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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.


No matter how carefully you look for surface defects that need repair, you probably won't see them all until after you've applied the first coat of paint to the surface. Many times a flawed/soiled/old surface will disguise walls and trim that are in poor condition.

I find the best procedure is to patch all visible defects—no matter how small—before I begin, sand them smooth, "spot prime*" them, and then apply a good coat of paint to the entire surface. After the paint is thoroughly dry, inspect the surface for additional damage. You can also check on the patching you've already done to assure that it's acceptable.

Always "spot prime*" new patches at least once before painting. I usually make sure that every patch has been coated at least twice before I apply the final coat of paint.

* Spot Priming: This is a term professionals use for the procedure of applying paint only to the patches (spots) on a painted surface. Because a previously painted surface is already sealed—and new patches are not sealed—applying a coat of paint (or 2) to the new patches helps them blend better with the surface when you are applying finish coats. You can spot prime with a brush or roller, but be sure to feather (or blend) the edges of your spot priming with the existing surface or you'll have a new problem.

Copyright ©2011 by Nathan Harms
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