How Important Is Preparation before Painting?

preparation before painting

Painting is more than just buying a can of paint and some brushes and slapping it on the walls. A certain amount of preparation is necessary to ensure the surfaces are smooth and the paint adheres well. Otherwise, the results will look shoddy and the paint will peel or crack. There are several steps necessary to get the best results.

1. Protect the Area.

Before any actual “work” begins, the surrounding area needs to be protected from damage during the painting process. That means any furniture and possessions in the paint area should be removed. Any stationary items, like carpeting, heavy furniture, appliances and the like should be covered with tarps or drop cloths. This not only protects but makes the cleanup process easier and faster.

2. Remove Old Paint.

It’s not always necessary to remove paint before applying a new coat, but if the paint is chipping and flaking, you’ll need to remove the loose paint if you want a smooth surface. This is especially true if you’re working with older homes and surfaces that have many old layers of paint. Speaking of older homes, some of them may have lead paint and asbestos involved, so it’s critical to your health to wear protective gear when dealing with those elements. There are tools available to facilitate paint removal, like infrared heaters, but you’ll still need to manually scrape off the loosened paint.

How important is preparation before painting? download

3. Repair Imperfections.

Are there gouges in the surface, nail holes, or other issues that will affect the quality of the painted surface?  If so, you will need to correct them prior to proceeding. That could involve drywall, spackling and other treatments. You may need to apply fillers more than once. Allow them to dry between applications. You’ll be able to tell if you need to repeat the process if they aren’t completely filled in and even with the surrounding surface.

4. Sand the Surface.

After you have removed the paint and repaired the imperfections, you’ll be left with a lumpy, uneven surface. Sanding the surface will make it smooth and even. Sanding generates a lot of dust, so the surfaces will need to be completely cleaned before painting.

5. Clean Completely.

Cleaning the surface that is to be painted is important, whether or not you’ve sanded it. Dirt and debris accumulate and must be removed completely. If the surfaces are indoors, using a mild detergent solution. Exteriors can be power washed but do so with care. If the power washer is set too high, it may damage the surface.

6. Prime the Surface.

The next step is to apply primer to surface. Primer will help mask minor imperfections and make the paint look more uniform. It will also help the paint adhere better and last longer. It’s important to use a quality primer. If applying directly to drywall, a water-based primer is best. For heavily-stained walls or walls with paneling or smoke/water damage, use an oil-based primer.

7. Tape off Areas that Aren’t Being Painted.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how often amateurs ignore this step. What results is a sloppy paint job, where paint winds up on trim, windows, and ceilings where it wasn’t intended. If you tape off baseboards, window frames and door frames, you won’t need to worry so much about a steady hand. The job will go quicker as well, since you aren’t slowing down around those areas.

8. Buy Quality Paint.

Yes, paint is expensive. But if you go with the cheaper products, you’ll get what you pay for. Using high-quality paint will result in a smoother, more uniform surface that will last much longer. You may save in the short term, but you’ll pay more because it will need repainting much quicker.

Let the Professionals Deal with the Prep

If you need residential painting, why do it yourself? A quality paint job is better achieved by hiring a professional like Walla Painting. We know the importance of proper preparation and we have the expertise and tools to provide the professional results you want and deserve.

Walla Painting is a local painting company, serving our neighbors in Hamilton County, Zionsville, and Geist, IN. We live, hire, and operate from within our community. We have won the Angie's List Super Service Award 10 years in a row for our personal customer service and detailed workmanship.

Contact us today to receive a free quote for your next residential painting project.