Do-It-Yourself Painting Tips & Tricks

Interior & Exterior Surface

Wash: Surface dirt can make it difficult for the paint to adhere. Use TSP to wash all surfaces, including doors and windows. Be sure to rinse well and not leave any residue from the detergent. For best results, walls should be completely dry before painting.

Scrape: If the paint has peeled and bubbled, it will need to be removed with a wire brush or scraper and the area sanded lightly. Ensure the surface is dry and clean before painting. A wire brush is for exterior use ONLY. *Spot priming may be needed.

Protect: Cover up flooring, decking, paving and furniture with canvas drop sheets.

Tape: Use painter’s tape to protect trim edges, permanent wall fixtures and ceiling/wall meeting points. Make sure the surface is clean and dry before applying the tape. Use a low-tack painter’s tape and wait at least 24 hours before applying the tape to fresh latex paint. Doing so prevents paint from coming off when the tape is removed later.

TIP: You can also use ECO TSP – This does not need to be rinsed off!


Priming is an important first step to take before applying your paint. Primers help hide surface imperfections and create a smooth, uniform surface to accept the topcoat.

Surfaces that are unpainted or previously painted, but are stained or damaged should be primed with one of Benjamin Moore’s Premium Primers. If you are repainting a surface that is clean and in good condition, you may not need to prime. If you are not sure – call us or come on in and tell us about your project and we can let you know.

TIP: Wait until the paint is dry before removing the tape, usually one to two hours. For additional information, follow the tapes manufacturer’s recommendations. Run a knife on the edge after the paint is dry to separate the dried paint from the tape. That will ensure nice crisp lines.


  • Screwdriver (to remove the outlet and switch covers)
  • Painters Tape
  • Paint Scraper or putty knife: to remove cracked or peeling paint and apply caulking compound to cracks, nail holes and other surface depressions.
  • Steel wool or a wire brush: to remove grime and old paint stains or stains from raw wood.
  • Sand paper: to smooth out imperfections
  • Tack cloth or damp cloth: to clean surfaces after they have been sanded

TIP: There are some paint and primers available but this “primer” will not be specific to all projects. Sometimes you will still need to prime: raw wood, metals etc.

Additional Equipment:
  • Extension pole – use with a roller frame to reduce the need for a ladder
  • Drop cloths – protect the floor and other surfaces when you paint
  • Painters tape – protect edges from unwanted paint
  • Spinner – this is a stress free way to clean your roller and brushes! It saves a lot of time on large projects.

Painting Tools
  • Paint brushes
  • Paint rollers
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Drop cloths and tarps
  • Cleaning cloths
  • Caulking gun, putty knife
  • Steel wool or wire brush
  • Painter’s tape
  • Screwdriver
  • Sandpaper
  • 2-quart paint tray
  • Plastic paint tray liner
  • Paint can opener
  • Paint stirring sticks
  • 9” roller frame
  • Paint Shields (to protect your plugs and switches from getting paint on them)
  • Paint cup for cutting in
  • 12” extension pole (reduce fatigue & shoulder or back pain)
  • Mineral spirits/solvents (for Alkyd/Oil paint)
  • Tack cloth (for Alkyd/Oil paint)


Using a brush:

Dip the top one third of the bristles into the paint and pat the brush from side to side of the container. Do not wipe the brush on the side of the pale to remove excess paint – this actually pushes the paint up and into the brush, when of course it is more ideal to keep the paint more accessible on the tip. It also ruins the brush. When you pat it back and forth in either a plastic container or my personal favourite: a Handy Paint Pail, you are keeping the paint on the tip of the brush.

Using a roller:

If it is your first time using the roller, allow the roller to sit in the tray for 5-10 minutes. This will allow the roller to absorb the paint better. Dip the roller into the paint and then roll it back and forth across the ridges at the top of the paint tray. This will remove excess paint and ensure that the roller is coated evenly.

For best results, use each freshly coated roller to cover a 2’ x 8’ area. Slowly roll the paint onto the surface in an up and down fashion (not using W or zigzags). Once you have painted approx. 2-3 feet floor to ceiling, it is recommended you back roll:

Take you ‘dry’ roller (don’t reload) & gently go over the freshly painted area – always ending either on a down stroke or an up stroke. Whatever is more comfortable for you but keep it consistent otherwise the nap of the roller will leave a different texture.

Use a 12” extension pole when rolling ceilings. To reduce fatigue and avoid straining your neck and back, extend your arms in a motion that works back and forth across your body rather than in the direction you are facing. Paint across the width of the ceiling first THEN lengthwise on the second coat.

Applying the Paint:

The sequence in which you paint your room can help you work more efficiently. If you are painting the entire room, start with the ceiling and then paint the walls.

Step 1: Cutting In

Beginning at one corner of the ceiling, use a two-inch brush to “cut in,” applying a three-inch strip of coating along the perimeter where the ceiling and the wall/molding meet.

Cut in everything first, then roll.

TIP: If you have to take a break, wrap your brushes and rollers in plastic bags to keep the paint from drying out. Never stop painting in the middle of the wall.

Step 2: Rolling the ceiling

Attach the extension pole to your roller and start painting near the corner of the room. Blend the coating into the “cut in” line you just completed. Paint across the width of the ceiling first the lengthwise on the second coat.

Step 3: Paint the walls

Once again, use a trim brush to carefully cut in along the wall-ceiling/moulding line and also the top of baseboards. If you are not comfortable cutting in freehand, allow your ceiling to dry 24 hours and cover edges with low-tack painter’s tape. (A great one to use is the yellow Frog Tape)

NOTE: Use only on ceilings that are not textured.

When you are painting with a partner, one should cut, while the other one rolls the paint.

Clean Up

Once you’ve completed your painting project, you’ll need to clean up, store any extra paint for touch-up work and dispose of any leftover paint.

Benjamin Moore Waterborne Paints:

To clean your brush and rollers, simply wash them in soapy water, rinse thoroughly, use a brush comb and let dry. Once dry, store your brushes by wrapping them in heavy paper or the bush sleeve from the original packaging.

Proper disposal of latex paints:

Please recycle your containers. Here at Benjamin Moore: Tri-City Paint & Design, we take our containers to one of two places:

Return unused paint in the original can to… Bigger Bottle Depot on Kingsway in Port Coquitlam, Return empty paint cans containing no wet paint to… Happy Stan’s Recycling Scrap Metal Bin.

TIP: Pour leftover paint into a smaller container and seal tightly. Be sure to store cans upside down. This will prevent air from drying out the paint.

Create Your Masterpiece

Check out our blog. Here you can find tips on where to start your project.

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Tri-City Paint & Design

Winter Hours effective Dec 19 to Feb 29

Monday- Friday: 8am to 4pm
Saturday: 9am to 4pm
Sundays: Closed

Holiday Hours

December 24th: 9 am to 1 pm
December 25th – 26th: Closed
December 31st: 9 am to 2 pm
January 1st: Closed