Originally Posted by ajmckay
No matter what kind of paint you buy IME it should work well as long as you take the time to prep the surface right. In contrast the best paint will perform poorly if what's behind it is in bad condition. I've never used a brand of paint that performed badly as long as the surface was prepped right (barring mfg defects covered by warranty/replacement). The finish is up to you, but typically a ceiling is flat (you can buy "ceiling paint" even) and walls are eggshell/semi-gloss. Personally I don't use gloss unless it's for a specific small area where it's wanted for aesthetic purposes. The surface has to be nearly perfect for glossy paint to look good.
So anyways, invest plenty of time in surface preparation. Assuming you're painting walls that have already been painted you will need to remove nails, scrape down protrusions, fill nail holes with spackle, and lightly sand the entire wall with medium grit sandpaper (100-150) or wall screen. Note that you should check to make sure your paint is not lead based if you're scraping and sanding. This sanding will dull any glossy finishes and remove residues and other imperfections that will show if you just paint over them. Then clean the walls with a damp sponge or some cheesecloth. Next, don't forget a primer. I find it helps a lot to put on a quick coat of primer. Nothing fancy, but it gives you a nice clean slate to work with.
As joe said don't mess with gimmicks.
For materials, instead of a roller pan I use a 5 gallon bucket with a paint grate hanging on the side. This allows you to haul around a whole gallon (or however much you need for the coat) without having to refill the pan constantly. You can get a ladder hook to hold the bucket securely on your ladder as well. The paint grate also provides a more even saturation of the roller (and you can set your brush on it while you're rolling). They're easy peasy to clean with a garden hose out in the yard.
finally, use a quality 2.5" angle sash brush and get a quality roller cover as well, I find 3/8" nap to be good for well prepped already painted surfaces. Before using the roller cover for the first time take 5 minutes and use your fingers to pull out as much of the loose fiber as you can. If you do this you will have very few (if any) "hairs" in the paint which IMO look crappy on a wall. And get a good dropcloth. I like to use a 3x15 canvas runner. This lets me usually paint an entire wall without having to move the dropcloth once. I'll also keep a shorter one for small areas and a large 12x12 when painting a ceiling or for covering furniture when sanding.
Thank you for your input AJ! These are really useful tips for me. Originally I thought we might be able to finish the whole condo in weekend, but now it doesn't seem practical at all lol. We can probably get all the preparation done though.