Preparing the Space to Paint

Good preparation is the key to a good paint job. Most reputable painters will take care of preparation work before beginning the job. This is something that needs to be discussed before signing any contracts. Homeowners should clearly understand how much or how little preparation work each contractor is intending to do.

Furniture. Remove all furniture from the room that is about to be painted. If furniture cannot be easily taken out, move it to the center of the room and cover it with a drop cloth.

Surface. Paint should only be applied to a clean, well-prepared surface. Any peeled or cracked paint must be removed through scraping, sanding, or both. Simply painting over peeled or cracked paint allows unsightly problems to quickly reemerge. All mold and mildew on the surface should also be removed before applying new paint. Existing glossy paint should be “dulled” or “deglossed” through sanding so that a good bond between the old paint and the new paint is formed. Holes should be filled or patched. The area should be cleaned using a strong cleaner, such as a TSP, or trisodium phosphate, solution. Cleaners should be thoroughly rinsed before applying paint.

Primer and sealer. Primer provides a base for new paint to adhere to, and it makes the paint more durable. Before painting, prime any uncoated surfaces, bare wood, repaired areas, or paneled walls. Sealers should be used when undergoing a drastic color change.

Fixtures. Before painting, unscrew and remove all fixtures and outlet covers from the walls. This will save time during the edging process.

Tape. Masking tape is commonly used to keep paint off items that cannot be removed, such as glass, built-in fixtures, door handles, and latches. An alternative to masking tape is painter’s tape. It is frequently chosen because it has lower tack than masking tape, making it easier to pull off. To keep stray paint from seeping underneath the painter’s tape, painters may try rapidly running a flat tool down the edges of the tape. This friction causes heat and melts the tape’s glue. When the glue dries, it will create a stronger barrier that is more difficult for paint to penetrate.