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Professional Tips and Tricks

In my 40 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.

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


There's been a myth perpetuated for decades that professional painters do not need to use masking tape. In fact, a recent article I read on the Internet stated authoritatively, "The reason people mask off baseboard is to give a straight edge when they are inexperienced at painting a straight line."

This is total malarky. After painting for 40 years, I can paint "a straight line" as well as anyone else. The truth is that the "straight line" the author describes is not really straight at all. If I were to place a piece of masking tape on that "straight" edge, I would see that it wanders considerably. I've spent many hours trying to mend supposedly straight lines created by "expert" painters who worked ahead of me without masking tape.

There are a several reasons why some painters refuse to use masking tape:
• Thrift (many painters just can't bring themselves to spend $5 on a roll of tape, just as an extra $10 for better paint irks them)
• Time (it takes time to mask trim—but in my experience, the resulting increased speed in painting completely negates any time spent applying tape)
• Professional pride (some painters think tape is for amateurs)
• Sheer laziness
• Inexperience in using tape (because they've never taken the time to learn the proper application of tape, their efforts with tape have been failures)

Anecdote: I spent all day yesterday correcting the wavy freehand brushwork of the "best painters in town" who had previously painted the house where I was working.

Copyright ©2011 by Nathan Harms
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