Prep Before You Paint
When the paint dries, these 10 steps will go unnoticed, but skipping one can blow a perfect finish.
Synopsis: People often end up with less-than-satisfying results following a painting job because they failed to do the necessary prep work before they put brush to wall. Professional painter Jim Lacey notes the evidence of such jobs — peeling paint, mildew, and bleeding spots—and then lists 10 steps to take before starting to paint: Drop the entire room, organize and stage essential tools, light the space, remove wall and ceiling obstructions, wash down everything, assess the existing paint, repair any damage and fill any gaps, mask conservatively, prime walls but not ceilings, and give the wall a final sanding and cleaning. He also provides a list of 23 “must-have materials” for prepping a room to paint, from canvas drop cloths to auxiliary lighting.
For a lot of people, painting is dreadful. They complain that it’s messy and fussy, and that they don’t always get the results they hoped for. The truth is that most people end up with less-than-desirable results because they ignore the importance of proper preparation.
In the 20 years that I’ve been painting houses, I’ve learned how to size up quickly the results of poor prep work. The signs include paint peeling in sheets off doors and trim, mildew seeping through layers of paint, and bleeding spots on walls and ceilings — paint failures that easily could have been avoided.
At each job, I follow a basic routine that ensures a long-lasting, attractive paint job. I start by removing items from the room. Large items, such as couches, can be moved to the center of the space and covered with drop cloths. With a fresh canvas, I can begin the real prep work.
Drop the entire room
After the furniture is covered or removed, cover the floor with heavy-duty canvas drop cloths. Use 9-ft. by 12-ft. drop…