So you just refinished a room in your home. You have brand new drywall and the professional spacklers just put the polish coat on. If the job was done properly the end process would have entailed using a wet sponge and thin spackle to fill or remove any defects. If your spacklers have sanded the surface without the use of a Hepa vacuum system, they will have left you a huge cleanup job with dust that will find its way into every part of your home, but that is another topic for the future.
So it’s time to look more closely at your spackle job. When spackle is dry it will have no sheen and the duller the surface the less ability we have to see defects without the help of light. Many times I have walked onto jobs and was told the walls were “paint ready”. Upon closer scrutiny I usually discover that the corners on walls and ceiling have grooves, scratches or small waves that are visible and this is without a light. But my eyes have been trained to look for these defects. The best way to see these imperfections is by using a bright light held next to the surface. This may sound over the top, but when you realize that properly applied paint will not hide these flaws and will result in the need for more prep work and more priming after the fact, plus you paid for a service and it should be done properly. Most painters will only sand some obvious spots and paint over the existing surface. So it is best to fix these issues prior to painting.
Next process is priming the walls. The purpose of priming is to create a uniform surface for the finish coat. Painting over bare drywall with spackle is more difficult than painting over a previously painted area because of how porous the surface is. Today many paints are self-priming and claim two coats is all that is needed. I prefer to use a high quality acrylic primer for my first coat, especially if you are planning to finish with an eggshell or semi-gloss finish. Most high quality paints are ready to use directly from the can, however if primer doesn’t seem to spread well, you may want to thin the paint slightly. (do not thin more than the recommended amount for spraying). First step is to use your brush to cut in the corners. The first coat is very important in its ability to bond well and to create a uniform surface. As you begin brushing you will notice that the paint on your brush will be absorbed very quickly because of how porous the spackle is, therefore it will dry quickly. When brushing your corners in (Note use a high quality synthetic brush usually 2”- 3” in width) it is very important to not over brush, usually 2 or 3 passes with moderate pressure. You should try to work quickly with a fully loaded brush. (See paint application with a brush) If you find that the paint is lifting off of the surface, stop, gently feather (light pressure) and move on. If you continue to over brush the paint, the existing paint will start to lift and create an uneven and rough surface. There are some tricks you can use such as a using a separate damp brush to gently brush out the surface. But it’s best to just leave that area alone until completely dry (usually 5- 10 minutes) and come back to it later. Brush into all corners and trim, cut around all fixed appliances or cabinets, outlets, and light switches being careful to prevent drips or runs. Allow all your brush work to dry before using your roller. This will prevent any lifting of the paint you brushed on.
Once all your brush work is done, then use a high quality small nap roller no more than 3/8” nap. Overlap all your brush strokes, keep even pressure, and avoid rolling into ceiling, sides of trim, and other walls. Avoid over rolling the area or else you will begin to lift partially dried paint from the surface. Once the paint has completely dried 2-4 hours you can correct any defects. Use a paste spackle, allow to dry and spot prime with a mini roller and or a brush for corners. Most painters learn to adjust their painting methods when encountering new work as opposed to a repaint. If you have never painted before, don’t be afraid go for it and remember any mistakes can be corrected with a little spackle and spot priming.