Properly Using a Paint Tray
by Lee Wyatt
(last updated September 13, 2021)
For some strange reason most people do not really now how to properly use a paint tray. When using a paint roller, they will typically just pour a bit of paint into the tray, roll the roller around for a bit, and then begin painting. Properly using a paint tray requires a bit more than just that. Follow these guidelines to ensure that you are using these potentially expensive pieces of equipment the right way, and that you aren't wasting your time or money in the process.
- Get the right equipment. While it would be nice to say that it doesn't matter what type of equipment you use to paint your room, the truth is that you need to have the right equipment when painting a room. In this case, it means that you should avoid the lower costing and lower quality equipment as if they were the plague. It may be more expensive to purchase the better quality painting rollers and trays; the investment is well worth it. In fact, if you can afford it you should purchase and use professional quality equipment.
- Mix the paint. Before you can use the paint you need to make sure that it is completely and thoroughly mixed. It would be great to have the paint mixed for you at the store (using one of those paint mixer machines), but that will require you use the paint relatively quickly. If you are have any questions about how well the paint has been mixed, take a paint stirring stick and mix the paint as well as you possibly can. Once you have finished mixing the paint, pour roughly 1/3 of the can into the deep end of the tray.
- Cover the entire roller. When you do put the roller into the tray, make sure that you cover the entire roller. It is all too easy to only coat one side of the roller, and either forget the other side or think that the paint will carry over to the uncoated side. As you are coating the roller make sure that you don't accidentally spill any paint outside of the tray (it can be a little easy to do at times).
- "Dry" the roller. Once you have the roller coated, you need to "dry" off the roller a bit. This is what the long shallow part of the tray, or even the bucket screen in some models, is for. Roll the roller over the long shallow part of the tray or screen (depending on what you use) a few times so that the roller isn't dripping with paint. When you have done that you can then begin painting.
- Begin painting. Begin painting the walls as you normally would, typically starting about one foot from the bottom corner of the wall. Work your way up and across in a "W" pattern. Refill the paint roller using steps three and four as needed, in addition to refilling the paint tray, until the job is finished.
- Clean when finished. When finished, either for the day or just for the night, you need to clean the tools that you used. This will help ensure that you can reuse the equipment that you have again, or if you don't plan on using it again for a while to resell it. Either way, by taking the time to properly clean the equipment you will be able to protect your investment.
Now that you know the proper method for using a paint tray, you can ensure that you get the most out of your efforts. No more wasted paint, equipment, or money. Knowing (and using) this information is definitely a huge help when you are trying to save money throughout a renovation or remodeling job.
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