Priming the Wall for Paint

Continuing our conversation about painting a room; first I talked about the prep work and today I’m talking about priming. Not every wall needs to be primed before you paint it. If you are covering something like a dark color or even painting over a wallpaper, you’ll need primer. I had to prime some of my walls when the contractor fixed the walls and sprayed new texture on it. The new texture soaked up paint like crazy and primer is cheaper than paint so I primed the kitchen walls and have kept it up since the kitchen shares walls with this room.

I also have some big blocks of color on the walls from when I was trying to choose a color. Primer just seemed like a good precaution to take to possibly make my life easier down the road. Even with primer my walls are needing two coats of gray.

The nice thing about the primer on this project is that I don’t have to be too careful with the cutting in (edging). I’m careful along the ceiling but since the baseboard will have to be painted and the fireplace will have to be painted, it’s OK if my line isn’t perfect.

I like to cut-in first with a short paintbrush. I love to use this large handled cup. I can get plastic inserts and just throw them away when I’m done. Don’t fill it with paint though. It’s a lot easier to just put a bit in it and put more in as needed. It’s a big cup so if you fill it, it’s too heavy to hold for a long time. Or at least too heavy for someone who might not be keeping up with her strength training. Oops.

Cut in pretty far. You don’t want to have to put your roller too high up on the wall. It’s too easy to accidentally touch the ceiling. Also, if you have two outlets near each other on the wall or an outlet close to the corner, it is so much easier to use the paint brush for the space between. The roller is too big and clumpy to navigate well between them. You just end up getting paint on cords and other walls.

Also, if you have textured walls, like me, coverage is a pain. You’ll have to brush on the paint in more than one direction to ensure you get full coverage. I grabbed a quick shot of my cutting in when I’ve only brushed up and down. Ridiculous, right? I’m really starting to hate textured walls.

When all the cutting in is done, I dump what is left in my cup into a paint tray and roll the rest of the paint on the wall. Don’t overload the roller, it will just drip and put creases on the wall. They are really easy to miss while you are in the middle of painting. It is much easier to just do more thin layers than try to coat heavily once.

When your roller is loaded with paint, make a big W on the wall. This evenly distributes the paint. Then you go back and roll over the W spreading the paint. Don’t work the paint too much. Once it’s covered, move on. If you start playing with the paint too much, it begins to dry and now you are going to create “curdles” of paint that clump on your wall and roller.

I put a couple of coats on the mantle also. It is the same brown trim that I’m replacing all through the house. I have some ideas for making this mantle pop more but for now, I’m painting it white. This brown stained wood takes at least two coats of primer though and then it will take three coats of paint. At least things are primed and ready for some color.

I am painting the fireplace itself next. This will probably take me a few evenings because it just takes a lot of going over to cover the rough surface. I think it will extend beyond the short amount of time I have after work and before bed. I’m doing the fireplace next because I don’t have to be very careful along the edges. If I wander onto the wall a little, the wall color shouldn’t be impacted. The fireplace is white and the wall will be gray.

It would be fantastic if I could finish this during the week. Has anyone else noticed that this might be a diversionary project to distract me from the home office?

I’m so predictable.


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