Do you manage to get more paint on the floor instead of the walls when you're painting a room?
If so, protect from splatters, spills, dripping, staining and other messy disasters by following these 27 top tips.
Being a project manager, I like this part of the process (geeky I know), but sadly it's a part many people neglect. Follow the tips below so you're well prepared for the painting process.
Just taking some time to write down what’s required to complete the project successfully and working out the correct order of doing things can save you a lot of mess and time.
The result should be a clear checklist of 'to-do' tasks organised in chronological order.
To help you get started with your own plan, the example below outlines the order in which high-level tasks should be completed, along with some questions you should be asking yourself:
Save yourself multiple trips to a DIY store by creating a list of supplies and buy them all in one trip.
Most importantly, you need to buy the right paint, in the right shade, and with the proper finish (e.g., gloss or matt). Whichever paint you choose, buy the best quality paint you can afford to produce a long-lasting finish.
For any type of painting project, you will need at least these tools & materials:
As we're often told, prevention is better than cure, so take your time and follow these steps before you get started.
Remember though, no matter how careful you are, paint splatter and drips are inevitable. We're just aiming to minimise them and make clean up easier.
If necessary, rent or buy some floodlights. Being able to see what you're doing is critical to avoiding mess.
Ensure you have plenty of room to paint, as cramped conditions can lead to accidents. The ideal solution is to remove all furniture from your room, but that is not always feasible.
If you cannot remove all your furniture, create furniture stacks in the centre of the room. Cover tables with cardboard or old linens and stack chairs on top. Cover your furniture stack(s) with plastic and use duct tape to hold it all together.
Ensure furniture stack(s) does not prevent you from getting to any part of the ceiling, walls or skirting. To test this, climb a step ladder with a roller in hand and check you can reach any part of your ceiling without difficulty.
Cover all no-removable items in plastic sheets so that no parts are exposed to stray paint.
Remove curtain rods, photos, artwork, picture hooks and anything else that might get in the way of painting.
Cover all sockets, switches, telecoms outlets, thermostats, alarm panels and any other electrical points with painter's tape. Watch how Dean does this in the video below:
Remove window hardware such as sash locks, handles/knobs and latch strike plates. Store hardware safely and tape off the lock.
As paint will not take to dirty surfaces, make sure ALL surfaces are spotless.
Dry dirt such as dust and sawdust can be wiped off with a cloth, while stickier materials such as grease will need to be washed off with a mixture of dish soap and water.
If while cleaning you find problem areas that need patching, follow this guide on how to fix them before you start painting
The best way to protect carpets from paint is to use canvas drop cloths. There are three key benefits to using canvas instead of plastic:
Lay the canvas on your carpet and bunch it up along walls, so its stays put. Note that regular splatter and drips will not soak through the canvas, but large spills might.
Pro Tip: Look for a canvas drop cloth that has a plastic face bonded to a cloth layer that absorbs drips.
The best protection for hard floors is rosin paper. Plastic and canvas covers will slip when placed on hard floors like wood and tiles, but rosin paper stays put.
Remember though; one layer of rosin paper will only protect against splatter and drips, so make sure you clean up large spillages before it soaks through to your hard floor.
Before you lay any rosin paper down, make sure your hard floor is clean, as trapped dirt can scratch the floor.
When the floor is clean, tape together sheets of rosin paper so that they cover the whole area. Finally, tape the edges onto your floor, leaving no part of your hard floor uncovered by rosin paper.
You will learn from experience that paint rollers produce a fog of paint that touches everything below, including windows and doors. To avoid this, follow these tips:
For more info on how to use tape effectively, check out this post
Here's the best way to deal with light fixtures attached to your ceiling:
Note: For pendants and chandeliers, the plate is typically attached to the ceiling via a single ring nut. In this case, don't use use a ‘hanger wire.' Instead, unscrew the ring nut and slide down the plate over the tube or chain.
Use plastic sheets and painter's tape to cover radiators. Alternatively, you could tape a rubbish bag around the radiator as Dean does in the video above.
You don't need to completely cover skirting with tape when a single strip of overhanging painter’s tape will catch all roller and brush splatters. Here are some key points to remember:
Painting skirting where it meets with carpet can be very difficult and messy. Follow the steps below and the image above to avoid getting paint on the carpet:
There are certain spots that are difficult to paint without getting paint on nearby objects. Painting behind a toilet is a good example of this problem.
To get around this, wrap nearby objects in cling film, as it quickly sticks where you want it while protecting objects from stray paint.
Remember to coat all your exposed body parts with lotion before starting any painting project. This way, paint will easily wash off your skin.
Now comes the fun part – Painting!
Drill a hole in your paint can lid and mix paint with a drill attachment. Watch how Joe does it in this video.
To avoid your brush dripping everywhere, it's a good idea to add a homemade drip stopper to your can of paint. Here’s how you make one using a wire coat hanger.
Put your paint cans in buckets. The bucket will catch drips, prevents spills, and gives you a place to hold your rag.
Painting in tight areas, such as behind your toilet, can be challenging with a paintbrush. A much easier way to reach difficult corners and crevasses is to use a homemade paint pad tool. Here’s how you make and use one:
Congratulations, you've now completed the project while following the 22 tips above. However, for some reason you're still left with plenty of mess to clear up!
Don't worry, mess is unavoidable and happens to the best of us, no matter how careful you are. Just follow the steps below to clean up:
After a nasty spill, lots of water and speed are critical for complete stain removal. This is especially true for latex paint which dries super fast.
Follow these essential steps to avoid permanent stains on your carpet:
Drips of dried paint found on wood trim can ruin an otherwise successful painting project. Remove these nasty drips without stripping your woodwork by following these simple steps:
The alcohol in cleansing wipes softens latex paint and doesn’t harm most surfaces. Here’s how best to use them:
Sometimes painter’s tape refuses to come off cleanly without a long struggle. Here’s a technique that will help:
Using a wide putty knife or dustpan, scoop up any spills on your drop cloths.
When the project is complete, pick up drop cloths/rosin paper and remove all plastic covers. Discard rosin paper (if used) but keep drop cloths for the next project.
I hope you enjoyed reading this list and now feel inspired to take on any painting project mess-free! If you have any more tips you would like to add, please let me know in the comments.
I'm the founder of PropertyWorkshop.com, a site dedicated to sharing home renovation and repair tips. To learn more about me, please check out our About page
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