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Pre- Painting Preparation


It’s officially the Christmas season and people are no doubt preparing for the holidays by “cleaning house” and doing minor renovations around the home.


One of the simplest and most common tasks people undertake around this time of year is re-painting. A fresh coat of paint is often all it takes to make your home holiday-ready. But before you grab the paintbrushes and rollers, you should take steps to ensure that the surfaces you intend to paint are in the best condition for painting. Preparing the surface will not only give you better looking results, but it will guarantee that your paint job will last much longer.

Painting on cracked, peeling, greasy or otherwise imperfect surfaces will leave you with unattractive results and will ultimately be a waste of time and money.

So, what should the surface look like before painting? Well, the best surface for painting is one that is clean, smooth, dry and free from cracks, holes and other flaws.

For surfaces that have previously been painted, applying a new coat is usually a simple process. First ensure that the surface is clean. You may need to wash of dirt buildup or grease with an appropriate cleaner. For light buildup, a simple soap and water solution may suffice. Heavier buildup of dirt and grease may require a stronger cleaning solution and a bit more effort. But it is necessary to ensure a smooth, uniform finish free from patches and splotches.

Once dirt and grease are cleaned off, make sure to rinse the surface thoroughly with water and allow it to dry before you paint.

If the surface has cracks or holes, these can be filled with a patching compound like putty. If this is used, make sure to sand the area that has been filled so that is it level with your surface.

Surfaces that have been painted multiple times may show signs of peeling. Loose paint should be removed, and the areas sanded before painting again.

Sanding previously painted surfaces should be done with protective equipment to prevent inhaling dust or potentially hazardous substances like lead that might be present.

If you’re painting a surface that has never been painted before, you will need to apply a base coat or primer. Priming not only ensures better adhesion of paint to the surface, but it provides additional protection for material being painted. It also prevents the paint from being absorbed into the surface.

All bare areas should be primed before the topcoat is applied. A primer may also be used before repainting surfaces that have heavy stains or water and smoke damage. The primer will help to conceal these imperfections before the topcoat is applied.

Perhaps you want to paint an area that is covered with wallpaper. Painting over the wallpaper is a no-no. You must remove the wallpaper first. This can be done using a chemical wallpaper remover or a steamer. Once the wallpaper has been removed, you will need to wash of any adhesive on the walls and allow the surface to dry completely before applying a primer.

The type of paint you should use is reliant on the material being painted.

For wood surfaces, latex semi-gloss or gloss paint would be the ideal choice.

For new plaster walls or drywall, latex paints are a great choice as it is easy to work with and easy to clean.

For concrete or cement surfaces, ensure that a primer is used for the best results.

Try not to paint new concrete or cement surfaces right away. It is usually recommended that new surfaces, for example a newly constructed wall, not be painted until at least 30 days. This is to allow the material to “cure”. Curing is a process of maintaining satisfactory moisture content and temperature that helps the material to set and develop the desired strength and durability.

If you cannot wait for 30 days, allow at least 7 days to cure and prime the surface with masonry primer.

New plaster can be cured by treating with a solution of vinegar and water until the surface becomes hard.

Also ensure that the paint you select is suitable for the purpose you are using it for. Using interior paints in outdoor applications may result in your paint job fading and becoming dull with direct exposure to sunlight and the elements. Use suitable paints for areas that are prone to moisture to prevent buildup of moss and mildew.


Prepping a room

So, you’ve weighed all the information and you’re ready to begin painting. Still, don’t just dive right into it. Take steps to protect furniture and items in the room from being splattered with paint.

Ideally, the room should be empty. Remove all items of furniture from the room if you can. If not, cover your furniture thoroughly with plastic covers. Cover your floors as well to prevent drops of paint from damaging your floor or carpet. This can be done using plastic or by simply spreading newspaper across your floor and taping it down to keep in securely in place. Protect wall fixtures like light switches and sockets with tape if you don’t want them being painted.

Remember to protect yourself too. Wear older clothing and have safety googles and a dust mask on hand. Make sure you have all the materials you will need for the job for example paint, paint trays, brushes, rollers, etc. But if you need professional help, contact us at TriniHelper, our Painters are ready to undertake your project.


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