Teaming Up

12. Halfway measures
If your budget is tight—and your painting skills are decent—ask a painting contractor if he would willing to talk about splitting the job with you. Brandt Domas, owner of Domas Fine Painting in Denver, Colorado, occasionally enters into such partnerships with homeowners. "We may go in and strip the trim, then people will do the paintingthemselves," he says. "Or we may go in and do the prep repairs, or the high areas. We don't always have to say 'It's all or nothing.'"

13. A little help, here?
Pros always work with "wet edges." Meaning they roll walls before the areas where they've cut in—or painted with a brush along the wall's perimeter edges—have dried. "It's best to have one person cutting in and another rolling walls right behind her to avoid 'banding' around the edges of a room," says painting contractor Jim Clark, who's worked on many This Old House TV projects. If you can't lean on a buddy to help and you're working alone, try to cut in only as much as you can roll while the paint remains wet.

Smooth Talk

14. Bust the fuzz
There's nothing more frustrating than seeing little squiggles of lint embedded in your freshly painted walls. To keep them at bay, wrap your hand in painter's tape—sticky side out—and pat down new roller covers to catch any stray fibers.

15. Glob patrol
Never dip the roller so far into the paint that the the roller arm gets wet—this is a recipe for drips. And at the start of each workday, strain your paint into a clean bucket, even if you've sealed the lid tightly overnight. "If you skip this step, you end up with coagulated pieces of paint—we call them boogers or snots—on the walls," says Mark Casale of Hingham Painting and Decorating in Massachusetts. And nobody wants that.

16. Give walls the once-over
To trap sanding dust on trim, you probably already know to run tack cloth—essentially, cheesecloth embedded with sticky resin—over it. But it's also a good idea on walls. "I wrap tack cloth over the head of my pole sander and run it over the wall surfaces to pick up the dust," says John Dee, a painting and decorating contractor based in Concord, Massachusetts. Most hardware and paint stores carry tack cloth, but if you don't have one, use a Swiffer or a microfiber dusting cloth instead. It's not a bad idea to vacuum walls with a soft brush attachment, as well. Just be sure the vacuum has a HEPA filter to keep the dust from recirculating back into the room—and back onto your walls.

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