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Painting Tips: How to Paint Faster

A master painter shares tips and techniques from 30 years of residential painting work, covering everything from roller selection to taping to caulking and filling.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Meet the pro

Jay Gorton got his first painting lessons more than 30 years ago when he worked for his father-in-law painting houses in the Minneapolis area. Since then he’s perfected his trade and grown a business from a one-man operation to a team of more than 30 painters at times. Most of his work is in high-end new construction where he specializes in glass-smooth enamel finishes, faux-finished walls, and antiqued and distressed woodwork. It’s from his background in this high-quality production painting that Jay gathered the tips he’s showing us here.

Paint twice as fast with this extra-wide roller

Prep varnished wood carefully

Caulk every crack

Look for a shed/resistant, woven roller

Replace your roller with a pail

If you’re like most homeowners, you have a paint tray that you use to roll walls. And if you’ve done much painting, you’ve probably stepped in or spilled the tray at least once. Plus, as you know, trays are awkward to move around, especially when they’re fully loaded with paint. A paint pail solves these problems and more. Pails hold more paint than trays, and you’ll find them easy to move around and tough to step in! As an added bonus, if you use the plastic lining tip we show here, you can practically eliminate cleanup. You’ll find paint pails at home centers and paint stores.

Patch with glazing putty

A quicker way to mask windows

Unless you’re a really good painter, it’s quicker to mask window glass than to try to neatly cut in with a brush, especially if you use the masking method we show here. The three photos show the technique. If you’re going to spray-paint the window trim, cover the glass entirely by attaching a piece of paper under the first strip of masking tape. Precut the paper so it’s about 1-1/2 in. narrower and shorter than the glass size.

Keep a mini-roller and screen handy

Don't start in corners

Speedy, accurate masking

Drop-cloth substitute

Fast caulking

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

    • Caulk gun
    • Paint roller
    • Paint scraper
    • Paint tray
    • Putty knife
    • Rags
    • Roller tray
    • Roller sleeve
    • Paintbrush
    • Utility knife

You'll also need an extendable roller pole, a paint pail, an 18-in. roller and cover, a mini-roller and screen, and rubber gloves.

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

    • Masking or rosin paper
    • Masking tape
    • Caulk
    • Painter's plastic
    • Bondo glazing putty
    • Liquid sander/deglosser
    • Paint

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