Painting Do's and Don'ts

Paint Colors


•- Wall test or test paint color on a piece of cardboard placed against the wall before beginning to paint, since colors appear differently on a color chart

•- Paint two coats for light paint colors, three or four coats for darker colors.

•- Opt for flat finishes over gloss finishes, which show wall imperfections


•- Use a color you are not comfortable with

•- Use low-quality paints, which produce a low quality paint job

Type of Paint


•- Find out what base or sheen was previously used, using an oil base over a previous oil base (and not a water base, which will cause paint to peel/chip)

•- Opt for water bases (which are environmentally safer, dry faster, and are easier to use and clean up)

•- Select the best sheen for the appearance you desire (i.e., flat, low sheen, lo glow, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, or gloss)


•- Use water base over an oil base

•- Paint your walls shinier than the trim

•- Use gloss sheen on large surfaces such as ceilings and walls (which detract from the contrast between walls and trim)



•- Remove/cover any furniture/floors you don't want painted (i.e. using drop cloths and masking tape), and remove switch plates and window curtains/blinds

•- Sweep to remove dust and cobwebs and provide a clean surface for your paint job

•- Caulk all cracks in walls and baseboards (using paintable versus pure silicone caulking)

•- Prime all areas that have been repaired or that are stained/discolored


•- Leave any parts of the floor uncovered (i.e. look for small gaps between tape and tarps)

•- Forget to check hidden areas for cracks and damage before beginning to paint



•- Paint large surfaces before trims

•- Use a paintbrush on areas that a roller can't reach (i.e. corners/edges, around electric boxes)

•- Use paint roller after brushing to hide brush lines made by cutting in

•- On doors, paint doorjamb and edges first, followed by rolling paint on the door and finishing with smooth up-and-down brush strokes

•- Use appropriate solvents to thin paint


•- Paint over peeling paint, cracks, or dirt; prepare surfaces first

•- Paint trims before walls, since paint can seep under taped trims

•- Leave a wall half finished to dry; paint to a corner or edge before quitting

•- Over-thin your paint (i.e. stretch it out to cover a larger area), which reduces the quality of the paint job

•- Neglect to check your finished work and fix missed/non-uniform areas

Cleaning Up


•- Place brushes/rollers in solvent to keep them from drying before cleaning

•- Carefully remove masking tape from floors so as not to cut the floor or remove paint from the baseboards

•- Use appropriate solvent to clean paint spills from the floor

•- Thoroughly clean all paintbrushes. For water-based paints, remove wet paint with running water; for oil-based paints, remove wet paint by repeatedly dipping brush in paint thinner until the solvent comes out clear/free of paint. To remove dry paint from bristles, briskly brush with a wire brush


•- Pull up tarps and tape carelessly, which can throw paint and debris on your freshly painted surfaces

•- Delay in cleaning up spilled/splashed paint from the floor

•- Leave paint on equipment you hope to paint with again in the future