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in what order do I paint?

We recently bought a 1963 fixer upper that needs EVERYTHING done from floor to ceiling, literally. Our prior home, where I had lived 28 years, was new construction, so didn't have to "fix" prior owner's mistakes. I know you paint ceiling first and work your way down, but have never had to caulk and don't know exactly what to do:

1) should I take off old caulking from woodwork, or just caulk over it? (tried to take it off, but it is very rubbery and ended up cutting the woodwork or wall with my knife)
2) do I caulk BEFORE I paint anything or after the walls/before I paint the woodwork?

know these probably seem like dumb questions to those of you who have done all of this , but I am kinda stranded, and I have a whole house to paint so want to make sure its right! Thanks!!!

Re: in what order do I paint?

Prepping your walls right is important to a good paint job. Small holes can be filled with wall spackling. I use caulk along strips of millwork or cupboards where there is a gap between the wall and whatever. For example, a gap between the baseboard and the wall (caused usually by a slight bowing of the wall) is a good place to caulk.

Run a bead of caulk along the gap and go over it with a wet finger and have a damp sponge handy if the caulk gets out of hand. It is really very easy because the clean up is easy, so even if you make a mistake, just wipe up and start over. Use painter’s caulk. Do not use silicone caulk. Caulking often has to be redone every few years and the silicone is very difficult to remove.

Do remove old caulk. New caulk won’t properly stick to the old. You may have to use a razor blade to remove old caulk, especially if it is silicone.

If you have a large hole to fill, use drywall mud and a putty knife. It is not that hard and they also sell patch kits to patch a large hole.

Make sure your walls are clean. Vacuum the dust and cobwebs and wipe off any greasy areas. On the walls that you stripped the wallpaper, be sure to paint with a primer before painting your top coat.

I am not a professional, so you may get more tips. Many people do the trim work first and then the walls – I do which ever is in most desperate need first.

Do all prep work before painting. Painting is last.

Re: in what order do I paint?

Yes, Prep work takes the majority of the time and is the key to a good paint job.

1- After the walls are as smooth as possible, sanded caulked, filled, you are ready for priming.
2- Primer with a quality primer such as Zinsser BIN or Kilz 1 or 2.
3- Cut in the trim first with a 2-4" overlap onto the walls. Cut in the ceiling and walls with the same overlap.
4- Roller the flat areas - DO NOT make the W as shown on many TV shows. That method will leave behind roller marks which will be seen when the sun shines. DO load the roller with paint, then starting in a corner, about 1/3 up from the floor, go all the way up, then down, then up, then down ALL IN ONE vertical roller width (or as close as you can get) The idea being that you are using the roller to 'massage' the paint onto the wall.
5- Re-load (wet) the roller and with a slight overlap, paint the next roller width floor to ceiling. With this method you will keep a 'wet edge' of fresh paint moving along evenly as you paint. The paint will dry more evenly. Like this guy does


If you find the roller is leaving paint ridges on one side, flip the roller over and paint that way as its common for the painter to press harder on the handle side of the roller than the non handle side, which creates the paint ridges on the handle side. By leading with the handle side to the not-yet-painted area, the non handle side (with the less pressure) will smooth out and blend in the newer paint with the paint from the last vertical pass.

If you cannot paint one whole wall surface in one go, then don't paint it. The stopping point will be noticeable with sun glare.

We find it easier to paint the ceiling first as we normally get some ceiling paint on the walls. That paint gets painted over with the wall paint. Its also easier to cut in the walls after the ceiling is painted.

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