Weather Forecast


Gert’s Dirt: Nothing brightens up a room like a fresh coat of paint

From Donna Bellino

Painting walls is economical and can be quite easily done by most homeowners. Here are some tips to keep in mind to get optimum results.

Prep work

It is tempting to skip this important step, but you’ll be glad you took the time once you begin working, and especially when you see the finished product. In fact, you may wish to set aside a whole day to do the prep work. Start by removing the pictures and decorations from the walls. Then move furniture away from the walls and cover each piece with an old sheet. Remove outlet covers but put the screws back in place so you don’t lose them. Use painters tape to cover outlets and tape other hardware that cannot be removed. Also cover the floor near walls with a drop cloth. The cost of a canvas drop cloth $15-35, but they can be used over and over again. Plastic drop sheets, on the other hand, get slippery and after paint spills dry, they chip off and make a mess. After patching holes and divots in walls, sand them smooth and wash them, paying special attention to greasy or soiled areas. Sometimes it is best to apply a primer coat to the walls before painting them. If you do, it is recommended to add a bit of the wall color paint to the primer for best results. Use calking around the edge of the trim or molding to fill in any gaps.

Painting the edges

A good angled trim brush is all you need to paint edges and corners. Start by pouring paint into a bucket. It’s advisable to do this to prevent contamination of your paint by dust and dirt, which can happen when you dip paint directly from the can. Dip the paint brush into the bucket and tap it off. Cut in the edges by painting out about three inches from each corner, molding and baseboard. This way the roller won’t have to get too close and cause a smudge on adjacent areas. Keep a damp rag handy to quickly wipe up any mistakes. If you need to use a ladder to reach an area, make sure it’s sturdy and that you use it properly. No stepping on the top and no stretching to reach!

Rolling on the walls

Extension poles for rollers are wonderful. By using one you will save time and remain safely on the floor. Another handy tip is to use a five- gallon bucket and a paint grid rather than a roller tray. The bucket and the grid will only cost a few dollars, but it’s much easier to clean or save for the next day. When it’s time to apply paint to the main areas of the walls, dampen the roller with a bit of water if using latex paint, or paint thinner if using oil based paint. Roll on paint in an M or W shape. Use overlapping vertical strokes to fill in. Don’t worry if the first coat is uneven, your second coat will make it look great! If you’d like, you can now use your angled brush and carefully paint the trim in the room.


Examine the room in good, natural light to be sure that the walls and edges are covered evenly. Record the paint’s brand, color number and name on a piece of tape. Place the tape on the inside of the switch plate cover so you’ll know right where to find it. Then, carefully remove the canvas and fold it up for use next time. Remove the tape from hardware and outlets, wipe off all wall decorations and pictures and place them back on the walls. Next vacuum the floor, dust the furniture and put everything back in place. As you work, keep a small amount of paint handy in a plastic container so you can do little touch ups. Finally, empty paint cans may be safely discarded in the trash once they’ve dried completely. If you have leftover paint that you do not want to keep, please bring it to the recycle center where it will be disposed of properly.

There! Now you have a fresh, clean room for you and your family to enjoy.

All of the supplies for this job can be purchased at our local hardware and home center. There is an assortment of wonderful wall colors and products to make this project a success!

Donna Bellino is a Registered Nurse and owner of Gertie’s Cleaning and Home Service. I care for you, your health, and your home. Gertie’s: Naturally Clean!