If you have ever painted a room before, then you know the kind of hassle that could be staring at you from your next project. And if you haven’t, just ask anyone who provides house painting services. There will always be a level of mess involved in any painting project, whether it’s on a canvas or a wall; but how do you keep that mess from becoming a permanent stain? Here are a few house painting tips.

The first thing you will want to do as you are preparing to paint a room is to take everything off the walls – this includes any furniture that is against them. If you don’t have another room to put everything in, then put it all in the center of the room, as close together as possible. You are going to cover this pile with plastic and if you are painting the ceiling, you want to be able to use as few sheets of plastic as possible or overlap them in such a way that paint cannot seep through the seams. You will also want to cover the rest of your floor – at least the base of one wall at a time, if you are not painting your ceiling – because no matter how careful you are about not overloading your paint roller or brush, you will still be likely to drip somewhere. You can find drop cloths and rolls of plastic sheeting at your nearby home improvement store and some will even carry coveralls to wear over your clothes. For those of you who have hired painting contractors in the past, you may notice that not everyone uses coveralls – and if you have a set of clothes you don’t care for, you might as well wear those – but booties or socks are always a good idea. If you walk through a drip of paint, you can avoid tracking it through your home by wearing something over your feet that is easily removed. Remember that house paint is not made to be washable and that once it is on your clothing, it is likely to remain there.

So once you have gotten all your furniture and decorations out of the way, the next step is to figure out what else is not getting painted – or at least not in the color you are currently using. Any windows or molding that you don’t want painted is going to need to be protected. For the window, you can tape some of that plastic sheeting over it or just be very careful you’re your splash zone. You might as well tape some up, however, because you will also be taping the edges of your painting area, including the edges and/or surface of any molding you have installed. You would be able to use duct tape because of the residue it leaves and it is also hard to take off. Regular clear tape will be hard to see and you will end up leaving pieces behind. Instead, use painter’s tape – it comes off of your walls and windows easily and usually without leaving any residue, and it is also easy to find under a layer of paint due to its rough surface. Painter’s tape won’t add much to your painting costs, either, and it’s always a good idea to have too much than too little. In fact, if you have children, you will find it is a wonderful tape to use with arts and crafts since it is easy to tear off a piece and comes off just about any surface your child decides to display their art on.

Painter’s tape can also be used when you are creating stripes or lines on your wall. Because it comes off so easily, the trick is to tape the line in as few pieces as possible per wall. If you are going horizontally along the wall, I recommend trying your best to use 1-2 strips per wall, depending upon how long the walls are. When taping molding or windowsills, tape as close to the wall as you can; but try not to tape the wall itself so that you get a nice, crisp line on your first try. Also, remember that most paints recommend 2-3 coats before you are finished, not including the primer you may have to apply beforehand; so don’t try to take the tape off until you are done – if you don’t tape it the same way twice, you will have a line that seems to be a slightly different shade of the color you just painted. The best way to ensure that your unpainted surfaces remain clean, is to get everything covered and/or taped before you begin painting; and don’t remove that plastic or the tape until the project is done and dry.

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