Tips On How To Be More Productive On Interior Paint Jobs

Success on interior jobs doesn’t just happen. It hinges on using the proper prep and application tools and knowing the right paint for the job on walls, trim, cabinets and more. In this article, we’ll offer tips to help you maximize productivity with the appropriate coatings and tools.

Market pressures and their effect

Inflation, supply chain issues and the labor shortage are affecting the bottom lines of many contractors.

“Basically, pros are making less profit now than they were and feeling a pinch,” says Kristin McNamara, Sherwin-Williams Director of Marketing, Associated Products and Equipment. Here are her suggestions for choosing application tools and supplies that will maximize your performance and productivity during interior painting jobs:

  • Everyday tape: Tapes like ScotchBlue™ 2090 Original Multi-Surface Painter’s Tape and FrogTape® Pro Grade Blue Painter’s Tape are ideal for the widest range of jobs. They have medium adhesion appropriate for most job types, prevent paint bleed-through, and have clean removal for up to 14 days for ultimate project flexibility. These multi-use tapes are always worth having in your toolkit.
  • A versatile ladder: The Werner® X3 Lean Safe Ladder is one ladder that will cover you for a range of needs on most jobsites. Also works as a leaning ladder as approved by OSHA, so you don’t need to worry about fines on jobsites.
  • Convenient utility knife: The American Line Folding Utility Knife is sturdy and powerful, yet folds into your pocket so it doesn’t get in the way.
  • Everyday brushes: Purdy® Clearcut® Elite™ brushes are pro favorites for a reason. They help painters create sharp lines, and the stiff bristles make them perfect for low-VOC and thicker coatings. Between using tape and this brush, there will be virtually no rework.
  • Masking and surface protection: Surface protection can be a time suck for painters. For a lot of painters, using a 3M Hand-Masker solves that by speeding up the process, getting them off this part of the job up to 60 percent faster than typical poly/paper methods. Using the Trimaco Eliminator Drop Cloth offers the benefits of slip resistance and leak resistance in a lighter weight that is appropriate for most jobs.
  • Caulk tool: Deceptively simple, Allway’s 3-in-1 Tool is great for cutting out caulk without ruining the surface. Plus, it helps ensure a clean finish during caulk application when a finger just won’t do.
  • Perfect paint cup: Nothing screams convenience like a cup you can carry around with a brush or mini-roller and take care of all of your touch-up or small project needs. The Handy Roller Cup is especially handy for new res and property maintenance jobs.
  • Epoxy repair: Rare are the jobs where there isn’t something small to repair – a handle rail coming out of concrete, rotted wood by the gutter tie, etc. Adhesives Technology Miracle Bond dries quickly and lets you make the repair and paint the next day.
  • Airless sprayers: The Graco 390 and Titan 410 are the workhorses for entry-level and small-project spraying. They’re foolproof and get you on and off jobs more quickly so you can take on more work.

The right paint for the right room

Paint choices matter. Knowing which paint to use when is key to a successful and profitable interior paint job. You won’t go wrong with these coatings:

  • Trim and cabinets: Cabinet refinishing is popular right now. Emerald® Urethane Trim Enamel is the best choice for the most durable results. It delivers the look, feel and durability of an oil-based enamel with the convenience of a water-based formula. Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel is ideal for kitchens and other areas that are frequently cleaned. It resists wear and tear over time, provides excellent blocking and scratch resistance and dries quickly for a fast recoat.

Learn more in our story Cabinet Refinishing: An 8-Step Guide for Pro Painters

  • Bathrooms: Of all the rooms in a typical residential repaint, the humidity and water present in bathrooms are among the most challenging for professional painting contractors. Duration Home® Interior Acrylic Latex can make all the difference between success and failure on bathroom repaint jobs. The key is the product’s advanced Moisture Resistance Technology.™

Get more expert advice in our story Painting Bathrooms Can Be a Challenge: Here Are Some Secrets to Doing it Right… and Turning it Fast

  • Walls: Your customers will enjoy stunning color for years to come when you use Emerald® Interior Acrylic Latex. Emerald offers exceptional washability and coverage with a formula that hides dark colors, resists water streaking, and helps prevent stains from penetrating. This paint and primer in one contains anti-microbial agents1 that inhibit the growth of mold and mildew on the paint surface and transforms walls with a beautiful finish.
  • Wall coating upgrade: When you want the ultimate interior finish for your high-end customers, choose Emerald Designer Edition. This top-of-the-line interior paint combines the luxury of a smooth, uniform finish with Sherwin-Williams best hide yet. It’s a high-performance upgrade choice for homeowners who want the finest color with a virtually flawless appearance and outstanding resistance to water streaking and spotting. Emerald Designer Edition offers both the convenience of self-priming and excellent application qualities that require less effort to achieve superb results. Along with all the regular Sherwin-Williams colors, Emerald Designer Edition also offers an exclusive selection of 200 exclusive new colors – including brighter whites made with the UltraWhite Base.
  • An old favorite keeps getting better: For decades, pros have trusted SuperPaint® Interior Acrylic Latex for their interior work, and the recent next-generation formula delivers even better hiding and smoother finish, with an easier application to help increase productivity for the painter. SuperPaint is also available in two specialty formulas: SuperPaint with Air Purifying Technology for better indoor air quality2 and SuperPaint with Sanitizing Technology3


1This product contains agents which inhibit the growth of mold and mildew on the surface of this paint film.

2The length of time SuperPaint with Air Purifying Technology Interior Acrylic Latex actively reduces odors and formaldehyde depends on the concentration, the frequency of exposure and the amount of painted surface area.

3EPA registered paint that kills 99.9% of Staph (Staphylococcus aureus) , E. coli (Escherichia coli), MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), VRE (Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecalis) and Enterobacter aerogenes on painted surfaces within two hours of exposure, and continues to kill 90 percent of bacteria for up to four years when the integrity of the surface is maintained.