Even an old lamp with a bare bulb held close to a wall will make minor cracks, bumps or nail pops jump out. Carmen Toto, owner of C. Toto & Sons in Madison, New Jersey, uses painter's putty or a lightweight spackle for minor cracks and dents; he uses plaster of Paris for dents deeper than 1/8 inch. Instead of the standard tape-and-spackle method for bridging over recurring stress cracks, Maceyunas uses a rubberized spray-on primer called Good-Bye Crack. Damaged wood requires a slightly different approach. "Don't use spackle on wood," says Toto, "because it just won't stick." For damaged trim, he uses painter's putty or a two-part wood filler, such as Minwax's High Performance Filler. Smooth any repairs, bumps, and nibs with a drywall pole sander. For smoother walls and better adhesion, some of our pros sand all previously painted walls regardless of the shape they're in.

Professional painters have done this before. It’s how they make their living. Through experience, they have learned tricks of the trade and the techniques used to get quality results. They are familiar with the type of paint to use in each situation, know what quality paint is right for each task and know how to achieve a perfectly straight edge – with or without the use of painter’s tape.
Most of us can do an okay job of painting a room. But a seasoned professional does a great job. Obviously, pros have more experience than the average homeowner, but they also know techniques and tricks that make them better painters. We asked six pro painters to share those secrets. They probably kept a few tips to themselves, but they provided us with more than enough to help you work more efficiently and get better results. Some of what you'll read may surprise you. For instance, their secrets won't cut painting time. Painters spend two to four days on an average-size room. That's how long it takes to prep, prime and paint correctly. It's more work, but when you stand back to admire the results, you'll agree it's time well spent.

In general, glossier paints are more stain-resistant and scrubbable. But a higher sheen also highlights any imperfections in the wall or in the paint job. "Flat paints are fine for ceilings and formal rooms, but for most of my customers, I recommend an eggshell gloss. It's good for hallways, kids' rooms, even kitchens and baths," says Toto. It seems that latex paints have won over even the most finicky painters. "Though we still use oil-based paints for restor-ation work, latex paints are fine for interior walls and new trim," says Toto, "as long as you don't go cheap on the paint." All of our pros have their personal favorites, but they agree that good paint does not come cheap. "You'll spend $20 to $35 per gallon for a top-shelf paint," says Weeks. The pros also agreed that using two coats of paint will result in the best-looking job. Don't skimp on the coverage; if you're covering more than 400 square feet per gallon, you're spreading it too thin. Also, keep 1/4 to 1/2 gallon on hand for touch-ups.
Watering down the paint 50%? It will not cover. I am a contract painter and found that most people that I make a contract with immediately try to change the deal and get more than they are paying for. Sometimes, I let them cheat me as they may have other work that I wish to do but other times I put my foot down. I try to get the client to look at what I have done each and everyday if I am going from room to room. I cannot do this If I spray the entire project at once. Even when I have them inspect my work, they often just do not tell the truth and wish to scam me the contractor for more and more while paying the same as the original contract. Most people have not a clue how much work is involved in painting a house and just assume that the painter rolls out the work with no prep, sealing off the place to protect things that are not painted. All of my contracts state that if anything is in the way like babies, dogs, cars, plants and furniture that I cannot proceed and that it is their responsibility to move this stuff. I always seem to be turned into a furniture mover and never get paid to wrench my back. Fact is most people try to rob the contractor and this article tries to make it seem that the contractor is robbing the homeowners. My sister is a prime example of this as she always goes for the lowest bid yet expects a world class job. This means if you pay $500 for a two day paint job do not expect the contractor to live at your home for two weeks and make only $500.

Thanks, all, for your time & efforts adding to the article & comments, especially Dave urging requesting both General Liability AND Worker Compensation insurance certificates to protect from real & fraudulent liability--from my experience especially in California, where insurance fraud is a popular income thief, even causing car collisions to collect.


A thorough scrubbing is a must before painting any exterior surface. It removes the dirt and broken-down paint residues that keep fresh coats from adhering and gets rid of mildew that grows on paint in all but the most arid climates. Most contractors clean with pressure washers, but in the hands of someone unfamiliar with the equipment, these can gouge wood, shatter glass, and drive water behind siding and trim. Using a hose, a pump sprayer, and a scrub brush is slower but safer, and just as effective.
Deciding which paint to use has gotten much easier now that acrylic latexes have pushed oil-based paints almost to extinction. The acrylics offer superior performance (they don't harden with age, the way oils do, so they move and breathe without blistering), they don't mildew as readily, and they emit fewer VOCs, so they comply with new air-quality regulations. They also work over both oil- and water-based primers.

Home Painter Co

×