Trade Secrets 1       

  We have a You Tube video posted on brush techniques right here.

I keep a blog on painting tips at

For information about Murals follow this link.

Faux Finishing tips can be found here.

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We'll start with regular interior painting. There are so many parts to painting a room, depending on the type of house and how it was built. I'll list the basic steps below.

Preparation. Washing, filling, sanding, wiping down the dust, and vacuuming the floor before you paint. 

Do your walls have cracks and other defects that should be filled ? All this will be discussed as we go through the proccess of painting.

 Painting    Brushing, rolling, and all the how to's that go with them. Click the link for the new Aura products from Benjamin Moore

Clean up There are a few steps to ensuring the brush and roller live to paint another day.


The first step is to remove the plug and switch plates. If you have small children, turn off the power to the plugs to prevent injury.

Repairing cracks and damage should be dealt with now.  

When you go and buy filling knives, they are the flexible ones. The stiff ones are scrapers. Don't use your nice filling knives for scraping because you will damage the front edge and then your filler will have ridges in it. 

Next, you need two filling knives. I use a 2 inch and a 4 inch knife, one to hold the filler, the other to apply the filler. Those filling knives become very sharp if you use them a few times, so TAKE CARE.

There are many ready made fillers and some that you have to mix. The ready made ones are great for small picture hook type holes, but their drawback is that they are soft when dry and they don't chemically set up as do the ones you have to mix. So you will have to wait until they dry, which could be overnight.

I like the 'polyfiller' brand for fixing larger holes, because it comes in a little box and it sands easily. Fastset is another commonly used product but comes in bigger bags and is usually way more than you will require for the average paint project. DONT do as they tell you on the box and add powder to the water. You use about ten times more than you need that way. Add the water to the powder and only make a little at a time as it will set before you finish your work, and you'll end up throwing it away. 

Spread the mix across the hole, then pull the blade firmly across the hole again and remove all the filler that is not in the hole. NO BUILDING UP OF FILLER!! A common mistake that takes hours of sanding to fix. Imagine, you have filled the entire room with lots of filler piled up on every hole. It might seem reasonable to do that, as you don't have to go back and fill twice because the filler has shrunk into the holes, but wouldn't you rather go back and quickly fill it again, or would you like to sand until your arm drops off. Too graphic? Well, there are many such situations that I would love to save you from.


So.... you've filled everything to perfection, not too much over filling? haven't used a kitchen knife?. OK, what to do now.

A dust mask to protect your lungs from the dust is a good start. Pinch the metal bit on top (the good ones have one) to fit your nose, otherwise you are just looking good, and the dust will go in the top and down into your lungs.

TIP: if you can feel your eyelashes when you breath out, it's not sealed to your face.

What sanding device should I use?.  Small areas, and even quite large ones, can be handled with a sanding sponge, medium/fine.

There are sanders that you have to put the sanding paper on and it clips at either end, that's good too. If you use one that is on the end of a pole you have to be careful that sometimes they can tip over and scratch the walls - not nice. There are big round sanders that fit onto an extention pole, those are the best, but only buy it if you have some sizable work ahead of you.

Sand paper

The smaller the number on the back of the sandpaper, the larger the size of sand or abrasive stuck on the surface. So for painting, start with 120 grit for walls, 150 grit for trim, then if the job warrents it, 220 grit is nice for finishing and preparing surfaces that may have been painted with an an oil based gloss or other glossy paint. Remember the mask. 

The surface should be wiped down with a soft bristle broom (walls) a damp rag (trim), as this removes all the dust that has stuck on the surface from sanding (static).

One word here about interior surfaces. Kitchens, or areas where smokers have congregated will have to be washed with TSP to remove the film that will prevent your expensive paint from adhering to the surface. 

Bathrooms often require a cleaning before any paint is applied. If you don't take the time to clean and sand you will have a peeling paint surface in a couple of years that is VERY  expensive to fix.

Dust will have accumulated on the top of door and window casings, wipe down with a damp rag, also the walls should be checked for dust and wiped if necessary. This is certainly easier than trying to sand after the first coat of paint.

Don't forget to vacuum the area before you start painting.

Please see this link before you continue

More on Trade Secrets 2     Also our painting tips page

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