Go to How Not to Build an Addition Index! This page includes notes about paint application.


Cutting in is the act of painting corners. Use a two-inch brush for this task. Make the painted strip wide enough to take up any space a roller might miss if used next to the wall.

There is an art to rolling paint onto a wall. Too thick a coat will cause runs and waste paint. Too thin a coat will force you to put on another coat and will send a fine spray in every direction.


When Robin and I paint, she does all the rolling, and I do the cutting in and masking. The arrangement seems to work, even though she gets to do the fun part. Yet when I paint alone, I do not feel confined by the need to mask or use a drop cloth. I believe that the time spent on this work is wasted; a person could be painting. A painter who is exceptionally careful, will not drip, splatter or accidentally run a brush over a bit of finished carpentry. Such a painter will go slowly and watch the brush every time it is dipped into the paint can.

Since I am near sighted, I will frequently remove my glasses for this close-in, precision work. My favorite spot for these lenses is the top step of my six-foot step ladder.

When Robin and I were working on the wall in the new bedroom, I sat cross-legged in a corner, cutting between the wall and the molding on the door. Robin was rolling out paint in an opposite corner of the room.

Just when I was in the midst of my Zen-like meditation, slowly running a paint brush next to the molding, my wife decided to pretend to be helpless.

"Bill, I need more paint. There's no more in the pan, and no more in the roller."

I get exasperated when I am interrupted. "Can't you pour it yourself?" As my concentration began to waver, I saw the brush wriggle against the molding.

"The can is empty."

Opening and stirring a new can of paint is a delicate matter requiring a strong and steady hand. However, I thought she was capable of the feat. "Can't you get it? I'm at a crucial point." My voice got lower as I pulled back my brush to avoid any more paint getting on the molding.

"There is none left in the house. We need to get more from the garage."

I set down the brush and turned. She bowed her head slightly. In her paint clothes, she was in no condition to go through the house to get another can. She had spattered her shoes and the front of her pants. (She had been rolling the paint on too thin.)

I rolled my eyes and growled. I drew myself to my feet. A paint can in the corner caught my eye. "What about this can?" I could see it even without my glasses.

Robin shrugged. "I didn't see it."

I threw up my hands in disgust and rambled over to the can. I had had the foresight earlier to set it on its head so it would be easier to stir when the time came. I dragged it over to the ladder where I kept the screw driver and paint stirrer.

"Thank you." My wife batted her eyes to let me know I was appreciated. I growled again to indicate to her that her interruption was NOT appreciated.

After stirring the paint, I glowered at Robin. "I suppose you want me to pour it for you too?"

She nodded.

I dumped the paint, then went back to the ladder to set the can where it would be out of the way.

She called to me one last time.

I spun, ready to burst out with, "What do you want NOW!" Instead, I released an incoherent burble. For, when I turned, I hooked the ladder with an oversized foot and knocked my glasses from the top step. I could see them falling in slow motion. Even after practicing my zen-meditation, I was not quick enough to stop their decent.

There was only one place they could go. Of course, they fell directly into the freshly open can of paint.

I looked at Robin's expectant face. She was ready to see me explode in a fit of rage. However, she did not cringe in fear. She simply said, "I was only going to say, I love you."

It was definitely time for me to explode; my limits had been reached. Instead, Robin and I simultaneously burst out laughing. Forgetting that I had gotten paint on my hands, I scratched my head. It was just one more calamity.

"I guess this makes us even for the glued sock," I said. "You got paint in your hair." She pointed at the top of my head.

I shrugged and wiped my hands on a rag. "Don't worry about it." I fished my glasses out of the can with a bent coat hanger and took them to the bathroom to wash off the paint. Robin followed me. Even though it was a water-base paint, it was not easy to wash out of the corners and from behind the nose rest.

Robin patted me on the back. "That paint is not so easy to get out, is it?"

I shook my head.

"Do you think you will be able to get it out of your hair?" she wanted to know.

"I'll take a shower after we're done painting," I assured her.

"You know," Robin remarked, flecking my hair lightly with her fingers. "I heard there is something good for getting paint out."

"Oh yeah? What is it?" I pondered the possibilities, baby oil, dish soap or even shampoo.

I saw a twinkle light up my wife's eyes. "Bleach."

"Yeah, right." I replied. I shooed her out of the room. I always thought she had something for blonde men.

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Paint Selection
Painting Tools
Paint Preps
Laying It On

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About the Author:
W.J. Rayment built an addition on his house, and in the course of the project learned from his many mistakes. This on-line compendium is his effort to help you learn from his experience. The advice and stories are often humorous, sometimes silly, but always informative. for yourself or as a gift for family or friends.

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