Painting Q&A: Everything you Need to Know

August 21, 2020 7 min read

Back of a woman painting a wall dark blue with a paint roller.

Painting and Finishes

What are the different kinds of paint finishes and how do I know which one to use? 

  • A great quality about Benjamin Moore paint is that all of our finishes are highly durable so you don’t have to be tied to the old rules (e.g. you can only use a high gloss finish in bathrooms, never use a matte finish in a high-traffic area). Now you can use any finish in any room of the house – it all depends on the look you want to create. 
  • To give an idea of the differences between sheens, a matte finish may appear soft and almost velvety, while being forgiving to wall imperfections. A higher gloss finish on the wall will be more dramatic and will reflect more light; however, be sure that your walls are in great condition because the higher the gloss level, the more you’ll accentuate imperfections in the wall. Luckily, selecting finish can be a decision around aesthetics since great durability is present across all our products and finishes. 

Painting Kitchens and Bathrooms

What type of paint should I use in a kitchen? And, why? Is it the same type of paint you would use for a bathroom? 

  • Kitchen walls are generally exposed to more moisture than other rooms in the home. Benjamin Moore has products that are specifically formulated for these environments, including Aura Bath & Spa. This paint is designed to achieve exceptional durability, color retention and mildew resistance in high-humidity environments. 

Bathroom painted with Benjamin Moore Aura Bath and Spa paint, available at Regal Paint Centers

Painting and Prep

What are the essentials prep steps for a DIY paint job? 

  • Here are some general tips and techniques to help pull off a professional-looking paint job: 
  •  Proper preparation. Ensure walls and surfaces are clean, dusted, non-glossy and in good condition before you prime or begin taping.
  • Choose your tools wisely. Small rooms can feel gigantic when it comes to painting, especially if you’re using a brush. A roller will do a better job than a brush in less time, and for more advanced painters, sprayers are an option. It’s also important to use high-quality products as choosing a less-expensive option may also mean sacrificing the quality, ease of application and impact on the end result.
  • Don’t work too hard. Most premium paints today flow on very easy. When rolling let the roller do the work. There is no reason to put a lot of pressure on the roller. 
  • Cut in edges and baseboards. Use a small angled brush to paint around doorframes, ceiling edges, corners and baseboards.
  • Paint like a pro. Once you have cut in the edges, paint from the ceiling to the baseboard for a smooth finish. Using an extension pole will help you do so faster and without needing to go up and down the ladder. 

Painting Touchups

Can I touch-up spots/nicks without repainting the entire wall? If so, how? Otherwise, why not? 

  • The sooner you can address it, the easier it will be to clean. To remove everyday marks, use a clean cellulose sponge with a little warm water. Use a soft circular motion, wait for it to dry and see if it’s clean. If the dirt is still evident, repeat the process using a dab of dish detergent and wipe the area dry with a clean sponge. 
  • Try to wash only the stained area, keeping the surrounding area from becoming wet. If using a mild detergent, rinse with clean water and sponge and immediately dry by dabbing with a cotton cloth. 

Do certain finishes require different types of cleaning treatments? 

  • It is recommended that non-abrasive cleaners and sponges be used. 
Do you have any unique tips/suggestions for touching up with paint? 
  • Use different materials such as Q-tips for small, fine touch ups.
  • For larger areas, start by touching up with a brush, work the paint away from the area and feather it out. 


What’s the best way to paint over a dark color

  • Painting over a dark hue is easy if you prep properly. Start by priming over the dark hue then apply two coats of the desired color following. Be sure to allow the primer coat to dry completely before applying the first coat of color. For dramatic color changes, we suggest using Benjamin Moore Aura. Aura delivers rich color and extreme hide in fewer coats. 

Benjamin Moore Aura paint, available at Regal Paint Centers in MD & VA.

Is there a trick to using painter’s tape so it doesn’t pull paint away? (other than pulling slowly away at 45-degree angle) Should I remove tape before or after paint dries? 

  • Prep work is critical to ensuring a perfect paint job. In addition to repairing holes, cleaning and priming surfaces, one of the most important steps is to tape off areas to ensure clean, crisp lines. To prevent bleeding, paint over the edge of the tape with the color that is already on the wall. 
  • Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions regarding removal, as not all tapes are created equal. You can remove tape once you have completed the painting. To remove the tape without jeopardizing the paint, gently pull it away from the wall at a 45-degree angle. Be careful not to pull it too quickly, for the tape could rip or pull paint from the wall.

Painting Furniture

Do I need special paint for painting furniture? 

  • For painting furniture, we recommend using a paint that has a sheen to it and will dry to a hard, smooth finish such as Benjamin Moore ADVANCE. Since ADVANCE is a waterborne alkyd paint, it will give you the performance of an old-fashion oil base paint, while being easy to use, low odor and cleans up with soap and water. 

Shop Benjamin Moore ADVANCE®

    Is it OK to use a latex paint over an oil-based paint, and why? What about vice versa? If either or both are not recommended; is there a quick trick to figure out if existing paint is latex or oil? 
    • It is OK to paint a latex paint over an oil-based paint. In order to do this, you will need to prep the surface as usual, as well as sand all of the gloss areas. Using a primer such as Benjamin Moore Fresh Start High-Hiding All Purpose Primer will assure good adhesion during this process. Although it is very uncommon, painting an oil-based paint over a latex paint would follow the same preparation process.

    Paint Coverage

    Is there a rule of thumb that tells me how much paint I need? How bad is it to underestimate and run out of paint (even if you get same color, it may not be exactly same second time around, right?)? Do you recommend people buy extra for touch-ups? How much? Any tips for storing touch-up paint? 

    • The pros recommend one gallon for every 400 square feet. Covering textured, rough or unprimed surfaces may require more. Plan ahead and you can avoid running back and forth to the store with a paint swatch in your hand. 
    • Tip: A small amount of paint left in a gallon can easily harden do the air in the can. Take leftover paint and transfer it to a smaller contain and store it upside down so no air can get in.

    A paint roller painting dark blue on a white wall.

    Painting Application

    What’s the best way to paint a wall? 

    Here are some general tips on the best way to paint a wall: 

    • Using a brush, paint the ceiling line and around all trim first.
    • Using an extension pole will allow you to paint from the ceiling line to the baseboard. This will speed up the process because you will not have to go up and down a ladder.
    • Let the roller do the work. As you roll up and down the wall, use your hands to just guide the roller. No need to apply heavy pressure.
    • With most quality paints, you will be able to make 2-3 ceiling to floor passes before having to reload the roller with paint. You will see when you are running out of paint and need to reload.
    • After reloading the roller start on the uncoated area next to the area you just painted and roll back into the wet paint.


    How do I know when my brush or roller needs more paint? 

    • For a large interior area, a roller will do a better job in less time. Select the right nap roller for your sheen of paint and try to avoid pushing the roller into the wall when you paint. 
    • Most premium paints today flow on very easy. When rolling, let the roller do the work. There is no reason to put a lot of pressure on the roller. Do not over work the paint. Lay on a nice even coat and move on. 

    Wood Weathering

    Do I need to consider seasons/weather when planning a paint job? (e.g. avoiding extreme temps) 

    • For interior painting, the environment is generally controlled and weather does not need to be considered. 
    • For exterior paint projects, you should consider the following: 
      • Ideal painting conditions are 77°F and 50% relative humidity.
      • Do not paint in direct sunlight.
      • In early spring and late fall, do not start too early in the morning or work to late in the day. *Adjust for region's seasonality*
      • High winds can cause the paint to dry to fast and cause lap marks. 

    Exterior barn painted blue with Benjamin Moore paint, available at Regal Paint Centers in MD & VA.

    Clean up

    Should I wash rollers or brushes before storing if I’m continuing job the next day? 

    • If you are going to take a break from painting, wrap your brush and roller (handle and all) in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to start painting again. This will keep the brush fresh for when you’re ready to paint again. 

    Paint Application

    What is the number one mistake people make when painting?

    • Many consumers and, sometimes even the pros, overlook the obvious step of getting advice from their paint retailer. Every job has some unique aspects that an experienced associate can help sort out. Contact your local Regal Paint Centers' location to speak to a paint expert!