Seeing Red – Red Paint That Is!


I’ll admit that red paint in a room is like a dream come true, but painting with red – well that’s a nightmare!

A friend of mine asked if I would paint a wall in her home and of course I gladly accepted the invite.  When I asked her what color she wanted to paint the wall she told me “red”.   Well, I immediately got a migraine; thought of another job I had to do, and told her I was washing my hair that day!  It wasn’t that I didn’t want to help I just hate painting anything red.

Red in my book, is by far the hardest paint color to paint, it just doesn’t cover.  It is usually tinted with a ton of colorant (pigment) and not a lot of anything else; it almost feels like adding pure color.  But never fear, I did help her, it was a challenge, but it did turn out great, but….not without a lot of trial and error.  Below you can follow the process.

Of course the first thing to do in any paint job is the prep.  I have always used the term, any one can paint, but it takes a pro to prep.  But with these steps you will be a pro as well.


After placing the furniture in the middle of the room and covering with plastic tarps, mask off all the baseboards and the mantle. If you have trim, this is a great place to use masking tape as well, and the tape manufactures have developed tape where the edge is left straight and sharp when the taped is pulled – the tape I used here is called Frog Tape.

I always do all the caulking and spackling first when starting my prep, so it has time to dry.


1. When the trim or in this case a mantel has a gap, it needs to be caulked.  When working with an item like a mantel where you want a really clean caulk line, first mask off a straight line using the masking tape.


2. Run a bead of caulk along the tape and run your finger along the bead of caulk making it smooth.  Pull the tape immediately after caulking.  Let the caulk dry then re-apply the tape for painting.

I use a new caulk that is a quick dry, it is made by Dap, but I’m sure that most caulk manufactures have their own version.   When using a caulk gun, secure the caulk tube in the caulking gun with a piece of tape, it keeps the tube from spinning while you work, keeping the tip in line the entire time. This is really great when you are up on a ladder and don’t have a free hand to spin the tube to realign it.


3. Fill all holes with spackling paste; use a flush spackle for small holes, such as picture hanging holes.  Flush spackle goes on smooth, and doesn’t need sanding.


4. After all the caulk and spackle dries, sand the walls.  The walls I was working on had a slight gloss so the sanding knocked down the spackle and also removed any imperfections in the wall surface.


5. The next step is critical for painting walls with dark colors.  Prime the walls with a latex wall primer that is tinted gray.  This gives a perfect background for darker colors and can eliminate the need for multiple coats.


Make sure to prime the entire surface to be painted.


6. Allow the primer to dry – about 2 hours and then apply the first coat of red.  Use a ½ nap roller cover and apply in 4 foot by 4 foot sections, back rolling after rolling on the initial coat. (back rolling is just taking the roller and laying off the paint to eliminate roller lines)

Always keep a wet edge, you don’t want to take any breaks when apply paint.


As you can see from the photo, even with the gray primer, the first coat did not cover very well.  In fact; (this is when I pull out my hair) it took me 4 coats to cover the wall until I felt it was completely covered.


These photos show coat 2 and 3.

Even after covering the walls with 4 coats of paint, the homeowner and I were not satisfied with the coverage or the color.  So, we did and little research and I found a paint manufacturer that had a new paint line out that we decided to try. We also went to a softer shade of red.  The new red was from Benjamin Moore’s Aura line of paint.

Since we were starting with a new shade, two coats were required but the paint was terrific and covered quite well.  We were both pleased with the results.


Just a side note, a normal wall usually takes me about  45 minutes to cut in and roll (not including prep time)  This one wall took a better part of a day (including drying time).  So if you are considering hiring someone to paint a darker color you may want to consider your color choice.  And I have to admit, changing to a different brand of paint made a huge difference.  Hopefully if you choose a darker paint color, you won’t be seeing red!


Speak Your Mind

20 − seven =