If you are thinking about doing some interior painting in your Northern Virginia home this winter, we highly recommend you spend the time to plan the project out to get the results you want. Interior painting requires more than just buying the paint, a couple of brushes, a tray and a ladder and having at it. Generally speaking, a one day amateur paint job will look like a one day amateur paint job.

But with some planning, and a willingness to invest the time getting ready to paint, you can achieve results that are impressive and will last a long time.

All American Painting Plus, Reston’s leading painting business, has been providing professional residential and commercial painting services to all of Northern Virginia for over a decade. We’d like to share some of our observations with the passionate do-it-yourselfer painter who wants to seriously tackle an interior painting project.

Are You Ready? Tips for a Professional-Looking Paint Job

Depending on its condition, you may spend more time prepping the space you want to paint than actually painting it. Prepping the surface makes all the difference in the final results. Just painting over old paint will not guarantee a professional finish (more on that in a minute). The condition of the space will also determine what tools you need to get the job done.


The first tip is having the tools you need ready and available. Those tools could include: a respirator, denatured alcohol, oil based primer or sealer, rags, joint compound, spackle, putty knife, fabric tape, sandpaper, floor fan, drop cloths, ladder, brushes and rollers, painting tray, and enough paint in the colors you want to do the entire job.

Inspect and Repair

Inspect and repair the surface you intend to paint. You’ll want to use the spackle and fabric tape to repair gouges, holes, scrapes, and other defects in the surface. Use the floor fan to help dry the spackle and then sand it. Take a rag with denatured alcohol on it and wipe a spot on the current paint. If some comes off then it is latex based, if nothing comes off it is oil based. You can’t use a latex based paint on top of an oil base paint unless you first use an oil based primer/sealer. If there are a lot of “shiny” spots, you’ll need to sand them off. Those spots are most likely from grease and new paint will not adhere to grease.

When you are done sanding and prepping the surface, protect the space from drips and splashes by placing painter’s tape along the baseboards.

Paint the walls and ceiling first.

A little paint overlap on baseboards and molding can be taken care of later when you paint those features. When doing the walls, keep in mind that the most common places “light spots” appear are directly above baseboards and directly below moldings. When you have the walls and ceiling done, tackle the baseboards, molding, and other trim.

Inspect Afterwards

Consider this your “walk through” inspection, looking for light spots and mistakes. Make the corrections immediately. Touching up paint is much less noticeable when the paint has not completely dried.

Contact Us

Your other option is to skip all of the above and give us a call today. Our talented interior house painters can quickly and cleanly transform your vision of the space into reality.

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