How to Paint Walls and Ceilings
Painting is a project that works best if you have a painting partner. One of you can be the outliner — the other, the roller. The outliner uses a brush to cut in or outline all the areas a paint roller can't reach. The roller spreads paint.
If you're painting solo, you get to change hats by switching tools and performing both tasks. If you're painting with a partner, give the outliner a head start to paint a two inch band along the joint between the ceiling and the wall. The outliner observes the top down rule, which means you should first paint the ceiling molding, if there is any and then outline a band of paint on the ceiling and wall, if you're painting the same color. You don't want the outliner to get too far ahead of the roller or you'll lose the wet edge and end up with lap marks. If you're the outliner, you should next cut in a band paint around any areas the roller can't reach — like around light fixtures or radiators. You also want to paint around light switches and electrical outlets.
After the outliner cuts in around the edges, the roller can begin on the ceiling, working from the corner outward into the room parallel with the longest wall. If you're the roller, work your way across the ceiling in three or four foot square patches and when you reach the opposite wall go back to the first wall.
As the outliner, once you finish cutting in around the edges, you're ready to outline the corners of all the walls, laying on a two inch wide flow of paint from the top of the corner down the walls. Next, cut in a band of paint around all windows and doors.
Don't forget — if you're rolling the paint — be sure to keep up with the outliner so the paint doesn't dry, because the rolled on paint acts like a second coat over the dry cut in paint.
Finish up the outlining at the baseboards around the floor. For these straight areas, use a trim guard or painters tape to keep paint off of the baseboard and surrounding areas.
The outliner starts first and ends first. Of course, the outliner could pick up another roller and help finish the job.