We've become painting machines at my house lately -- with some so-so results and some great results (we're getting better one room at a time). I've been known to rush through a paint job, but have come to learn many measured ways of improving the outcome. This top five list from Popular Mechanics is a great start for either interior or exterior guidance; if you've got other tried and true tips, go ahead and add them to the list:
1. Tint the Primer
To further enhance the coverage of the topcoat, try this pro tip: Tint the primer toward the finished color by mixing a small amount of topcoat paint into the primer. (Be sure the primer and topcoat are both latex-based or both oil-based; never mix coatings with dissimilar solutions.) This will greatly enhance the ability of the topcoat to hide the prepped surface completely, especially when painting a lighter topcoat over an existing darker color.
2. Invest in Canvas
Canvas drop cloths are durable, and rip- and puncture-resistant. They lay flat as you walk across them, presenting less of a tripping hazard; seldom, if ever, must you tape canvas to the floor. Canvas also absorbs paint drips, unlike plastic drop cloths that become slippery when spattered with wet paint. You're much less likely to pick up paint on your shoe soles from canvas. Canvas drop cloths can easily be folded around corners and doorways—something that's virtually impossible to do with plastic sheeting. Plus, canvas can be reused countless times.
3. Roll With a Pole
Extension poles come in various sizes, but one that extends from about 18 in. to 30 or 36 in. offers plenty of reach for painting rooms with ceilings that are 9 ft or lower. There are also extra-long extension poles that telescope up to about 18 ft for painting cathedral ceilings and loft spaces.
4. Paint Off a Grid
I stopped using paint trays years ago, and have never regretted it. Now I roll paint directly from a 5-gal bucket using a paint grid, which is a rectangular, rigid metal screen that hooks onto the rim of the bucket. Start by filling the bucket about halfway with paint, then hang the grid in the bucket. Now dip half of the roller sleeve into the paint, and roll it against the grid to remove excess paint, which drips back into the bucket. At the end of the day, just drop the grid into the bucket and snap on the lid.
5. Record the Color
Before replacing the light-switch covers and electrical-outlet covers in a newly painted room, I write the vital information (brand name, paint color, paint number) onto a piece of masking tape and stick it to the back of a switch plate. And there it'll stay until it's time to repaint.