Painting Checklist

Interior Painting Tips

Are you a DIYer looking to simplify prep for your next painting project? Regardless of what you're planning to paint, here are some easy steps you can follow to ensure a successful result.


Reference the checklist below and in less than a week (or a couple of days, depending on your project), you'll be set up for painting success!


Step One

Complete any planning or measurement work on your space, such as choosing colors, using a paint calculator to determine the amount of paint needed, and preparing your supply list.


Important items for your supply list include:




Stir sticks

Paint rollers

Roller covers 

Small paint brushes, for cutting in or touch-ups

Paint trays, and if needed a sturdy holder for your paint tray

Painters tape


Drop cloths

Depending on the project and surface:


Tack cloth to remove any sanding dust

Painters putty

Putty knife



Step Two

Purchase all paint and supplies. Ask your paint store representative for insights about your project to be sure you aren't forgetting any supplies.


Step Three

Complete all prep work (taping, sanding, spackling, moving furniture, placing drop cloths). If painting over a bright color, apply a first coat of primer as well.


If you have applied any painters putty, sand down the surface and remove any dust with a tack cloth.



Step Four

Apply the first coat of paint to all surfaces. Some additional coats may be required, depending on your painting project.


If painting a piece of décor or furniture, you can apply the second coat of paint once your first coat has dried to the touch. If painting a wall, you may wish to wait 12 hours after your first coat has been painted to apply the second coat.


Step Five

Apply your second coat of paint (or third, depending on the project). Complete any touch-ups or detail work.


Step Six

Enjoy your painting handiwork!

Using good painting techniques is key to achieving professional-looking results. Another tip is to use enough paint. Get into the habit of going to the paint can often. Let the paint do the work, and you'll save time and get the finish you want.



Using a Brush

Hold a brush near the base of the handle.


Dip half the bristles into the paint and tap on the lip of the can. Don't wipe it on the side.


Paint with enough pressure to bend the bristles slightly — don't bear hard on the brush.


A 1"-2" brush offers good control so it is well-suited for detail work such as cutting in around windows or painting molding. To apply paint to larger surfaces such as doors, use a 3"-4" brush.



Using a Roller

Roll the roller slowly into the paint in the tray. Then, roll it back and forth until roller cover is evenly coated with paint.


Roll onto the tray's ridges to remove excess paint.


For smooth surfaces: Cover about a two-foot-square using the N pattern shown. Cross roll to spread the paint. Finish, with light roller strokes in one direction, at a right angle to the cross roll.


If the surface you are painting is porous or textured, use a heavy-nap roller cover (1/2" or more). Use a 1/4" nap to maximize sheen on a smoother surface

Exterior Painting Tips


Before you paint your entire house, it's a good idea to test the paint you plan to use. Prepare, prime (if necessary) and paint an inconspicuous spot. Wait the appropriate drying time as specified on the label, then look for any adhesion or compatibility problems before proceeding with a full-scale application.


Use a paint scraper, wire brush, sandpaper or power washer to remove all surface contamination, such as oil, grease, loose paint, dirt, foreign matter, rust, mold, mildew or mortar efflorescence. Make sure that cracks and imperfections are patched or caulked.


Warning! Removal of old paint by sanding, scraping or other means may generate dust or fumes that contain lead. Exposure to lead dust or fumes may cause brain damage or other adverse health effects, especially in children or pregnant women. Controlling exposure to lead or other hazardous substances requires the use of proper protective equipment, such as a properly fitted respirator (NIOSH approved) and proper containment and cleanup. For more information, call the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD (in U.S.) or contact your local health authority.


Don't paint immediately after rain (or if rain is predicted), during foggy weather or when the temperature is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (unless you're using products specifically designed for these conditions).


In addition to friendly expert advice, you can find the right brushes, rollers, ladders, sprayers, caulk and more at your neighborhood Sherwin-Williams store.

It may seem obvious, but when you're painting outside, you want to start at the top and work down. Even the best painters using the best paints have drips, splatter and occasional spills.


Make sure you try to follow the painting order below.


Ceilings (under eaves, porch and overhang ceilings)


Paint a 2-inch wide strip on the ceiling where it meets the wall.


Work across the short side to maintain a wet edge.




Use a roller or brush (depending on the surface).


Start at the top of the wall and work horizontally on horizontal siding and vertically on vertical siding. 




Paint all molding, shutters, windows and doors.


Floor (porches and decks)


Start in a corner diagonally opposite the exit.


Paint a 2-inch wide strip on the floor where it meets the wall.


Start in a corner and work across the short side to maintain a wet edge.