Every painting job develops a unique choreography as ladders go up and come down and tarps are unrolled and folded up. But two basic principles remain: 1) Start at the top and work down. 2) Work in the shade, out of the sun’s glare. As the dance proceeds, keep an eye on the weather. Rain can wash freshly applied latex right off the wall, and a temperature dip below 50 degrees F two days after application can interfere with adhesion and curing and dull the sheen of glossy paints. (Latexes like Sherwin-Williams’s Duration and Benjamin Moore’s MoorGard Low Lustre are formulated to tolerate temps as low as 35 and 40 degrees, respectively.)
Do-it-yourselfers are best off using a brush for maximum control. You may end up with a better quality job, to boot. Says Kathleen George, "With a brush, I know that I've inspected every square inch of a house." Mini rollers speed application on clapboards and trim but should be followed immediately with a brush.
Whichever application method you end up using, the pros are universal in their insistence that two top coats are always better than one. Says O'Neil, "It's one of the real secrets of a long-lasting paint job."