Paint tips from the pros at Consumer Reports

Painting straight lines, covering dark colors, and working with special paint textures and finishes are the most anxiety-producing paint jobs for first time homebuyers, according to a survey by the Paint Quality Institute. As anxieties go, these are simple to overcome. Here’s what the paint pros at Consumer Reports recommend.  

Anxiety: Painting straight lines
Use a good quality painter’s tape. It takes time to apply but the results make it worth it. We tested six and compared them to masking tape. FrogTape’s Delicate Surface tape, $6 to $9, was the clear winner. It left a very sharp line, was easy to remove, and didn’t damage any surface no matter how long the paint had dried or the tape was left on. But it’s best to remove any tape as soon and as carefully as possible after applying paint. If taping isn’t for you, then use a sash brush with a tapered tip. The bristles are cut at a diagonal and trimmed to create a narrow tip that gives you better control of the brush and paint application.

Anxiety: Covering dark colors
Use an interior paint that is self-priming and scored very good or better in our hiding tests, such as Ace Hardware's Clark +Kensington Satin Enamel, $32 a gallon, Lowe's Valspar Signature Matte, $32, and Home Depot's Behr Premium Plus Ultra Semi-Gloss Enamel, $34. And don’t spread the paint too thin. “When you load your paint roller it should only cover an area that’s 2 feet by 2 feet,” Rico DePaz, who runs Consumer Reports paint tests, said.

Anxiety: Working with special textures and finishes
Buy practice boards from the paint aisle of your hardware store or home center and practice the technique until you like the look. Feeling confident? Now paint your walls.

Before choosing your interior paints, take a look at our Ratings of dozens of paints. You’ll see a range in price and performance. We’ll tell you which ones were easy to apply, great at hiding, durable, washable, and better for the environment. Then search manufacturer and retailer websites and Facebook pages for tips on choosing colors and deals such as free samples, moving discounts, and possible rebates if you don’t love the color you’ve painted.

—Kimberly Janeway

Consumer Reports has no relationship with any advertisers or sponsors on this website. Copyright © 2007-2013 Consumers Union of U.S.

View Comments