How to Paint Walls, Ceiling and Trim

Leave a Comment - 26


Raymond Beaumier

Subject: Removing Blue Painter's Tape

I've see the suggestions here of removing the tape before the paint dries but this doesn't make sense if you are applying two coats. The technique I have heard of and use is to let the paint dry and then run a razor blade knife along the edge of the tape before removing it. This keeps from pulling the paint off the wall.


Subject: Trim and tape

So, my tape on my white floor trim didn't do great. Any suggestions on fixing after I've removed the blue tape?


Subject: paint

I wanted to make a brief comment about getting extra paint. While I do agree with that statement, most paint is not returnable unless it is a stock color. Also remember beware of the big box stores when buying paint. You will be getting a far better quality paint at your local paint or hardware store.
As a professional contractor I prefer Benjamin Moore Regal line. Also Sherwin Williams makes some good paint (depending on product line).
Any house built prior to 1978 probably has lead paint, be cautious during your prep stage.

Dan Cavagnaro

Subject: paint


That is correct, we only suggest buying extra paint for the ceiling as anything tinted can not be returned. I also agree that buying paint from Sherwin Williams or a Benjamin Moore distributor is the way to go. Although the Behr line gets highly rated, they just do not hold up as well.

Lynn Bartman

Subject: Paint tape

I followed the advice on HGTV and after putting down the paint, I took a credit card and ran it down over the edges of the tape to ensure that there wouldn't be any seepage. I striped one large wall in my living room and this worked very well.

Dan Cavagnaro

Subject: Paint Tape

Great tip! The hardest part about using tape is not knowing what it will look like when you take it off.


Subject: Blue painters tape

Whenever I use blue tape it pulls up paint when I remove it. Can anyone tell me what's going wrong?


Subject: Blue Painters Tape

In all likelihood, you are not giving the paint long enough to dry before laying the blue tape over top. The paint will take anywhere from half a day to longer depending on humidity and temperatures in the room.


Subject: Blue Tape removing paint

Hey Leslie, if you are using the latex type paints, you need to remove the blue tape before the paint you have just placed onto the (wall/ceiling/whatever) dries. Once the paint completely dries, any paint that has bled onto the tape or overlapped the tape will cause the tape to start pulling up onto the dried paint which was touching the tape. And unfortunately, the paint that is being pulled up by the tape is also attached to the paint which you want to stay on the surface that you painted. End result will be that you will end up pulling areas of paint completely off the surface you just painted along with the tape. So, again, remove the blue tape before the new paint has completely dried. You should see a much better result.


Subject: Thorough Article, but With Common Sense

Have painted quite a few rooms in my DIY years, and I concur with everything in this article. Yes, others may have techniques about using tape (Blue Tape is best, as long as you press the edges down hard to make good adhesion. Paper tape -- beige masking tape -- is bad, bad, bad because the adhesive won't release as easily as Blue tape) but for the most part, I use Blue tape except when cutting in the wall color up near the ceiling. Fortunately, I'm able to keep a steady hand and paint the wall color right up to the already painted ceiling. By the way, for an earlier critiquer, a "9-inch frame" is the metal handle onto which you affix a paint roller. And YES, do prepare a new roller by removing the new fuzz first, either by using the masking tape techique, or by washing it thoroughly as I do. Let it dry overnight and fluff it up again before using it. You'l have plenty of time for it to dry because you're sanding and vacuuming the walls, removing light switch plates and electrical plug plates. Right?


Subject: Terrible Article on Painting

Where did you get this absurd statement "Professional painters don’t need to use tape..."? The best painters I have seen always use tape.

Unless the wall is in really bad shape, you shouldn't need to sand it. You will have a horrible sanding dust problem. And absolutely, then the cleaning as described by Lizzy above. Next follow Todd Williamson's advice above.

Dan Cavagnaro

Subject: Terrible article on painting


I am sorry you feel that way, there are many techniques that people learn throughout the years and everyone does things differently. If you are a professional painter and can not cut a straight line in without tape then you should probably be in another line of work.

Jim Somach

Subject: Painting trim first.

I prefer to paint the trim first because I use semi gloss on the trim. After it has dried I apply painters tape over the semi gloss. A coat of the semi gloss over the edge of the tape prevents the wall color from bleeding under the tape. Then paint the walls. After everything has dried carefully remove the tape to reveal clean, sharp trim lines. The flat paint will easily clean off of the semi gloss if there are any splatters or goofs. Works for me.


Subject: Before painting

This is a really basic tip.
You should always clean your new roller sleeve of loose fibers by running it over some plain old masking tape.
This gets all the loose stuff off the roller before you put it in the paint and get it on the walls,

Kathy Bell

Subject: Painting a ceiling

When I learned to paint - years ago - from my Dad, the rule was to roll "finishing" strokes parallel to the wall with the brightest window light, or the room entry door. This would about eliminate any visible roller marks.

Todd Williamson

Subject: Painting prep

As a homeowner, I have painted my fair share of rooms in my homes. I never paint walls without removing light switch and plug covers. Nowhere are these mentioned in your article, yet the photos show them. Even removing or masking off ceiling fixtures, smoke detectors, trim is imperative. Trust me, these details make a difference.

It also is difficult to paint a surface and then use painters tape on it to mask another as in the case of trim. It takes days (a week's worth?) of drying time to do that.


Subject: That's only half the prep!

Scuse me, but the walls need to be cleaned first, preferably with TSP, then a rinse wipe with clean water. Then primer, especially anywhere you spackled. As for sanding? Find out what you're sanding. Lead paint still lurks in plenty of maw maw houses. Blue tape - what a mess! use paper tape from the paint store. Pull it off before the paint completely dries for a sweet crisp line. Blue tape is wrinkly and paint can seep under. And latex paints are plastic, so pulling up tape with dry paint tears at the paint film.

I'm a cane farmer, but I know this. Degrease (clean) for good paint adhesion, and there is no such thing as paint and primer in one. But if you do it right the first time...

Zona Gray-Blair

Subject: painting a room

What is "a 9-inch frame" that you add to the pole? How do you calculate an approximate amount of paint to buy?



Dan Cavagnaro

Subject: Calculating square Footage

Hi Zona,

Thank you for your inquiry, most paint will cover approximately 350 square feet. Keep in mind that the second coat usually requires about 30% less paint then the first. A 9" frame is a standard frame used in painting. If you go to any paint store or hardware store they will know exactly what you are talking about.

Gloria Guy

Subject: painting

Would have you already painted and you didn't know to tape up the woodwork in the floor what could you do to get off the paint from the floorswhat if you already pay me and you didn't notice tape of the woodwork in the floor what could you do to get all the paint from the floor


Subject: Touching up Kitchen woodwork

In reply to question by Sally Ritch, there are at least two ways to tackle this. Depends on how firmly your varnished wood molding is attached to the walls or the cabinets. My preferred way is to slip a thin putty knife under the molding and gently pry it up and away from the walls and cabinet, do your painting, then reattach the molding. You can probably use the same nail holes in the molding, but please use new nails, or brads as they may be called. The second way is to cover your molding with Blue painters tape. I don't like this technique as well because there's ALWAYS some paint that gets up onto the molding. But, if you can't pry off the molding, this is the only alternative. Good luck.

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That's very difficult to answer without seeing the house. As one poster said, the prep is the most important part. On newer homes that don't have a lot of peeling paint, the prep can be very minimal even as low as a couple or a few hundred dollars for the prep labor.

On a 100 year old home with 12 coats of peeling paint on it, then the prep costs can be very high and can easily exceed 50% of the job's labor cost.

A 2100 sq ft two story home could easily cost $1000 just for the labor to prep for the paint job. That number could climb too. Throw in lots of caullking  or window glazing, and you could be talking a couple or a few hundred dollars more for labor.

Painting that home with one coat of paint and a different color on the trim could run roughly $1000 or more just for labor. Add a second coat  and that could cost close to another $1000 for labor.

For paint, you may need 20 gallons of paint. You can pay from $30-$70 for a gallon of good quality exterior paint. The manufacturer of the paint should be specified in any painting contract. Otherwise, the contractor could bid at a Sherwin-Williams $60 per gallon paint and then paint the house with $35 Valspar and pocket the difference. $25 dollars per gallon times 20 gallons? That's a pretty penny too.

That was the long answer to your question. The short answer is $2000 to $4000 and up, depending upon the amount of prep, the number of coats, the amount of trim, and the paint used.


Remember, you not only have to remove the popcorn texture, but also redo the ceiling in some other texture.

Price will depend on several factors:

1) how much the contractor you choose hates removing popcorn or textured ceilings - some charge $1 or so/SF extra just because they hate it. There are even some who bid total drywall replacement cheaper than removing the popcorn, so you have to first find contractors who are happy to do that work, or your prices will be out of the realistic range

2) if the popcorn predates about 1990, then it could likely have asbestos in it, which doubles or triples the price, and in many cases uncapsulating it with a spray coating and then removing the drywall entirely is actually cheaper than all the protective measures necessary if it is scraped off. 

3) whether the popcorn is primarily gypsum and vermiculite (comes off REAL easy) or was the plaster of paris variety, which takes a fair amount of soaking to soften it enough to scrape off

4) what type of finish you are replacing it with - if a textured ceiling, slapcoat, knockdown finish or paneling, not real problem. If you want to go with a perfectly smooth ceiling (generally a bad idea as any variations in the drywall on a ceiling surface really shows up dramatically), then it will demand a lot of care in preparing the scraped surface, and a complete surface drywall compound skim coat to smooth out the scrapes and gouges from the removal process.

5) what underlying conditions are - if there is a lot of furniture to move around (should go to adjacent rooms) or cover and work around, high-quality rug or hardwood floor to super-protect or such, will drive cost up.

I have seen costs run from as low as $0.60/SF to $1.25/SF (for removal only). Generally, remove and recoat with a surface texture of some kind (anything but smooth) and paint will run you about $2.50-3.50/SF.

Now the bad news - if asbestos containing, can run from $5-10/SF. Many homeowners in that situation go the other legal route - have it encapsulated with an asbestos-rated sealant by an asbestos contractor, then paint it and leave it for the next homeowner to decide what to do about it. Some contractors encapsulate it and then put a 1/4" thick drywall layer over it - this usually looks like a disaster unless it has a VERY rough textured finish on it, because putting drywall sheet over a rough surface like popcorn invariably means a wavy surface commonly looks like a gently rolling ocean surface.

Hair spray is one of those things that is really bothersome.  We've run into this alot unfortunately.  And NOTHING we've found will actually clean it off.  The problem is that if you just paint over it, you still see shiny spots wherever the hairspray was.

Our companie's policy is to prime the area with any bonding primer.  This will seal the hairspray in and not let it affect the next coat of paint.  It would also be a good idea to lightly sand the area first.

Our recommendation for primer would be Zinsser's BIN Spray (red can) and can be bought at most paint stores or home improvement stores.  Other than that, any thing that specifically says "bonding" for a primer should be adequate enough. 
This is a good question.  However, the question makes the assumption that there is a paint that covers everything in 1 coat, which I don't believe is the case.  My recommendation is Benjamin Moore's Aura.  Now the fine print.  Aura will cover very well because it dries to approximately twice the thickness of other paints.  However, Aura says it will cover any color in never more than 2 coats, but there are exceptions to that as well, including some deep reds.  The main thing is the color change.  If the color you are using is within the same family of colors, you have a chance, we've also had pretty good success of grey covering over tan in 1 coat, but if you're making a major color change, don't expect any paint to cover perfectly in 1 coat.

Some other 1 coat coverage paints you could use would be Sherwin Williams Duration, and Behr Ultra Premium Plus.

Hope this helps!