How to Get A Straight Line When Painting – Get It Done – Ask THE Handyman St Louis

In painting, what is the best way to get a clean line along a ceiling or wall?

Great question!

There are a number of factors when painting in order to get a clean line, such as when painting a wall up to the ceiling. The first recommendation is to have a good brush. For interior work, I like an angled brush, as it allows getting into the corner easily, and a 1 ½ to 2 inch brush works well. Some people like a chiseled brush, which is more like an artist’s brush, rounded at the tip.

Although patience is a great thing to have in painting, so is a good steady hand. If you feel lack one or both of those skills, you might want to consider using painter’s tape. The typical painter’s tape is blue, available in different widths. Painter’s tape is similar to a regular masking tape, but the blue tape doesn’t stick permanently or take any of the surface off when it is removed.

In my early painting experiences, I tried cutting in with just a brush, but I wasn’t satisfied with my results. I therefore switched to using the painter’s tape. However, I became even more frustrated with this, because when pulling the tape off, I found too many occurrences where the paint got behind the tape. This causes extra work in wiping it off and then touching up the area where I didn’t want the paint to go. So, I went back to the brush only, forcing myself to learn the skill.

However, we have just run across a new painter’s tape that we’ve tried out, and have found that it works well. It’s called FROGTAPE, ( and is available at Home Depot and Lowes, and perhaps other stores. The tape is green, so you won’t get it confused with the typical blue tape. The reason we’re liking the FROGTAPE is because it is treated with what they call a paint block. As paint is applied to the tape, a polymer on the tape absorbs the water in latex paints, expanding the edge of the tape and creating a barrier. Therefore the paint doesn’t get under the tape. The manufacturer states that the paint was created for latex paints, so if you’re using an oil based paint, beware. The only drawback I’ve found in using this is that at times I had trouble making it stick, so it took more time to get it in place.

As with any painter’s tape, it is best not to leave it in place for too long after the job is done. If the paint has dried, you might be pulling up paint along with the tape. So, it is best to take the tape off before the paint is dry. Be careful removing it wet, however; don’t let the tape touch any other surface, or you may be spending more time doing touch ups.

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Painting Ceramic Tile – Get It Done – Ask The Handyman St Louis

I have a guest 1/2 bathroom that I am trying to give a “new look”. The floor I can work with, but the walls have 1960s blue & yellow ceramic tile squares that I would love to paint another color.

Changing the color of ceramic tiles can really beautify a bathroom. And, you can do it yourself as long as you are thorough and have patience! You can paint the wall tiles or floor tiles, but do not plan on painting tiles that are frequently exposed to water, such as the walls surrounding a tub or shower, and of course, do not paint a tub. Leave this to the professionals.

The key to this job, like all painting jobs, is preparation. Because paint will not stick well to a shiny surface, you will need to get rid of the “glaze” on the tile. Begin by cleaning the tile with a commercial tile cleaner, one with a mild abrasive. Follow directions carefully. Next, you’ll need to use a sandpaper on the tiles. It is easiest if you have an orbital sander for this. They can be rented at many hardware stores or rental stores. Use a 220 grit sandpaper. This won’t damage the tiles, just take off the shine. If you can’t find an orbital sander, doing it by hand will work, it will just take longer. Wear safety glasses, as this will create a lot of dust.

Upon completion of this part of the job, be sure to clean the tiles from all of the dust. When you think you’ve removed all of the dust, clean the tiles again to be sure. It is critical that the tiles are clean and free of dust. You’re now ready for priming the tiles. This is essential, in that it puts down a base for the paint to stick to. Use a high-adhesion, oil based primer. Oil based primers are more difficult to clean up after, but since you’re going to use an oil based finish paint, you must use the oil based primer. When using these, be sure to allow for adequate ventilation, as the smell can be quite strong.

Use a brush for oil paints to get the corners and a short nap roller (1/8”) for the tiles. Be careful not to allow any paint lines in this process, as they will show in the end. Allow the primer to dry. I strongly recommend applying a second coat of primer. After the second coat is dry, use the same 220 grit sandpaper to very lightly go over the work, just to remove any slight ridges. Again, clean up any dust.

For the finish paint, use a semi-gloss or high-gloss, oil based, alkyd paint. Don’t skimp on the cost of the paint. Use a well known brand! Paint the tiles in the same way you primed them. Don’t use too thick of an application. If needed, you can always apply a second coat. You’re now seeing the beautiful change, but you’re not quite done.

Finally, you need to add a clear, water-based urethane. This is simply a protective finish. Don’t use the oil-based urethane. Follow the directions of the urethane, but it will be basically the same as the paint and primer.

If you want to be creative, you can paint a border with a different color, or paint individual tiles with any color you want. Your imagination is the only limit. Be sure to take before and after pictures, because your friends are not going to believe it!

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