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Be Your Own Painting Contractor

After Taping and Floating Drywall, Texture, Paint, and Save Money

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A taped and floated new drywall wall

Taped and floated new drywall

This article was updated on 04/21/20

Learning how to paint a new sheetrock wall isn’t hard; it is one of the best ways to refresh your walls on a budget, but in order to achieve a truly high-quality result, it’s important to start with a high-quality new wall. To quote a wise old painter who has seen it all and done it all, “If you want to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, you have to start with a silk sow.“ Are you ready to be your own paint contractor?

Is the Drywall Taping and Floating (Finishing) Up to Snuff?

Drywall Taping and Floating Tools

Make sure that all the drywall joints, corners, and nail or screw indentations have been taped, floated, and sanded. Look at the surface carefully from all angles, first just an overview and then with a flashlight held at an angle. Any problem spots will show up in the end result. The shinier (glossy sheen) the paint you use, the more prominent sheetrock finishing imperfections will be.

Do any needed skimming with drywall compound and then sand it out.

Use a Drywall Texture Sprayer or a Manual Method

When you’re satisfied with your sheetrock finishing job, texture the wall now if you intend to. (It’s highly recommended!) Either use a drywall texture sprayer or go for an easy drywall texturing method. It can dry while you shop for painting tools you might need. Calculate the square footage of the area you intend to paint. Generally speaking, depending one grade and quality, one gallon of paint will cover 400 square feet.

Buy Your Painting Tools

First, inventory the painting tools you already own. Tools for exterior painting projects will work well indoors.

When shopping for tools, don’t pinch pennies on brushes and rollers. Poor quality paint brushes won’t give you good flow and that makes your sheetrock painting difficult and frustrating. You need brushes labeled for water-based latex paint. On high quality brushes, such as Purdy brushes, the bristles taper from the base to the tips.

Painting: Cutting in the Borders

For cutting-in painting work (inside corners, at the ceiling, etc.), use a brush where the bristle tips are also tapered from left to right at about a thirty degree angle. A 2 1/2“ to 3“ wide brush is perfect for this.

Painting Tools for Larger Areas

When painting large, open areas, you’ll need a roller handle, disposable rollers, and a roller pole. For higher walls you’ll need a telescoping pole instead of the fixed length one. You’ll also need painter’s tape. This is for masking off intersections with door jambs, window casings, etc. The narrow tape will be easier on your budget.

Buy a pan and some inexpensive plastic throw-away roller pan liners. Finally, you’ll need drop cloths. Plastic ones are cheaper but canvas ones are easier to work with. Your choice. Myself, I like to use canvas and fold them and store them in the garage for the next project when done but if I used plastic for one-time use I would likely dispose of them.

Use a Latex Paint Primer and Then Paint

Begin your cutting-in work with your small brush where you have applied painter’s tape. Also cut in any inside corners. You may do one section of your project at a time depending upon the size of the project.

When that’s done, roll the paint on the wall over the open areas. First roll a wide letter “W“ on the wall, and then roll over it up and down until the area defined by the ’W’ is all filled in and even. With a heavy texture you may need to add diagonal strokes. Repeat this process until you’re done.

I hope this article on being your own painting contractor has helped; DIY will save you money. Keep in mind that if you are doing a really big job, depending on your local rules, you may be able to file for a DBA so that you can secure contractor pricing at a paint store.

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

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