Pro tips for painting the interior and exterior of your home

We are getting down to closing out 2023. For you long-time Rosie on the House listeners and readers, you know that I like to look back and see what the most popular article was of the year. Without further ado, here it is in its entirety.

One of the most common DIY projects around our home is painting. Painting is one thing. Painting well is another.

Joe Miller of the Arizona Painting Company, a Rosie on the House Certified partner, offers us interior and exterior painting tips in addition to some preparation pointers for painting old and new surfaces.


After the drywall is taped and sanded on a new surface, the next step will be painting. Take a broom or duster and get the residual dust off the surface. A lightly dampened cloth will work, as well. This is an essential step as the dust prevents the subsequent paint from adhering to the surface.

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The next step the pros use is to prime and seal the drywall surface, as well as any adjacent moldings. One coat of a good drywall primer, like PVA (polyvinyl acetate), will give the paint a great surface to adhere to. Don’t expect the PVA primer to give 100% coverage or opaqueness over the drywall discoloration; that will be the job of the coats of paint yet to come. Prime any molding, as well, especially if it is raw wood.

Miller tells us to count on applying at least two coats of acrylic latex paint to the new surface. Use the same product for both coats. The correct sheen selection is determined by where the paint is being applied.

A satin or eggshell finish is a common sheen for most walls and ceilings.

Flat paint sheens are often used for ceilings rather than wall surfaces.

A semi-gloss sheen is typically used on trim and doors. It has high durability and resists moisture, making it a good choice for bathrooms and kitchens.


Most of us will repaint our homes instead of a new home. When painting over an existing painted surface, getting the broom or duster out first is still a good idea. You will not need to prime the surface unless some patchwork is involved. Complete coverage is key with repainting, particularly if you are changing colors. Miller tells us that two coats of a quality acrylic latex paint product is typically sufficient. If you are covering over deep reds or blacks with a lighter color choice, then you may need three coats. Arizona Painting Company uses Sherwin Williams paint.

Two popular color choices Miller likes are Cashmere and Emerald.


The process of proceeding with the exterior paint will depend on what material was used to finish the exterior walls.

For a stucco finish, make sure that the raw cement stucco is fully cured before you even think about painting. Test kits are available at your local hardware store to measure the moisture content. Determine that the moisture content in the stucco is 12% or less before painting. In some cases, this might take a month or more.

Acrylic stucco requires a six on the pH scale before being painted. Reaching a six on the scale generally requires 30 days of curing. If you use Loxon Primer, you can paint when the pH is between seven and 13. Either way, you should test the pH levels before you begin. PH test kits are also available at your local hardware store.

Once the stucco is ready, Miller uses a 100% acrylic Sherwin Williams paint such as “Superpaint” or “Duration.”

The type of stucco finish, such as a “sand” or “Spanish lace” texture, will dictate the best way to apply the paint. Most paints are sprayed on, and if the texture is smooth, that might be sufficient. If the surface texture is coarse, then a process known as back rolling may be employed.

Proper back rolling requires two painters. The first painter sprays a crosshatch pattern on the wall. The second painter follows with a freshly dipped roller to get the 100% coverage needed.

This style of back rolling will increase the cost of labor and materials, but it is the only way to get full coverage.

Other new materials may come primed and ready for two coats of paint. Be sure to prime all raw materials before applying paint. This is true for the body of the house and any trim work.


Again, Miller recommends you clean the surfaces before repainting an existing surface. Using a power washer is the best way to accomplish this but be careful. The pressures used can be too high and cause damage to the surface.

Keep your distance. Hold the wand three to four feet away from the surface to prevent gouging.

Select the sprayer tip that will give you the widest fan. The fan is the shape the spray of water makes as it leaves the wand. If the spray is too focused, it damages the surface.

When selecting the sheen of your 100% acrylic paint, stick to a low luster such as eggshell or satin. The luster will help with weathering and durability.

Painting Preparation

Preparation is the most critical step in any painting process. “This is 80% of the painting job,” according to Miller.

Inside prep for a new build commonly includes caulking all the trim joints around floors, doors and windows. Next, cover and protect anything you don’t want paint on. If the paint is to be sprayed on, take extra measures to cover surrounding areas.

Preparation for existing surfaces can be more challenging inside and outside. Fill the tiny holes used to hang Christmas decorations or pictures and look carefully for needed surface repairs such as drywall patches or wood fills. Make sure your surface has the level of texture you want it to have. Don’t count on paint to fill gaps.

Elastomeric paint on vertical surfaces is not recommended.

If you plan to hire a painting contractor:

Ask how they plan to achieve full coverage.

They should tell you that they use a cross-hatch technique.

If they paint over stucco, they should plan on a true back roll technique.

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