Paint a Room in a Day

Paint a room in one day? Wow, now I’ve got your attention! Yeah, it’s possible for ceiling and walls, but be ready to budget time for a long day to claim a successful finish. However, you’ll need to be well prepared by planning ahead, and ideally, another day should be allotted for preparation, which is the key for painting success. You’ll have to start early in the morning, but it is indeed possible to paint a room in one day with this method that will produce a long lasting, attractive finish by bedtime. Be forewarned what I’m recommending in this article will take some elbow grease and effort. Relax, I’m not including the windows, doors, jambs, and trim moldings, which will take added time and care to be more precise.

That’s good, because in a well planned remodel situation, especially involving replacement, the doors, windows, jambs, and trim moldings may be more easily prepped, primed, and first coated separately and finished later in subsequent phases.

Painting is the one best way I encourage homeowners to save on the overall cost of a remodeling project with their contributed sweat equity. It’s the simplest and most direct way for them to realize participation in the customization of an exciting remodeling project, realize their vision, and to enjoy the satisfaction of knowing a job has been properly done. This article is for you, homeowner!

And the key to a properly done painting job is planning, and then, preparation. There won’t be enough time on painting day to include selecting paint color samples at the local home improvement center and expect to stay calm, relaxed, and patient, primary requirements for success. Take inventory of miscellaneous needed tools and supplies such as primer, brushes, rollers, masking tape, or drop cloths, and acquire all well beforehand. I’ve found it worthwhile to pay for a quality roller sleeve that will not leave a trail of knap fibers in the paint as the roller wears. Of course, all paint referred to is latex water base.

If you can do so, prepare the room a day in advance. And, this could take longer than you might expect, so budget time accordingly. Remove all possible furniture from the room. You’ll be surprise how much elbow space you may require to operate the roller handle extension pole or move the step ladder around, and not spill or splatter paint. Cover the floor with heavy dropcloths, not plastic, which may be slippery on hardwood or stick to your shoes or ladder. Plastic might be a good idea to cover carpet under dropcloths. Spills may happen, even to the pros.

Organize all your supplies and tools and visualize how they will be used, see what might be missing, or need augmentation. Set up lighting, perhaps a strong halogen spot lamp on a stand will help you to see what’s going on, especially with the ceiling, where I find it’s hardest to see coverage properly.

Remove all wall and ceiling obstructions. This includes window treatments and wall hung pictures, of course, but don’t forget wall switch and outlet coverplates. Remove the ceiling light fixture, if possible, otherwise mask it and unscrew and lower the eschutcheon.

Now assess the existing paint surfaces. It’s best to knock down dirt specks embedded in the previous ceiling and wall paint coats with a sanding pole. Glossy finishes should be sanded, especially on trim moldings, to allow new paint to adhere. Sanding will raise dust, so wear a respirator mask, especially if you suspect leaded paints in homes painted prior to 1978. Vacuum dust.

Paint does not adhere well to dirty surfaces, and will peel. The sanding dust, dirt grime, hand smudges, and smoke residue will need to be washed down on all ceiling and wall surfaces and trim moldings. Use a solution of 1/4 cup TSP (trisodium phosphate) in 2 gallons water with a sponge and a sponge on a pole. Protect yourself with heavy duty rubber gloves. TSP in stronger solution etches more glossy painted surfaces, and will need to be rinsed, but don’t soak surfaces. Bleach will help remove mildew. Wipe down wetted surfaces to speed drying.

Repair any small damage and fill small cracks. Use spackle to fill picture hanger holes and painter’s caulk to fill small cracks around moldings. Larger wall cracks will best be repaired with drywall joint compound and tape.

Mask conservatively, ideally only those horizontal areas that are vulnerable to paint splatter and drops, such as chair rail and base moldings. A tricky step is to mask the carpet at the baseboards. A broad putty knife may help to press masking tape tightly, compress the carpet, and tuck tape under the baseboard. Taped kraft paper will help to protect carpet borders. You don’t want carpet fibers to be painted, or stuck to the baseboards, and you want to be able to paint the baseboards as fully as possible.

Now, at last, you’re ready to begin painting. Wear latex gloves to protect hands. Have a damp rag and a pail with slightly soapy water ready to clean up fresh splatters. Typically, covering dark paint requires more hiding power. Primer helps hide darker surfaces and helps paint adhere, so I recommend priming everything starting from the ceiling down. Start by cutting in a 2″ ceiling perimeter swath with a sponge tool or angled paintbrush. I like sponge tools, which seem to hold more paint. I then roll the cut-in border with a small roller to knock down streaks and create a roller texture. Sponge tools come in various configurations to paint corners or cut close to trim moldings.

Then fill in the rest of the unpainted ceiling space with a quality roller and extension handle, using the familiar overlapping M-or-W strokes. Cover areas about 2ft square at a time, enabling you to go back and feather roller paint ridges before they dry. Proceed across the space methodically in squares, so you don’t get ahead of yourself. Painting the ceiling perpendicular to a window will help hide roller marks. Painting walls from the ceiling down will smooth out lower splatters. Cut in corners and around windows and doors using sponge tools and the same technique. Primer will require about 1-2 hours to dry before recoat.

Use the same painting techniques to apply two coats of paint, again starting from the ceiling down. Allow 4 hours for the first coat of paint to dry before recoat. If you try to paint too soon, the previous coat will peel, pulled up by the roller. Flat ceiling paint hides plaster, drywall, and painting imperfections well. Eggshell wall paint works well, combining hardness with hiding. Use semi-gloss paint for kitchen, bathroom, and trim moldings for hardness and cleaning ability.

Painting trim moldings is straightforward, using the same planning and preparation guidelines. Use long, confident brush strokes and let the brush glide. Just don’t load up the brush with too much paint.

Use liquid dish soap and warm water for all cleaning. Clean sponge tools between coats, or dispose of them. Rollers may be placed in plastic bags and stored in the refrigerator between coats. I find it hard to clean rollers, so I dispose of them instead of changing paint colors. Decant the roller tray’s left over paint back into the can between coats. I find plastic tray liners useful and easy to clean or dispose. Take care of brushes with careful cleaning. A wire brush may help to keep bristles clean and free of dried paint. Keep the brush’s shape with it’s original cover after drying with a brush spinner. Latex additives help paint performance by allowing the paint to lay flat, reducing ridges after rolling or brushing, and increasing working time, especially on trim moldings. Remove masking tape promptly.