quickly and freely, saving time in the long run.

Safety: Wear plastic safety glasses or goggles to protect your eyes from flying particles and paint droplets.  Wear appropriate gloves when using solvents, sanding or scraping.  Be sure the space you are painting is adequately ventilated. If the paint fumes are strong you should consider wearing a respirator.

Savings: Although priming is vital to a lasting finish and a great-looking room, there are also sound economic reasons  for a good priming job. If you spend $30 for a gallon of designer paint, you don't want to see stains or  discoloration bleeding through because you didn't take time to prime.


Spray Bottle
Extension Pole
5-gallon paint bucket
Latex paint respirator
Drop Cloth
Ladder (if necessary)
Eye Protection
Putty Knife


Primer and stain blocker
Wall repair materials
Blue painter's masking tape
120-grit sandpaper
High-quality latex paint
Step 1: Prep your walls        

Taking time to perform a thorough surface prep and painting in an orderly, systematic way are the keys to getting professional-looking results when doing any paint project. Skimping on the prep work is probably the biggest mistake people make when painting. Take the time and do it right. It really does effect the end result.    

First, carefully inspect walls for cracks, holes, dents or other surface imperfections before priming or painting. Use a lightweight spackling compound and putty knife to fill and repair any holes or imperfections, then remove any excess spackling with the putty knife and allow the area to dry completely.    

Once dry, use a small piece of very fine 220-grit sandpaper or a sanding sponge to smooth the repaired areas flush with the surface. Wipe the walls clean with a damp towel or sponge and allow them to dry before priming or painting.    

You should also make sure the walls are clean and free from dust. You'd be surprised how much dust actually builds up on walls over time. Out-of-the-way corners and areas behind furniture can also have lots of cobwebs. Use a floor duster to wipe the walls clean to ensure paint applies evenly.           

Step 2: Mask the room with painter's tape        

Painter's tape is used to help you achieve clean, professional-looking results. Its primary purpose is to protect areas you don't intend to paint. It's perfect for door and window trim, molding and baseboards. It helps you create sharp clean lines, paint stripes or patterns, and create two-toned wall effects.    

There are different adhesion levels for painter's tape. All are meant to be easily removed but some stick a little more firmly than others. While some are perfect for textured surfaces, others are intended for more delicate areas like a freshly painted wall, finished hardwood or wallpaper. Be sure to check which adhesion level is right for the job you're doing. Many brands also include technology along the edge of the tape to help prevent paint from bleeding through or seeping behind it.   

Step 3: Spread drop cloths and move furniture        

Before doing any priming or painting, you'll want to protect your floors with a drop cloth. There are three basic kinds: canvas, plastic and paper.    

Canvas drop cloths are extremely durable and absorbent so they can be used over and over again. Plastic is less expensive and durable but isn't absorbent, so spills won't dry as quickly and can be tracked through the room if stepped on. Paper is the most economical but can tear easily on floors. But they're perfect for covering other things like cabinets and furniture.    

If you're working in an average- or small-sized room, you really should remove all the furniture. Any time or effort you think you're saving by not doing this will be wasted because you'll constantly be adjusting and relocating things to give yourself room.           

Step 4: 'Cut in' the room        

The final step of your paint prep is cutting in the room. Cutting in is basically outlining the room. It involves using a paintbrush to create 2- to 3-inch bands around the edges of the walls where they meet ceilings, baseboards, other walls, door and window frames, and hinges.    

Those 2- to 3-inch areas around the room allow you to roll the rest of the wall quickly without having to try and roll paint in those confined spaces. It's impossible to use a roller that close to areas you're trying not to paint without making mistakes.    

Step 5: Prime your walls        

Priming your walls before painting is an important part of any painting project. Primers are specially designed to adhere to different types of surfaces and receive your top coat of paint.     You also have the option of using a paint and primer in one. This will eliminate the need for separate coats of each and will save you time and money.    

When painting new drywall, priming helps seal the wall and can help prevent mold. Primers also help when you're painting walls that are stained or if you're making a dramatic color change.   

If you've made wall repairs, spackle and drywall compound will suck the moisture out of paint, giving the area a dull look different from the rest of the wall. Priming will prevent this problem since you'll be painting directly over the primer and not the repair material.    

Step 6: Sand and clean to prepare for painting        

After the primer is completely dry, lightly sand away bumps, ridges and other surface imperfections using very fine-grit sandpaper folded into quarters. When the grit of one section becomes covered with paint dust, switch to an unused section and continue.     Wipe the wall clean with a damp towel or sponge and allow it to dry.           

Step 7: Paint the walls        

Before starting any paint job, it's always a good idea to remix your paint using a mixing stick or a paint mixing tool. You should do this any time you leave your paint sitting for an extended period of time.    

The first step in painting your walls is to use a good-quality paintbrush and cut in the room again, this time with your paint. If you left your painter's tape on after priming, you can just paint over it again. If you removed your painter's tape, you'll need to reapply it before starting.    

A foolproof way of achieving clean and even paint edges is to avoid loading the brush with too much paint. The excess has to go somewhere and will probably end up where it doesn't belong.    

Begin painting by brushing onto the wall first and not the tape. Brush back and forth until most of the paint has been applied. Then when there's just a bit of paint left on the brush, paint the area next to the tape and overlap your strokes onto the tape. That way, there will only be enough paint left on the brush to cover the remaining unpainted wall surface and there won't be enough to seep under the tape.    

To apply your topcoat of paint, follow the exact same process and techniques used when priming your walls. Roll in small, manageable 3 foot by 3 foot areas from the ceiling to floor, and from one side of the wall to the other. Blend your sections as you go.     With a fully loaded roller, work top to bottom, rolling back and forth across the wall in a series of V- or W-shape strokes until the section is covered. You want your roller fully covered with paint, but not to the point that it's dripping.

Before reloading your roller and moving to the next section, roll over the area you've just painted in a smooth, continuous stroke from top to bottom without picking up the roller. These smoothing strokes even the coat and help to cover up lines and paint roller tracks. As you overlap areas already painted, lightly lift the roller off the wall to avoid leaving end marks and to help blend different areas into one seamless surface.    

Step 8: Remove painter's tape        

Your final step is to remove your painter's tape. You have two options. You can do this just before the paint dries completely if you're concerned about your tape getting stuck in the paint. Or you can wait until the paint is dry.    

If left on too long, sometimes small pieces of the tape can tear and get left behind when being removed. If you run into this, use a utility knife to slice through the dried paint while pulling up the tape at a 45 degree angle.    

Now, tightly seal remaining paint in cans, thoroughly and completely clean paintbrushes and rollers, and dispose of used painter's tape.          

Step 9: Helpful painting tips        

Noticeable color variations in separate gallons of paint are rare now that mixtures are created by computers. But to be safe, once you've used half a gallon of paint, refill that can with paint from a different can and remix. If you're doing a large job, you can mix several gallons into one 5 gallon bucket. That way, you'll be guaranteed color uniformity.    

You also have options for how you reload your paint roller. You can use a traditional and reliable paint tray. Or to avoid the possibility of stepping in your paint or having a pet wander through it causing a mess, you can roll from a bucket using a paint grid.    

For optimum results in color quality and finish, a second coat may be needed. Just be sure and allow the first coat to dry completely, usually between two to four hours.  

To watch step by step video instructions, CLICK HERE.

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