My 7 ninja painting tips will cut your basement painting time by 50% and save you a minimum of $106 dollars.
Tip #7 is so obvious, you will kick yourself.
Puuushaaa, you say. Jason doesn’t have any tips about painting, he’s an amateur basement finisher turned blogger.
Well… you better check yo ‘self before you wreck yo ‘self.
When I was 15 I got my first real job… at a paint store. I didn’t “paint” there but I did learn about every painting product that ever came on the market. And I talked with every professional painter in the tri-state area. So after three years, I knew a thing or two about painting.
I was so good at color matching, some old lady would walk in with a 2 inch piece of trim painted weirdo purple and I could mix her up a gallon of weirdo purple that was an exact match. Not braggin’, just sayin’.
Ninja Painting Tip #1
Learn how to cut in freehand -
Here’s the deal. I’m going to do a whole post on this topic in the not-to-distant future but you have to learn to “cut-in” free hand. Cutting-in is when you paint the very top part of the wall that the roller can’t get to. Stop wasting time and money on taping. Here’s the real quick run-down.
Buy a 3″ angled brush. Make sure your hold the brush with your hand close the bristles. Only put a small amount of paint on the end of the brush. Start below the line you want to paint and then work your brush up to it as you move your hand across the wall.
See… It needs a whole post and video. If you practice it, you can learn to do it in about a day.
Ninja Painting Tip #2
Use a lot of lighting -
Especially if you’re painting at night. Buy or borrow a set of those big spotlights and fire them up. ($40 at Amazon)
You want your target wall just swimming in light while you’re painting. The worst thing is to finish up a 4 hour painting session at 2am, only to wake up the next morning and see a bunch of un-even streaks.
Ninja Painting Tip #3
Use primer -
Let me repeat that a bit louder. USE PRIMER!!!
See, now you’re believing that I worked at a paint store. Because you know that’s what every paint guy has said whenever you ask. Then you go home and you don’t use primer anyway because you don’t think it makes a difference.
Trust me, it makes a huge difference in the quality of your finished room. Like people dropping their’s mouths open difference, when they see your sick paint job.
TIP: With new drywall in your basement – use a special “new drywall” primer. You can save some money by buying it in a 5 gallon bucket.
Ninja Painting Tip #4
Get high –
Yeah buddy! Smoke up before you paint.
I’m kidding. Holy cow, some of you just loved painting for a fleeting second. What I mean is, get level with your work. If you’re cutting in between the top of a wall and the ceiling (free-hand of course) make sure that you’re almost eye-level with the area you’re painting.
Find something that you can stand on and that can be easily moved around your basement. I used those heavy cage steel shelves with just a bottom shelf. It was more than strong enough to stand on and easy to pull along the wall.
Ninja Painting Tip #5
Forget about spray painting –
Unless you’ve already got the equipment and know how to use it, spray painting your basement is not worth the time or expense.
If you’re already rockin’ the Wagner, more power to you but I’ve tried a couple of models and it just wasn’t that great, especially once you’ve employed my ninja painting tips.
Ninja Painting Tip #6
Paint your trim before you install it -
At first I was just so freakin’ excited to install the baseboard and door trim, I didn’t bother painting it until after it was up. Huge pain the butt and the finished job wasn’t that sharp.
Now, I always put two coats of paint on my trim before I even start working with it. You’ll still have to touch up spots where you have a cut or a nail but it’s easy compared to the alternative.
TIP: If you have a weekend of basement finishing planned, try pre-painting your trim on Wednesday and Thursday nights, so it’s dry and ready to go for the weekend.
Use a 12 inch roller -
Are you kicking yourself?
A 12″ roller is especially helpful for painting a basement.
Why paint with a standard 9″ roller when you can get a 12″ and save tons of time. Remember, you’ll need a 12″ pan and a 12″ 1/2 inch nap roller cover. It’s a bit heavier to work with but not outrageous.
I used a 12″ roller for the first time when I was facing what seemed at the time like a daunting task of priming every square inch of my newly installed basement drywall, including priming all of the ceiling. If I recall it took about 1 weekend to prime the whole basement.
Oh wait, one more tip. Forget about special paint tray liners. Just stick your paint tray inside a trash bag. When you’re done, just take out the tray, turn the bag inside out and throw it away.
I have a few more jotted down here but we’re already pushing my blog post word limit so I’ll have to save those for another time. For more great painting tips check out Jack Pauhl’s website on painting, this guy is my painting hero. All hail Jack Pauhl, you own painting!
Make sure you stay dedicated to a high level of quality. This paint job is the book cover to your basement project story. Make it count.
Cheers – Jason
More Straight Ninja Stuff:
- Need some basement ideas?
- Need some basement stuff? Check out the store
- Do you buy power tools? Save up to 40% at CPO (my favorite – J)