10 Brilliant Hacks for Your Best-Ever Paint Finish

Get pro-quality results on your next paint job with these expert tips and tools that promise ease of application, consistent color and texture, and crisp, clean edges.

This content has been brought to you by Hyde Tools. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.

  1. Equip yourself with these pro tools and tips.

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    Equip yourself with these pro tools and tips.

    We’ve all been there: You’re about to start a painting project and you’ve promised yourself that this time it’s going to be different—this time it’s going to look like you paid a pro. No more uneven texture, messy edges, dull patches, or drippy globs. To help you keep that vow, the folks at Hyde Tools, maker of top-quality painting tools for the trade, have culled 10 secret tips and tricks that master painters use to achieve flawless results every time. Study up, and you’re sure to get the clean, consistent, wow-worthy results your home deserves.

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  2. For color consistency, blend, baby, blend.

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    For color consistency, blend, baby, blend.

    It’s all too common to wind up with walls marred by color discrepancies, a pesky problem that can occur even when the color has been customized for you at the store. Pros know that only proper blending can keep color true—and that’s the reason so many rely on Hyde Tools’ Stir Whip All-Purpose Mixer (available from HydeStore.com; $8.79). This unique tool boasts flexible “fingers” that reach into the corners of containers and give maximum lift from the bottom for complete mixing. Plus, the fingers flex to fit through a five-gallon pour spout—no need to take off the bucket’s lid and risk paint splashing out while you blend.

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  3. De-fuzz fresh roller covers.

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    De-fuzz fresh roller covers.

    You’re starting out with brand-new roller covers to ensure a smooth finish. Good start, but even brand-new nap rollers are bound to have traces of dust and lint that you’ll inadvertently apply along with the paint. The pros’ preventive strike for those squiggly imperfections left behind by applicators? Wrap your hand with tape, sticky side out, and pat the roller cover all over to remove errant fibers.

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  4. Stay fleck-free by straining.

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    Stay fleck-free by straining.

    When you’re done working for the day, you always seal your paint can tightly. But sometimes that alone isn’t enough. Unfortunately, paint can dry and coagulate on the inside of the lid and sides of the can. Should those “boogers” (as the pros call ’em) get into the paint, they’ll leave unsightly flecks the next time you use the paint. The solution is simple: Pour the paint through a fine strainer into a clean container before you use it again. Don’t have one handy? Cut the leg off a ladies’ stocking, stretch it around the rim of your clean can, and strain the paint through that.

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  5. Break in your brush.

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    Break in your brush.

    If you’ve used a crummy paintbrush in the past and wound up with less-than-stellar results, it’s time for an upgrade to Richard Tools’ Fat Boy paintbrush (available from HydeStore.com; $16.18). It boasts 25 percent more bristles than the average brush as well as microfilament technology that makes the bristles virtually dripless.

    But, whatever brush you choose, old or new, know that if it’s dry it will paint poorly. Be sure to break yours in with water before you start. Immerse the brush in cold water, working it into the bristles with your hands, then spin the handle between your palms to remove excess water until the brush is damp, not wet. Remember to use cold to tepid water; hot water can take all the “bounce” out of a brush.

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  6. Tap, don’t wipe, to load your brush right.

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    Tap, don’t wipe, to load your brush right.

    Most do-it-yourselfers will dip the entire brush into the container, then wipe both sides to remove excess paint—an amateur move that sends too much paint back in the can and leads to dry brushstrokes on the wall. The better technique is to first fill your container with only about two inches of paint, never more than will reach halfway up your brush. Then, dunk the brush, lift it out, and tap it back and forth inside the can several times—you’ll have just the right amount of paint for smooth application.

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  7. Avoid dull spots.

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    Avoid dull spots.

    Even when wall color is uniform, your end result can have an inconsistent sheen where you’ve previously patched holes or cracks. Unfortunately, the porous nature of the standard spackle absorbs more paint than the surrounding surface and creates dull blotches. Start repairing these holes and divots with the Better Finish Nail Hole Filler, however, and you’ll no longer see the ghosts of old gallery walls (available at HydeStore.com; $4.99)! This unique package of drywall joint compound won’t dry out and shrink in the same way that other fillers do—it even sands smoother to blur the edges of the blemish. Once dry, don’t forget to prime before you paint: Priming not only gives a consistent texture to the surface but also seals patched areas to ensure that paint won’t sink in.

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  8. Take on trim first.

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    Take on trim first.

    It may seem counterintuitive to a DIYer, but pros know to paint trim first. As a matter of efficiency, it’s faster and easier to tape off trim than it is to tape off walls. Plus, here’s one instance where neatness doesn’t count: You don’t need to worry about accidentally getting your white trim paint on the walls because you’ll paint over them next.

    Be sure to complete the trim (at least two coats, perhaps sanding in between) and let it dry fully before moving on. That way you can tape it off and get that crisp, clean edge you want when you do the walls. Or, shave even more time off the job without sacrificing clean lines by using a 15-inch Paint Shield from Hyde Tools to guide your strokes (available at HydeStore.com; $2.04).

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  9. Lose ugly lap marks.

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    Lose ugly lap marks.

    Nothing mars a paint job like the willy-nilly stripes known as lap marks. To avoid these eyesores, maintain a wet edge as you paint, making sure that each pass of your roller overlaps the previous pass while the paint’s still wet. While this sounds simple, in a warm, dry environment paint can start stiffening in less than a minute!

    Another trick: Face the open side of the roller frame toward the area that’s already painted. Less pressure is exerted on the open side of the roller, and less pressure means fewer ridges.

    istockphoto.com

  10. Get in there with a goose neck.

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    Get in there with a goose neck.

    Flat expanses within easy reach are a piece of cake, but tight and angled corners—especially when cutting in on ceilings and other overhead areas—are a challenge for pros and DIYers alike. That’s where the Goose Neck Brush from Richard Tools comes in (available from HydeStore.com; $22.12). Though the same length as a standard paintbrush, it’s lighter and easier to use, and its flexible handle and angled filaments go anywhere, ensuring no missed coverage. The Goose Neck even fits snugly on any extension pole to really help you reach the unreachable.

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  11. Cut loose for clean lines.

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    Cut loose for clean lines.

    You already know to use painter’s tape to achieve neat lines and protect trim. But did you know that how you take it off is as important as how you put it on? Paint forms a bond between the wall and the tape, so jerking off tape can tear dried paint. Instead, let the paint dry for an hour or so, and then gently and evenly run the 30-degree angled blade of Hyde Tools’ 9mm Snap-Off Knife along the edge of the tape (available from HydeStore.com; $3.98). Keep the pressure light—the goal is to lift off the tape carefully to free it, not cut the paint.

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