There’s a lot that goes into painting a wall. There’s the prep work of cleaning and masking. The base layer of primer. The first, second and potentially third coats of wall paint. And finally the clean up. But before you start you need to make sure that you are well supplied for the task that you are about to undertake.

Here’s a list of things you should have on hand before you start. If some of the items are unfamiliar to you, we’ll go over what purpose they have later.
Prep materials: TSP (aka Tri-Sodium-Phosphate), sponge, bucket, drop cloths, tarps, putty knives, spackle, sanding sponge or sanding block, painters plastic, and painters masking tape (get both a narrow and a wide roll).
Painting materials: Paint, paint brushes ( 1-1/2″ or 2″ angle works best for cutting, 1″ for trim), roller frame, a couple roller covers (1/4″ – 3/8″ nap fora smooth surface, 1/2″-3/4″ for rough surfaces), paint tray, paint tray liners, stir stick, and a paint pail.
Optional materials include: paint pads, extension pole, trim rollers, paint clean up wipes, and additional brushes in various sizes.
Side note: In order to cut down on waste and act more environmentally conscience skip the paint tray liners when using latex based paint. Just rinse your tray immediately after use. Also purchase quality paint brushes and rollers and wash them instead of throwing cheap applicators away. Using quality applicators also increases the coverage of your paint. You can reuse paint brushes many times as long as you take the time to clean them. Finally, use a canvas or other non-plastic throw away drop cloth. These options may cost a little more but they will pay for themselves in the long run if they’re properly taken care of.
Once you have all of your material, you need to do what is the most important and often most overlooked step in painting: prep. Prepping your surface is so important because if the surface you are painting on isn’t able to take paint properly you could create a boat load of extra work for yourself later. In fact, you could even end up having to redo everything again costing you lots of extra time and money.
Proper prep involves a few irritating, but necessary, steps. First you need to make sure that the surface is sound and that there is no cracking, bubbling, and pealing of old paint. If you find that that there is any surface imperfections then you need to scrape them off with a putty knife.
After scraping off imperfections sand down the area where the imperfection was. If you do not sand there will be a visible ridge around the area that you scraped off. Use a sanding block or sponge to do this.
After ridding your wall of surface imperfections your next step is to fill all holes with a spakling compound. Use a light weight Spackle for small holes. Light weight Spackle will do a good job and will dry faster than a vinyl based Spackle. After your Spackle dries make sure to sand it down smooth with a sanding sponge or block sander.

Next you will need to clean the wall. Use a Tri-Sodium-Phosphate (T.S.P.) cleaner mixed in warm water. This type of cleaner not only cleans the surface, it also de-gloss’ it. This is important because the glossier the surface the harder time paint has sticking to it. Wash the wall with the T.S.P. then give it a rinse with warm water.
After the wall is dry, mask off all areas that you don’t want painted. Use a high quality masking tape that will safely release from the wall when you are finished painting. A good tape to use would be any from the 3M line that are blue in color, or frogtape. Do not stretch the tape and make sure that it is pressed down completely by firmly running your thumb along the length of the tape. All masking tape should be removed before the paint fully cures. Failure to do this may result in paint that you just painted on peeling off when you remove the tape.
It’s finally time to open your first paint bucket; your primer. Buy a good, high quality stain blocking primer for walls that are red in color (it’s the most difficult color to cover), for walls that have water stains, or for smells that you want covered up. The best primer for any of these situations is an oil based primer like Bins or Kilz. Oil based primers take a lot more effort when it comes to clean up so make sure that you have some mineral spirits on hand to clean up your tools and yourself.
If there’s no need to cover stains then you can prime with a latex based primer instead of oil. Make sure that your are buying a primer that is for previously painted drywall and not drywall primer, there is a difference. Drywall primer often called PVA primer is best suited for walls that have had no previous paint on them. It’s watery consistency is totally different than a primer used for covering up previous paint jobs.
Remember: Proper prep work helps ensure that your paint will stick and look the way you expect it to.
Loading a brush: Prior to using a paint brush or roller you should wet it. If you’re using latex based paint run your brush or roller under water and then squeeze out any excess fluid. If you’re using an oil based paint then you should use a thinner instead of water. When dipping the brush into the paint only put it in 2/3 of the way. Next, move the brush back and forth in order to saturate it. Then, you can lift the brush out of the paint and drag the brush against the can to take off excess paint which leads to splatters and drips.

Applying the paint: Use a paint brush and “cut your edges”. Cutting an edge is best done with a 1 1/2″ or 2″ brush. Paint along the edge of the tape working in 3′ sections so that the edge doesn’t have time to dry. If you need to take a break try and do it at a walls edge or other natural stopping point.
When using a roller: Now that you’ve cut in your edges you can really start making some progress with a roller. After you have wet the roller you can now load it with paint. Make sure the roller isn’t overloaded so that you don’t get paint splatter or drips. When applying the paint roll a “W” on the wall and without picking the roller off of the wall fill the “W” in. Using this method maximizes paint coverage. Work horizontally across the room in 3′ sections. If you need a break take it in a natural spot such as a door or better yet when you reach another wall. Let your paint dry for a at least three to four hours depending on humidity before applying a second coat.
Clean-up: Wash all brushes and rollers immediately after use. If you used latex paint, soap and water will work for cleaning. If you used an oil based paint you will need to use a thinner such as mineral spirits. If you plan to paint in the near future with the same color (like for a second coat) then try wrapping up your roller or brush in plastic. Make sure no air can get to your applicator to dry out the paint. Be thorough with your clean up. Make sure that there is no paint left on your brush or roller and then let them hang to dry. You can also use a cleaning tool such as a paint comb and roller cleaner. These tools aid in the removal of paint from your applicators.
For more information or if you have a question contact us at LeVahn Brothers Hardware and Plumbing 763-553-1222 and visit our website at Or stop by and visit us at 12700 Bass Lake Road in Maple Grove, MN in the Bass Lake Center.