To get basic measurements, measure the length and width of each wall you want to paint in inches. Multiply the length and height together, and divide by 144. This will give you the square footage for each wall. A gallon of paint typically covers around 400 square feet. In some cases, you may need a primer 2 first, then a single coat of paint, meaning that you may need one gallon of primer and one gallon of paint to cover 400 square feet. However, if the wall requires multiple coats, this will increase the total amount of square footage required, and therefore the amount of paint.

A painter's rod, or pole, can help you paint ceilings more quickly — no climbing up and down ladders required. And there's no need to stand directly underneath the area you are painting, so you won't catch every wayward splatter. A pole is also great for walls and floors. The pros were split over whether the 4- or 8-foot pole is best for everyday use, but they all agreed that a telescoping rod is the best bet.


Most pros don't bother cleaning brushes and rollers if they are going to use them the next day on the same job. "Latex paint dries slowly in cold temperatures," says Maceyunas. For two-day jobs, he wraps the rollers and brushes in plastic grocery bags and sticks them in the refrigerator. "Just allow the roller to return to room temperature before reusing it," he says. Roller covers are almost impossible to clean thoroughly. Most pros buy new covers for each job.

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