What is “Cutting In” for Paint?

by Elayne Jassey 08/11/2019

If you’ve never painted a home before, the term “cutting in” may be new to you, but to seasoned painters, it can either be your worst nightmare or your favorite part. Cutting in is a method of painting that eliminates most of the extensive prepping required when you follow all those painting instructions: remove all cover plates from light switches and power outlets; cover the floor with drop cloths, apply masking tape or painter’s tape around all the window and door trim, baseboards and crown molding! 

What it requires

The one item most necessary for learning the technique of cutting in is a steady hand. In addition to that you’ll need a good eye, and a really good brush. An angle brush is best because it makes sharper edges with thinner paint so there’s less chance of it running or dripping.

What Is It?

In the simplest terms, cutting in is freehand painting the straight lines along trim and other elements not slated for that paint color. If you can master it, you eliminate the need to mask everything off, so your job is completed that much faster.

What does it look like?

If your trim around your windows and doors, chair rail and crown molding is white and your wall will be green, you carefully paint a smooth line alongside the molding in your green paint, extending it out a couple inches so that when you roll the rest of the wall, your roller doesn’t need to come too close to the paint. The positives outweigh the negatives here:• Positives: Less time prepping; less time cleaning up and removing paint; reduced cost (the good tape is really expensive); instant gratification because you can see what it will look like right away, and the knowledge that you did it yourself.• Negatives: You’ll need to buy a really good brush; if you slip up and get a splotch of colorful paint on your white trim, it may take some extra effort to cover it up.

How to

Get yourself the best quality 1-1/2 inch to 2-inch angle brush you can afford, and a small can or paint tray that you can easily hold in one hand. Specialty “cut buckets” have no lip so it keeps paint from building up on the edge, but a plastic quart-sized container works just as well.

Practice painting with a piece of masking tape or paint guide until you can make a straight line the thickness you desire, and that doesn’t drip or run.

Now fill your bucket and get to work. Start in a location that has open access, such as a door or window in the middle of the wall. You want to build up your confidence before you get in one of those tight places.

Place the bristles at an angle and draw your brush down alongside the trim, breaking away from the edge every several inches until you feel sure of yourself. Keep a moist paper towel handy to quickly wipe off mistakes while the paint is still wet. Soon, you’ll have the whole room edged and ready to roll.

If you don’t think this technique is for you, ask your professional realtor for a referral of a qualified painter.

About the Author
Author

Elayne Jassey

 

Your Neighborhood Expert!

Hi, I'm Elayne Jassey and in addition to my passion for real estate, I have a passion for my family, people, competitive games and Stamford! I have loved living in Stamford, Connecticut for the last 35 years. During that time I raised two daughters here and became quite involved in our local civic life. I was very active in Board of Education affairs during all the years my daughters spent in the Stamford public schools, and my early experience as a middle school teacher gave me a great appreciation for the strengths of the Stamford schools. I am currently a member of our Downtown Committee and I'm delighted to have participated in processes that have resulted in everything from encouraging the University of Connecticut to move into their new-in-town branch location, to bringing the excitement of the area's largest Thanksgiving Day Parade, complete with soaring balloons and marching bands, to town. 

I suspect the greatest joy in my professional life is that I meet and work with so many different and interesting people. I enjoy my customers and I am pleased that I build close relationships with them that I maintain for years. These relationships have resulted in a high degree of customer loyalty, and most importantly many close and rewarding friendships. In fact, I continue to work with people I listed, rented or sold properties to when I first entered the profession, and now I have begun selling to the next generation in their families! 

When not spending time with my family or savoring time with my granddaughter as she explores the world, I love to play games. Whether participating in a hard-fought game of Scrabble, playing cards or coming up with the answers in word games and puzzles, I am energized by good competition and problem-solving. In fact, I find creating a successful real estate transaction is a composite of all the things I most enjoy. It combines the problem-solving excitement of detective work with the joy of matchmaking. Each new customer presents a unique set of needs and goals, a special personality and a sense of individual style, all within clearly defined financial strictures. Understanding all these factors and fitting the pieces together successfully is the challenge that makes the selling of real estate so special to me. And it allows me to use my considerable energy, enthusiasm, and entrepreneurial spirit to work hard at meeting my own personal goals. 

People often say that I am a very lucky person. I agree. I live in a community I love. I am surrounded by family and friends, and work in a profession that still engages me deeply. And I've noticed that the harder I work, the luckier I am!