9 Mistakes to Avoid when Painting with Latex Paint


Hey friends!  Cynthia here, back to my computer after a weekend covered in latex paint.  Yep, it’s true, we’re painting baby girl’s nursery.

And, while I’m so SO excited about how it’s going to turn out, you know what?  I learned a whole lotta tips n’ tricks along the way.  So, if you’re in the market to do some indoor painting with latex paint, then do yourself a favor and keep on reading.

I’m about to drop a whole lotta knowledge on the 9 (costly!) mistakes you’ll want to avoid when painting with indoor latex paint!

Latex Paint

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9 Mistakes to Avoid when Painting with Latex Paint

I tell ya, painting is one of those DIY projects that seems like a good idea.  …And it is, if you know what you’re doing.

Otherwise, it’s labor and money intensive and you might not end up with the kind of professional looking job you want.  So what are some mistakes to avoid when using latex paint?  Welp, let’s dive on in.

Oh! And if you’re a visual person, I made a thingie. LOL! Enjoy the video of me painting our nursery!

Mistake 1:  Don’t Prep the Walls Before Painting

This step is two things: tedious and essential.  Yep, you’re going to want to wash your walls before you apply latex paint?

Why?  Well, who knows what kind of funk and junk has been lingering on your walls for a while.

Plus, if you’re painting in an area like a kitchen or a bathroom, chances are there are oils and grease on the walls that could muck up a beautiful paint job.

For most jobs, washing with water will do.  But if you want to be sure to really get clean, put in a tablespoon or two of a mild liquid soap.

Since we were painting a nursery in a house we just purchased, we used soap since we weren’t confident of the previous homeowners’ cleanliness.

Mistake 2: Don’t Lay Down Enough Painting Tarp

Not gonna lie, throughout this project, I really tried to save on money.  And you know where I tried to cut a corner?  On tarp.  Not a great idea.

The plastic tarp I bought was 9 by 12, which was about the size of the room.  But guess what?  Once I taped that baby to the baseboards and worked around a closet, the one tarp I bought was too short.

And back to Home Depot I went for another two buck tarp.  Lesson learned: buy slightly more than you think you need.  It’ll make the process of laying it down a lot easier with more material to maneuver.

Mistake 3: Don’t Use the Right Tape for Your Paint Job

When I paint, I tape off all straight edges — the baseboards, around the windows, and the ceilings.  Some pros are able to cut into corners and lines without tape.  But this girl?  Nope.  Not at all.

When I started, I had a roll of blue low tack painters tape but I ran out about 90% of the way through the project.

So I thought, hey, instead of going BACK to Home Depot (again), why don’t I just use this random roll of beige masking tape to save money?

Bad idea, guys.  Bad idea.

The whole idea of low tack and high tack tape didn’t occur to me UNTIL I was trying to pull the tape off the walls afterward.

And you know what?  That cheapo beige tape drove me bonkers.

I should’ve grabbed another roll of the good blue painters’ tape and saved myself alot of frustration!

Latex Paint Tips and Mistakes

Latex Paint Tips and Mistakes

Mistake 4: Don’t Buy a Painting Pour Spout

Okay, so I’ve been talking about ALLLL the mistakes I made in this DIY.  But let me mention one thing I did that was an awesome idea:  I bought a pour spout!

These painting pour spouts are about three bucks and made pouring from the gallon into the paint tray SO EASY.  Plus, since the project took two days, I could keep the spout on the can as an easy lid and not futz with the metal paint can top.  SO. MUCH. EASIER.

I’ll definitely reuse this pour spout again for another paint project, too.  Although if I hadn’t used up all the paint, I could have just kept it on the can for simple storage.

Mistake 5: Don’t Ventilate the Room You’re Painting

Um, yeah.  I felt a little drunk after the first day.  And then I had a headache.  Ugh.

To be fair, we kept the window all the way open, but we kept the door closed since it opened up right next to my toddler’s room.

Maybe in the future, I’d bring in a box fan or two.  But the ventilation?  Not good.

Mistake 6: Don’t Rush the Trim

Here’s the thing: rolling on paint with a roller is oh-s0-satisfying.  And while it takes a long time, you cover alot of ground quickly.

But you know what also takes a long time?  The trim.

Yep, it might be easy to think that the little line between your roller marks and the ceiling might be a quick slap n’ dash with a brush, but you’d need to think again.

The trim takes just as long as hitting the roller with the rest of the room.

I bought this handy paint pail that was a life saver.  It fit over my left hand and had a little magnet to hold my paintbrush.

So I could easily climb up and down my ladder with my paint pail without worrying about spilling paint.  But in the end:  the trim took awhile.  Longer than I thought!

Latex Paint Tips and Mistakes

Mistake 7: But the Right Roller

Did you know rollers come in different naps?  Um.  Neither did I.

These are the things I learned while I was bumping around the paint section waiting for my paint to shake.

My husband had bought a bunch of roller covers previously when we’d intended on painting our old house (a project we never actually did.)

Here’s the rule of thumb: the thicker the nap, the rougher the wall.

Thankfully, he’d bought a bunch of half-inch roller covers, which were great for our indoor walls.

But who knew?

Latex Paint Tips and Mistakes

Mistake 8: Don’t Cheap on the Paint

Now don’t get me wrong: I’m not encouraging you to buy top shelf paint.  Get what you can afford.

What I mean here is that when you DO buy the paint, don’t use too thin a coat in order to get a gallon of paint to stretch longer than it can.

Because, uhhh…., here’s what I learned: you’re just gonna have to paint it again.

Yeah, we needed a gallon and a half to paint the nursery.  And had I just bought ENOUGH paint, I probably could’ve used an appropriately thick amount of paint and finished the job faster.  But, sigh… live and learn.

Mistake 9: Don’t Pick a Color in the Store

So in case you think I’m being far too hard on myself, let me end on another thing we did right.  We DIDN’T pick a color in the store.  I’ll write a whole ‘nother post about how we pick paint colors, but here’s the take-home message: pick your paint color AT HOME, in the room you’re going to paint.

Grab yourself eight million different colors of paint sample papers and TAKE THEM HOME.  I promise you, they will all look so so different when you’re in the room that you’ll paint, under the room’s lighting.

Latex Paint Tips and Mistakes

And if you’re curious, we went with Behr Marquis Halation in Eggshell finish for the walls.  I’d show ya a finishing shot, but we’re stenciling an accent wall (the hardest DIY EVER.  Another story for another day!)  So stay tuned!

As always, all my love from my house to yours,