Paint cansPhoto by lisegagne/iStockphoto.com

Remember last year when I mentioned that I would share my brother Troy’s painting tips? Well, now is as good a time as any to follow through—especially because Sherwin-Williams has proclaimed this National Painting Week.

All this week Sherwin-Williams is offering design, color, and painting ideas at NationalPaintingWeek.com. Each day has a designated color with a fun project idea to try in your own home. Best of all, in honor of National Painting Week, Sherwin-Williams will provide one lucky Crafty Nest reader with five gallons of FREE paint! Keep reading to find out how to win.

I paint a lot of furniture, so I’ve offered advice on that subject. But I’m far from an expert when it comes to painting walls. Instead of giving you the same canned advice that we’ve already heard over and over: fill nail holes, paint in a W shape, etc. (yawn), I interviewed two pros who aren’t afraid to name the best tools and colors.

First Becky Ralich, a Sherwin-Williams color and design expert, will share her paint color advice. Then Troy Ewing, a builder and house painter, will share his best painting tips and favorite tools for getting the job done fast—and right the first time.

Tips and photos after the jump!

Becky Ralich’s color tips

Q: What are some current paint color trends?

A: Popular colors are blue and teal and shades of tangerine and orange for inside the home. Neutrals in rich, warm shades are being used frequently on the outside of the home.

Bright colors

Q: Personally, I’m sick of seeing taupe/tan walls everywhere. Are there other neutral/warm colors you can suggest instead?

A: If you are thinking about warm, neutral colors but want something a little different Decor White (SW 7559), Sundew (SW7688), Travertine (SW 7722) and Ivoire (SW 6127) are great options, as well as, Netsuke (SW 6134) and Sedate Gray (SW 6169), which are part of our Neutral Nuance color palette from the HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams collection.

Warm neutral paint colors

Q: What colors would you choose for someone who wants light-colored walls but is bored with white?

A: There are a lot of light colors to choose from aside from white, as an alternatives think about: Summer White (SW 7557), Destiny (SW 6274), Topsail (SW 6217), Sea Salt (SW 6204), Roycroft Vellum (SW2833) or Hinoki (SW 7686).

White alternative paint colors

Q: Any other paint color tips?

A: When it comes to color selection, we have several tools to help build confidence in color selection, from Chip It!, which takes online photos and identifies up to 10 corresponding Sherwin-Williams colors, or our color visualizer, where you can digitally repaint your space.

Troy Ewing’s paint tools and tips

I feel compelled to reveal that neither Troy nor I were paid by Sherwin-Williams to write this. It was just an uncanny coincidence that Troy loves S-W products. And I just got off the phone with my dad. He says he’s been using S-W paint and stains exclusively for 40 years, and he never had a reason to switch. The exterior of the house I grew up in was painted twice in 20+ years, and the paint never flaked. That’s quite an endorsement. Maybe Sherwin-Williams should be paying us!

The best painting tools

Painting tools

5-gallon bucket with bucket grid: Paint trays are old school, and they’re a pain because you get paint everywhere. I use a 5-gallon bucket with a bucket grid. Buckets are big, deep, and all the paint stays where it’s supposed to stay.

Paint roller and extension pole

Paint roller frame and extension pole: Sherwin-Williams KWIK-Release paint roller frames are commercial-grade quality. They spin better and have a sturdier handle. Cheaper models bent as I was rolling them. And the quick-release makes roller covers easier to get on and off. The Wooster 2 ft.- 4 ft. Sherlock extension pole is lightweight, sturdy and just the right length to reach standard height walls.

The best roller covers

Roller covers: I use the roller covers that are sold individually in green/black packaging at The Home Depot (there is no name brand on the packaging). The cheaper brands and economy roller covers don’t hold or spread paint well. I use 3/8-inch nap for interiors, and 1/2-inch nap for rough surfaces such as exterior stucco.

The best paint brushes

Paint brushes: Purdy paint brushes are the best. The brushes made by the same roller-cover manufacturer above are also good. I usually buy the 3-pack at The Home Depot because it’s economical and the sizes are just what I need.

Taping edges

2-inch blue painter’s tape: I use 2-inch blue tape almost exclusively because it’s mistake-proof. If you’re not painting the ceiling, and you roll up the wall and your roller touches the ceiling, the 2-inch tape covers the surface area of the roller. You’re covered.

Caulk: I only use Dynaflex 230 White, for a few reasons. It costs more, but I have used regular painter’s caulking and have had problems with cracks and shrinkage after one week. Dynaflex 230 has Elastomeric latex in it that prevents cracking and shrinkage. It’s paintable too.

The best paint

Sherwin-Williams paint: I’ve used Kelly-Moore, Benjamin Moore, Behr—all the major brands—but I like Sherwin-Williams the best. I’ve never had a problem with S-W paint. It lays down on the first coat. The other brands are watered down and require more coats. One brand chipped after just one year—even though the surface was properly prepped and primed.

Painting tips and tricks

To make super straight paint lines on a semi-smooth to rough surface: Mask off with blue tape, then run clear caulking along the tape edge. (Use the same brand caulking as above, just clear instead of white. It goes on white and dries clear.) You only need a 1/8-inch bead along the tape, so cut the tip of the caulking accordingly.

Smear the caulking along tape edge, then paint the surface. Pull off the blue tape within 30 minutes after you finish painting that wall. If you wait too long, the caulking will have time to dry, and the tape will stick. Tape, caulk, paint, and remove the tape all in the same day. (You can also tape the night before.)

The caulking prevents the spreading of paint under the tape. Frog tape on rough surfaces doesn’t always work. This trick does. The caulking tip also works good in corners, such as ceiling-to-wall, wall-to-wall, or where two different colors meet and you want a straight line.

Another caulking trick: When caulking the top of a baseboard, hold your finger at the end of the caulking tip and squirt the caulking out as you go across. Your finger wipes excess ans seals as you’re caulking along the top edge at the same time. Huge time saver!

Tape windowsills

Painting is 90 percent prep work, and 10 percent painting. If you do it right, you tape off every surface: windowsills, baseboards—everything. Remove all switch plates and outlet covers too. And always use drop cloths.

Removing tape

Remove tape at an angle, not straight on, to prevent peeling off the paint.

The paint giveaway

To enter to win five gallons of FREE Sherwin-Williams paint, leave a comment on this post telling us what room(s) and what color(s) you plan to paint. The deadline is Friday, April 27, 2012. One commenter will be chosen at random. Good luck!