Six Tips for Painting Delicate Areas

It’s a pretty common misconception that painting is a simple task that anyone can do, but without proper technique and patience, painting can prove to be more than tricky—especially when it comes to more delicate areas, such as trim, doors and other “finished pieces.”

If you’ve ever been one to think that just throwing some paint on your trim, or anywhere else for that matter, is going to give you a professionally-finished look, you’re bound to be sadly disappointed. So before you waste a gallon—or five—of paint, check out our top techniques for painting delicate spaces to make sure your next project turns out just the way you envisioned!

  1. Choose the right paint.

Thinking about choosing a cheap paint? You may want to reconsider. While cheaper paint may look like it covers well when wet, it’s a different story as it begins to dry. Cheaper paint typically contains cheaper and less resin than their quality counterparts, and because the resin holds everything together, the coverage and final product produced using cheap paint is often blotchy and not as smooth. Instead, opt for the premium paint from a tried-and-true brand that’s sure to deliver a durable and quality finish, saving you both time and money in the long run.

  1. Clean your work space.

Although this is a step is often skipped by DIY painters, it can have a significant effect on the outcome of your final product. Cleaning and prepping your work space is a crucial first step, especially if you are working in a space like the kitchen, where the walls, trim, and cabinets are likely coated with a layer of grease, oil or other food residue. Painting over dust, dirt or grime will not only leave your project looking textured, it will make it harder for the paint to effectively adhere to the surface, making it less resistant to damage in the future. Taking a little extra time on the front end to wipe down the walls or even just go with a gentle household cleaner or with warm water and vinegar will help to leave you with a more durable and professional-looking finished product.

  1. Select a good brush.

Much like the quality of your paint can make a big difference on your final product, the type of brush you use can also impact the coverage and quality of your paint job. We recommend choosing a brush with “flagged” bristles or, in other words, bristles that are split and arranged in many different lengths to create a sleek, slim tip. Brushes with synthetic fibers, such as nylon and polyester, are best for use with latex paints while natural bristle brushes work better with oil-based paint finishes. Additionally, we find a handle made of unfinished hardwood is much easier to grasp when your hands are wet or sweaty. For smaller areas like trim, you’ll want at least one 2 ¼-inch angled sash brush, and to cut in walls and ceilings, we recommend a 3-inch brush.

  1. Choose the right size tools.

You’re likely familiar with the 9-inch roller cages that most home-improvement centers and hardware stores carry, but that’s not the only size available, and working with the right-sized tools for the job can really help to make your projects easier and quicker. For painting door panels or wainscoting, look for a small foam roller that will give you more precise coverage. If you have a large area to cover, you may want to invest in a 14- or even 18-inch roller which will help to cover more area faster.

  1. Be careful with tape.

Painter’s tape can be a lifesaver when it comes to painting sharp lines and edges, but it’s important to keep in mind some general rules of thumb when using it. Also bear in mind that painter’s tape and masking tape are very different—there are a variety of painter’s tapes available on the market including tapes specifically designed for use on textured walls, delicate surfaces (such as those recently painted), etc. Make sure you purchase the tape that’s right for your project. If you can, try to paint up to the edge of the tape without crossing completely over it, this will help to ensure your project is left with a smooth, sharp edge. If you do cross over the top of the paint, try pulling the tape off while the paint is still wet or scoring the edge where the tape meets the paint once it’s completely dry to prevent the tape pulling paint up during the removal process.

  1. Focus on uniformity.

Pro painters not only focus on even coverage but also on uniformity of texture. When painting woodwork, make sure to align your brush with the grain, and avoid “fat edges” or large blobs of paint that may hang over the decorative edges of your doors and other trim work. Also pay attention to the level of pressure that you apply to the roller or paintbrush itself. It’s easy to leave a ridge in the paint by pressing heavier in some places than others.

Although there is more to painting than most people realize—especially when focusing on delicate finish work like trim, molding and other decorative pieces—using these tips and tricks can help you achieve a professional-looking finish on your next painting project.

For more information about the best painting tools and products for your next product, chat with one of our in-store paint specialists today!

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Doug Ashy

1 Comment

  1. Joy Butler on January 19, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    I agree that high quality paint brush can make all the difference when painting a delicate area. Using an old paint brush that has dried out paint on it could throw off your accuracy. If you are trying to paint an intricate design to style a room it could be a good decision to buy new paint brushes. If you have shaky hands I suggest that you hire a professional.

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