Quick Tip: Paint Crisp Edges on Textured Walls

Quick Tip: Paint Crisp Lines on Textured Walls

Textured walls are pretty common in new houses as they are easy to finish and look pretty decent.  Painting entire walls is also easy to do.

But what if you have an edge or a corner where two paint colors meet up?  That’s trivial with non-textured walls — just firmly apply a line of painters tape and you’re done.  That doesn’t work with textured walls, though.  Painters tape isn’t flexible enough or sticky enough to completely cover all of the gaps between the bits of texture.  The end result is that even though the tape seems paint-tight, when you pull it up, you see all of the jagged edges of all the paint that slipped under the tape!

There are products that advertise themselves as being fixed for this problem.  The green painter tapes are the most common.  They don’t work, in our experience.  They just cost a lot more and produce the same jagged edges.

Don’t despair!  There is a quick and easy way to create perfectly crisp edges, even on textured surfaces.

Method: Cover the Edge of the Painters Tape with Caulk

edge taped and caulkedStep 1: Apply your painters tape over the top of the existing paint (the side that will stay) and press down as firmly as possible.  Try and work out any air bubbles.  This won’t stop the paint from leaking under on its own, but it will stop the much more viscous caulk from leaking under.

Step 2: Smear a thin layer of latex caulk right over the seam on the side that is to be painted.  Use latex caulk instead of silicone since the latter is tough to clean up afterwards.  Make sure the painters tape seam is completely covered.  Also, make sure that you do this on the to-be-painted side and not the already-painted side.

You’ll want to smooth out the caulk somewhat, but don’t go overboard.  This is a textured wall, after all, and so some irregularities not only look fine, but are necessary.

Step 3: Paint!  Cover over most of the caulk (at least over the seam) using the new paint.

Step 4: Remove the tape quickly. Don’t allow the paint to dry.  You’ll want to remove the painters tape within a few minutes, or else the paint and/or the caulk could completely dry and removing the tape might cause the seam to crack.

That’s it.  When you remove the tape, you’ll see that the caulk prevented the paint from seeping under at all, but the caulk itself didn’t bleed due to how thick it was.  The end result is a perfectly crisp line.

Here’s the above edge both with and without a flash:

crisp edge with flashcrisp edge with no flash

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