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Professional Tips and Tricks

In my 45 years as a house painter and contractor, I've gathered many tips and practices that are now part of my every day routine. Some of these tips simply make my work faster or more efficient. Other tips help produce higher quality results.

I'm certain that homeowners painting their own dwellings will benefit from these suggestions. Less-experienced contractors may also find my suggestions helpful, so over the coming days and weeks I hope to provide this information freely via my Twitter feed.

Why am I sharing this hard-earned experience? It's my belief that generosity of knowledge and practice brings benefits to the giver and the recipient. I hope you'll call on me the next time you require a professional house painter.

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You can access previous tips and keep up-to-date by "following" me on Twitter.


Whether you are a homeowner or a contractor, the first step in painting is always to lay down a paint resistant tarp or floor covering in a safe area. This is where you'll set all your paint and equipment when you're not actually using it. I call this area my "shop." Never set down any tools, equipment or paint cans on any surface other than your shop or another paint resistant tarp.

* I use a 5 x 5 cloth tarp with a vinyl backing, which I fold double. Nothing is going to leak to the floor through this tarp.
* Sometimes paint stores leave a bit of wet paint or tint on the bottom of the paint can. If you set it down on the floor or carpet, you may leave a stain that's impossible to remove... or can be tracked all over the house. It only takes a few seconds to avoid this issue. Set your paint cans down only in your "shop."
* If there's not enough room for your shop in the room where you're working, set up your shop in another area of the house.
* Set up your shop where you won't have to walk around it all the time, or step over it. Tripping over an open can of paint is a disaster you can avoid.


A contractor carried all his supplies into a home and set them on the carpet in the front room. Neither the floor nor the furniture were covered. As he proceeded to prepare for his first day of painting, he opened a can of paint and removed the lid. He then began to prepare a roller, but it slipped from his hands and landed in the open bucket of paint, splashing green paint onto the white carpet and two white sofas. The cost for his carelessness was more than $5,000, as both couches needed to be reupholstered, and the carpet had to be replaced.

Copyright ©2011 by Nathan Harms
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