Painting Walls With Textured Paints and Emulsions

Painting walls with emulsion or textured paint is straightforward if a little messy. With a roller, tray, brush and paint you can easily paint an ordinary sized room in half a day, perhaps longer if you need to apply more than one coat.

Preparation for Painting

Make sure you follow the preparation tips in our article in this section or your will not be happy with the finished result. Fill in any cracks or other blemishes with filler and wait for it to completely dry before you start painting.

Put newspaper or old sheets down on the floor. If you are leaving any furniture in the room while painting move it to the middle and cover that too. Have a bowl of water with a sponge or rag handy. This can be used to wipe up any paint drips as long as you get to them quickly enough.

Whether you are choosing textured paint or ordinary emulsion the techniques are the same. Most people these days use a roller for the main areas and brushes for the edges and other fiddly bits where more control is required. There’s no reason why a brush can’t be used to paint the whole of the wall, it’s just that rollers are more efficient for larger areas.

Painting Edges with a Brush

Start with the edges and detail parts first. Stir the paint and then tip some into a paint kettle or an old but clean saucepan. This means that if you get bits in the paint or perhaps knock it over, you don’t lose all your paint.

Dip the brush in to the paint, but no more than halfway, then lift it out, scraping excess paint off on the lip of the container. Don’t be tempted to load too much paint on the brush as this increases the chances of spillage. It also loads too much paint on the wall which makes paint runs more likely.

Working carefully around the room, paint the edges, taking care not to get paint on the woodwork. Cover up to four inches above skirting boards and below ceilings, and around doors and windows too. Use a narrow brush to go around light switches, electrical sockets and other fittings. Once this is finished you can use a roller on the rest of the walls.

Applying Paint with a Roller

Tip paint into the well of the roller tray, no more than half filling it. Dip the roller in the paint then drag it up the flat part of the tray to spread the paint around the roller. Do this a few times to make sure the paint coverage is even and there isn’t too much paint on the roller. As with the brush, loading too much paint on a roller is counter-productive as it leads to spillages and runs.

Roll the roller across the wall, drawing a ‘W’ shape which transfers the majority of the paint onto the wall. Then do strokes up, down and across within the shape of the ‘W’ to spread the paint evenly onto the wall. Repeat this process all around the room, making sure your ‘W’ shapes overlap as you go.

The roller should be rolled smoothly and slowly to stop paint spattering over you and the rest of the room. Textured paints are significantly worse in this regard and you may find it less trouble to use a large wallpaper brush instead of a roller. It’s easier to control textured paint in this way, particularly if it is going on a ceiling.

Coat of Many Colours

You will normally need two coats of emulsion to cover a wall, possibly one if you are painting over a light colour with a darker one. Conversely you may need more than two coats if you are covering a dark colour with a light one.

It is imperative to let coats dry properly before starting another one otherwise the first coat will lift off. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the tin about drying times and how long to leave between each coat. Most textured paints will only require one coat but again check the manufacturer’s instructions.