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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a buddy who is a good painter but he does a lot of “blow and go” jobs and swears taping lines is for hacks. I do mostly high end custom work and swear that in my world I couldn’t survive without my trusty PG-29 and Sw 850. Can I cut a nice looking line by hand? Sure. Would I rather cut perfect lines, especially with dark walls into white textured ceilings? Yep.

I’ve heard a lot of painters over the years claim they can cut a “perfect” line by hand but I swear to God, I’ve never seen a truly PER-FECT, laser straight, hand cut line especially on textured walls and ceilings, dark onto white.

what do you all think? Is it possible to get truly perfect laser lines by hand? Do I just suck at hand cuts?
 

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We live in the land of texture and having a knockdown on a ceiling with orange peel on the walls is very common. I almost never taped at the seam due to the tape conforming to the texture - which rarely ended up being even close to straight. Doing it by hand and more importantly, by eye, so there was the appearance of a straight line - was much more effective, at least for me.
What did drive me crazy was when a previous painter, who couldn’t cut decently, would bring the ceiling color down onto the wall in places so you would see this white, uneven line all around the room - it really jumps out at you.
 

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I'm assuming your title was to be TAPE/Caulk lines? If your throwing caulk into the equation that is different. I just did a set of interior stair kicks with this method. Tape, caulk, paint and the lines were laser straight. Great method.
 

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We live in the land of texture and having a knockdown on a ceiling with orange peel on the walls is very common. I almost never taped at the seam due to the tape conforming to the texture - which rarely ended up being even close to straight. Doing it by hand and more importantly, by eye, so there was the appearance of a straight line was much more effective - at least for me.
What did drive me crazy is when a previous painter, who couldn’t cut decently, would bring the ceiling color down onto the wall in places so you would see this white, uneven line all around the room - it really jumps out at you.
Do you ever caulk where the wall meets ceiling? I don't have to deal with texture walls, but will run a bead to a textured ceiling to get a better line to cut.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
We live in the land of texture and having a knockdown on a ceiling with orange peel on the walls is very common. I almost never taped at the seam due to the tape conforming to the texture - which rarely ended up being even close to straight. Doing it by hand and more importantly, by eye, so there was the appearance of a straight line was much more effective - at least for me.
What did drive me crazy is when a previous painter, who couldn’t cut decently, would bring the ceiling color down onto the wall in places so you would see this white, uneven line all around the room - it really jumps out at you.
Knockdown ceilings and Orange peel walls?!? Wow!! mind blown That sounds horrendous. To address the profile discrepancy at the ceiling wall seam couldn’t you just strike a small bead of caulk before taping (like painters bead/ <1/8” not carpenter’s bead/ > 1/2”) to provide a clean rounded corner for the tape line? Maybe I’m not envisioning your point correctly but trying to hand cut that sounds like a flipping NIGHTMARE.
And yes, I agree, if there is a visible ceiling cut in down on to the wall, the painter responsible should have whatever they used to cut the lines (roller, brush or spray gun) stuck where the sun don’t shine…sideways.

I always tell people who “just want the ceilings painted” and I don’t know personally/owe a favor to that painting ceilings only already requires that I move all of the furniture and cover all the flooring (I am super anal about paint on floors/furnishings) and that if we are gonna go to all that trouble, it’s probably not a bad time to just freshen up the walls as well. If they are too cheap to go for it, I politely give them the number of another painter and move on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm assuming your title was to be TAPE/Caulk lines? If your throwing caulk into the equation that is different. I just did a set of interior stair kicks with this method. Tape, caulk, paint and the lines were laser straight. Great method.
Yes. The taping part of that equation is super important.
 

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Do you ever caulk where the wall meets ceiling? I don't have to deal with texture walls, but will run a bead to a textured ceiling to get a better line to cut.
Never did that. Occasionally, if the texture was extreme, I would take an item such as a screw driver and carefully score a line at the ceiling/wall joints. That would help to give a more even line to edge to. Less occasionally, I would run into a job where the drywall guy had created such a line himself while his texture mud was still soft.
I will also add that most of the time the textures are fairly subtle so creating a good line isn’t hard - especially if you are used to doing it. I just never liked to rely on tape to do for me what I felt I could do very well without it and there was the added plus of time save in not taping. About the only time I used tape alone (no paper) for protection was on the top edge of baseboards to counter any downward roller splatter.
 

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Never did that. Occasionally, if the texture was extreme, I would take an item such as a screw driver and carefully score a line at the ceiling/wall joints. That would help to give a more even line to edge to. Less occasionally, I would run into a job where the drywall guy had created such a line himself while his texture mud was still soft.
I will also add that most of the time the textures are fairly subtle so creating a good line isn’t hard - especially if you are used to doing it. I just never liked to rely on tape to do for me what I felt I could do very well. About the only time I used tape alone (no paper) for protection was on the top edge of baseboards to counter any downward roller splatter.
I was taught to score a line with a 5in1 to before cutting in to popcorn ceilings, and have passed that on to all my helpers through the years.
 

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Do you ever caulk where the wall meets ceiling? I don't have to deal with texture walls, but will run a bead to a textured ceiling to get a better line to cut.
I always do, if they are both getting painted. I come from the land of texture as well. Hell, I'll usually run a bead down regular corners (that I dont need to cut in) just for giggles.
 

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I have always found it easier to hand cut lines than spend the time and money taping. Yes, some times you have to caulk or scrape a line first, but the architecture gives you a straight line to brush against, and if the paint gets under the tape you don’t know it until you pull the tape off.
 

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Somewhere early on in my first "real" painting job I asked about taping. The rest of the crew all stopped what they were doing briefly to give me a puzzled look. I don't remember if anyone said anything or not. They probably just turned back to their work. Obviously this is just a thing that varies in the industry, and I learned from non-tapers.

In any case, I usually don't tape unless I'm spraying. Oddly, no clients have ever asked me about it or asked me to do it. I'll not claim all "perfect" lines, and do sometimes create extra touch-up needs when I make a mess of something. But I get no complaints - literally zero - about lines. On the flip side, I do get the occasional "I don't understand how you do that without tape." Frankly, cutting lines is one of the more challenging and thus interesting aspects of a paint job to me.
 

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I just appreciate the fact that with so many varying opinions, not one person has tried to proclaim that either taping or no-taping is the best way. IMO, it's whatever will achieve the desired results in the least amount of time, given the conditions of the substrate, the paint color/s, and where the strengths of the particular painter are greatest. I learned from a non-taper. I was always amazed at how he could roll over top of baseboards without hardly ever even getting little micro-splatters. I've never been so lucky, so I am typically a taper, but within reason. Walls-to-ceiling never get taped, but like @RH, I live in the land of heavy texture, so I'm not sure what good it'd do to tape heavily orange-peel textured walls to knockdown or brocade ceilings anyways.

For new guys, I have them tape until they get to a point where they can make their own decisions, and as long as the end result is efficient with very crisp, clean lines, I'll encourage them to decide for themselves whether tape should be used or not. So many of these threads end up with at least someone preaching their way is the only way, or at least the only "professional" way, but as we all know, there's many different ways to get to the finish line.
 

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I just appreciate the fact that with so many varying opinions, not one person has tried to proclaim that either taping or no-taping is the best way. IMO, it's whatever will achieve the desired results in the least amount of time, given the conditions of the substrate, the paint color/s, and where the strengths of the particular painter are greatest. I learned from a non-taper. I was always amazed at how he could roll over top of baseboards without hardly ever even getting little micro-splatters. I've never been so lucky, so I am typically a taper, but within reason. Walls-to-ceiling never get taped, but like @RH, I live in the land of heavy texture, so I'm not sure what good it'd do to tape heavily orange-peel textured walls to knockdown or brocade ceilings anyways.

For new guys, I have them tape until they get to a point where they can make their own decisions, and as long as the end result is efficient with very crisp, clean lines, I'll encourage them to decide for themselves whether tape should be used or not. So many of these threads end up with at least someone preaching their way is the only way, or at least the only "professional" way, but as we all know, there's many different ways to get to the finish line.
Ask 100 painters how to do something and you’ll get 123 different answers.
 
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