How Do You Paint a Wall Like A Pro? (5-Step Guide)

Last Updated On March 19, 2021

How do you paint a wall like a pro?

It seems like professional painters have secrets that allow them to paint better, faster.

Well, they do!

There are a few tricks the professionals use to speed up their process and boost the quality of their finish. Things Like:

  • Filling Holes & Dents Properly
  • Getting Clean Lines Around Edges
  • Easy Tool Switches For Efficiency

So if you want to paint walls like a professional, I recommend you read the painting tips below to learn how to upgrade your painting skills.

What Do You Need To Know About Painting A Wall Like a Pro?

Professional painters could teach us all a thing or two about painting with speed and precision.

If you want to learn to paint like the pros do, you’re going to have to think like they think.

Pro painters spend hours painting interior and exterior walls, so they have to develop painting techniques that both improve the finish and improve their painting time.

Preparing to Paint Right Saves Time

The difference between an amateur painter and a professional painter is usually obvious in the prep work.

Professional painters know that in order to speed up the entire process, as well as the clean up, preparation is key.

Taking the time to properly fill in holes, dents, and scratches not only contributes to a coat of paint, but it also saves time and materials.

They also know that choosing the right materials, like using tape vs. mesh to finish off drywall, make a massive difference in the finished wall’s overall appearance.

Take the time before you start to research your project and figure out how to best prepare your wall before you paint.

Taking Health Precautions While Painting

Professional painters spend a lot of time around paint, which means they need to protect themselves from dust and harmful fumes.

They know that to paint effectively, they also have to paint safely. Which means establishing proper ventilation at all times — leaving windows open as weather permits, using box fans for air flow, taking frequent breaks.

Before you get started on your next project, make sure you take safety into consideration. Especially if you live in or are working in an apartment building where fumes can spread to other residents as well.

Read More >> How to Prevent Lead Paint Poisoning

Professional Painting Is About Going The Extra Mile

In order to get the best finish on your wall, it’s going to take some practice. Even if you don’t have practice, though, you can still take the time to learn a few techniques that will speed things up while keeping things clean.

Before you start, make sure you go the extra mile and remove all the wall plates, nails, screws, and thermostats.

This little step makes a world of difference for your speed, but it also helps things look more polished when you put everything back in place. 

When you’re doing line work around the ceiling, window frames, and corners, use an angled brush and have the bristles act as your guide. Leave a small space between the wet edge of your paintbrush and the edge you're painting.

Then, on your next coat of paint you'll fill in the gap more precisely. (Make sure you only cut one or two sections at a time and then fill in with a roller, otherwise the cut lines will dry and the finished textures won't be smooth.)

This will allow you to spend less time taping (except around carpet or baseboards) and more time actually putting paint on the walls. Especially if you make sure to choose the right paintbrush for the job.

Using the bristles as your guide and applying firm pressure produces a clean, easy-to-guide line that will make your second coat even easier. 

These little steps and tricks make the entire process of painting go so much faster and will make you look like a professional in no time.

Read More >> How to Paint Your Home's Exterior

Want To Just Skip All This Research And Hire A Decent Professional For Your Paint Job?

Click here to check out our pro painter search tool where we instantly send you free quotes from trusted (and thoroughly vetted) painters in your local area.

Process Takes About 30 Seconds

Supplies You’ll Need To Paint Your Wall Like a Pro

Here are some supplies you’ll need to get that professional finish:

The proper painting tools make a world of difference when it comes to painting walls like a professional. 

Making the switch from hand sanders to a full circle sander can save your back, just like using a roller extension arm, but they also save time.

How To Paint A Wall Like a Pro (5-Step Guide)

  1. Remove All the Wall Hangings and Plates
  2. Prepare the Surface of the Wall Properly
  3. Sand All Surfaces To Be Painted
  4. Paint the Edges and Corners, Then Roll & Repeat
  5. Fix Imperfections and Apply A Second Coat 

Step 1 - Remove All the Wall Hangings And Plates

Removing every single wall plate and nail can seem like a hassle, but professional painters know that it’s the best way to speed up a project.

Not only that, but the tell-tale sign of an amateur painter is paint left on the edges of switch plates that requires touch up afterward.

Go around the entire area you plan to paint and remove anything off the wall that shouldn’t be painted. Take the time to remove thermostat covers, light switch plates, nails, screws, and anything else that’s in your way.

Step 2 - Prepare the Surface of the Wall Properly

After you’ve gotten everything out of your way, it’s time to make sure the entire room is prepared for paint.

That means taking your 5-in-1 tool and creating “dents” where all of your screw and nail holes are. This allows for your spackling or drywall compound to fully fill in the hole, giving you a smoother looking finish.

Once you’ve enlarged the holes, it’s time to go around and fill them. While spackle will do, we recommend using a drywall compound mixture since it’s less likely to show through layers of paint. 

But no matter what filler you use, it’s important not to overfill or leave residue behind. This only makes sanding take longer and it can lead to rough lines and uneven texture in the end.

Step 3 - Sand All Surfaces To Be Painted

The sanding step is important for creating a beautiful, smooth finish on your walls. That is why we recommend a round sander with an extension arm that will allow you to sand the entire wall in no time. 

You can still use a hand sander around edges and corners, but investing in a round sander will make your life a lot easier, and cut your preparation time in half.

Once you’ve prepared your sander, make sure to use smooth strokes to fully sand off any roughness left behind by your filler.

It pays to go back over your sanding a second time just to ensure the smoothest surface possible. You don’t want to have to go back in later and sand off your paint because you missed a spot.

Step 4 - Paint The Edges And Corners, Then Roll & Repeat

The key to painting fast is doing the edges and corners first. You want to color inside the lines before you fill in the entire picture.

Assuming you’ve chosen the right brush for the job, you’ll want to soak your brush and create a circle around all your outlets and then fill them in.

This eliminates excess paint and allows you to drag that paint inward, preventing drips. Then, when it’s time to do ceilings and corners, use the outer edge of the bristles as your guide.

Keep them about an ⅛ inch away from the edge on the first coat, then get as close as possible on the second coat without bleeding outside the line. Finally, you’re ready to roll!

Just make sure you do this section by section and don't allow the paint to dry before you roll over it. If it dries, it'll be obvious in the final texture that one section was brushed on while the other was rolled.

Take your roller and start painting the entire wall in even strokes, but only go about two rollers wide on the first coat before refilling the roller.

Getting a thicker first coat will prevent you from having to do extra coats in the end, especially if you’re not using a primer.

Step 5 - Fix Imperfections and Apply A Second Coat 

If you’re truly painting like a pro, the second coat will be your last. That’s why it’s important to use a keen eye and find any lingering imperfections left behind by your first coat.

Go back over things with a sander if you must, then go in and apply your second coat, making sure everything is covered and nothing shows through.

Now that you have all of the insider secrets on how to paint like a pro, your upcoming painting jobs are going to come out looking amazing in half the time.

Read More >> How to Paint Baseboards with Carpet

Meet Your Pro Paint Corner Author

Madison Rude

Madison Rude

I’m kind of a painting nerd. My mom taught me how to paint when I was nine, and since then I’ve painted rooms, name it. I’ve written technical advice for Wagner sprayers, and I’ve spent a lot of time DIYing my own home. I’m no expert, but I love to learn. And here at ProPaintCorner, I learn more about painting every time I work with one of our painting pros to bring you the best product reviews and How To advice available. Together, let’s make your next painting project the best it can be!

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Madison Rude

Madison Rude

I’m kind of a painting nerd. My mom taught me how to paint when I was nine, and since then I’ve painted rooms, name it. I’ve written technical advice for Wagner sprayers, and I’ve spent a lot of time DIYing my own home. I’m no expert, but I love to learn. And here at ProPaintCorner, I learn more about painting every time I work with one of our painting pros to bring you the best product reviews and How To advice available. Together, let’s make your next painting project the best it can be!

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