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The first thing to do before starting an interior painting project, or any project for that matter, is proper planning. You need to determine what tools and materials you will need for the job and get an estimate on how much it's going to cost. You don't want to run into any unpleasant surprises on the way. Note that this article covers a lot of narrower topics covered in other articles on the site. Whenever you come to a link in this article, you should follow the link and read that page before continuing on with this one.


At the very minimum, you will need drop cloths, good paint brushes, and a complete roller set-up, including a roller pole. You will also probably need a ladder to cut-in high spots, a screwdriver to remove the plates off of light switches and outlets, and lightweight plastic to cover your furniture. If there are any holes to be filled, you will need spackle, a putty knife, sandpaper, and a duster - if there are any cracks, you will need caulk and a caulking gun - if you need to protect the baseboard at any point you will need masking paper, or at the very least, 2" painter's tape.


The next thing you need to do is to determine what materials you need. Do you need a primer? If so, what kind? What kind of paint do you need? What colors do you need? Once you know what kind of paint and primer you are going to use, you need to determine how much of it you need. To find this number, you can estimate about one gallon per coat for every 250 square feet of surface you need to cover. When you are buying the materials, double check this formula on the can of each type of paint or primer you get. To find the square feet of a surface, measure the length of it in feet and multiply that number by the width of it in feet. You can also measure and multiply in inches, and then divide by 12. Whatever amount you come up with, add about a quart on to that, so that you will have a little bit of paint left over if you ever want to do touch-up work later.


The next step is to prepare the room and the surfaces to be painted. This includes moving and/or covering furniture, laying drop cloths, removing electrical plates, spackling and caulking, scraping, sanding, dusting, and priming. You apply primer to a surface the same way you paint it, so you can refer to the following section for help with the priming as well.


If you are painting the trim, baseboards, and casings, the next step after the primer dries is to paint these. If you were using the same paint for everything, it wouldn't matter much what you painted first, but since you are most likely using a different paint for the trimwork, it's a good idea to paint them first. That way, you don't have to be careful along the edges and it makes it a lot easier.

The next step is to use the wall paint to cut in the corners, the edge of the trim and baseboards, around the casing of the doors and windows, and anywhere else you can't use a roller for. In this step, you will not only be covering the trim paint that you got on the walls, but also making a neat straight line along all the edges - something a roller can't do.

Now that the preparation and cutting in is done, painting the rest of the room will seem like a breeze. The first thing to do is to get your roller set up and ready to go. If you're painting the ceiling, you should roll this first. Again, make sure to cover any furniture with a lightweight plastic if you plan to paint the ceiling. Now, just roll the walls and you're done! All that's left to do is cleanup.

Again, if you're wondering why each topic is covered so briefly, click on the links in each section to get the whole story. Happy painting!

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