How to Get Ready to Paint

Jordan Paul , null

May 6th, 2022

How to Get Ready to Paint

Getting for a painting project may be the most time consuming part of the project, but also the most important. The quality of the preparation will usually be indicative of the quality of the final result. You’ll want to avoid missing this important first step of the process and ruining the whole project. Today we will discuss how the professionals prepare a project for painting and why.

The Surface Should Be As Clean As Possible

Cleaning a surface to be painted is not complicated, but it is easy to underperform. Visually, a wall may look ready for paint, but dust, oils, and other substances can cause the paint to run and cause unsightly drips. Professionals change their approach depending on what they are painting, but most will use a damp painter’s rag and remove any dust or oil using only water if possible. Any materials remaining are scraped away and the process is repeated until the surface is clean and dry.

Preparation usually includes:

  • Cleaning the walls as needed
  • Moving or Removing Furniture and other obstacles
  • Removing Light Fixtures, Switch Covers and Outlet Covers
  • Installing Drop Cloths
  • Sanding
  • Final wipedown with cheesecloth

Remove Obstacles In the Way Instead Of Painting Around Them

There is no reason to try and paint around switch or outlet covers, or any other easily removed obstacle. Any of these can be removed with a screwdriver. The same goes for light fixture globes, curtains, or area rugs. Painting around these objects is time consuming and may result in a blotchy job because of the cut -in work required. The pros will remove what furniture they can and lay down drop cloths on everything else.

Finish Repairs Before Painting

Any repair work, like filling in a crack or dent should be completed at this stage before any paint has been applied. Sanding will result in airborne dust (unless you use a dustless system), so you’ll need to wear a respirator. The pros use spackling compound for smaller repairs as it dries quickly and minimizes sanding.

Use Painter’s Tape, Petroleum Jelly, or Cellophane

Using painter’s tape, petroleum jelly, or cellophane to mask off areas is common, especially where colors change, a wall meets a ceiling, or trim is present. The pros know that painter’s tape will absorb moisture, so a pro trick is to apply several thin coats when painting over it. Overloading the brush or roller may result in soaking the tape, allowing paint to get under it.

A common pro trick is to apply petroleum jelly on the joint between the window glazings and the window frame. Latex paints are water based and will not stick to an oil based material like petroleum jelly, making cleaning up a breeze. The pros simply wipe a little onto the glass, being careful not to get any on the frame being painted. After the paint dries, the petroleum jelly can be easily wiped or scraped off.

An effective, but pricier option is to cover the glass with self adhesive cellophane. Available at any paint store, this cellophane can be applied to glass to protect it from paint, mortar, or other falling debris. When the project is complete, the cellophane can be removed in a matter of minutes, often making it cost effective.

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