Preparing for Interior Painting

Home Improvement

Preparing for Interior Painting

Even more important than the actual painting itself when it comes to interiors is preparation. Most people just dive right in and hope they have everything they need and know everything they need to know. But preparation can make the difference between a neat, attractive and lasting job versus a complete mess. These tasks can be completed over time – don’t try to get them all done in a weekend. Use the weeks before the actual painting weekend to prepare.

The home interior painter’s tools may take some time and investment to put together, but the end result will be worth it. Tools and materials needed to prepare your walls include items that protect the painter as well as get the job done:

l old clothes l head protection (cap or scarf)l rubber gloves l ear protection

l surgical mask (available at hardware stores)l safety glasses l fine-grit sandpaper l paint scrapers l screwdrivers l putty knife l detergent and ammonia or tri-sodium phosphate (TSP)l sponges l primer or adhesive pad

l orbital sander l wallpaper steamer l adhesive drywall tape l fan l hand sanding block l spackle

Believe it or not, your area may require that you apply for a permit to paint the inside of your house. The cost is minimal, but whenever you are spending in excess of a certain amount of money on home improvement – sometimes as little as $100 – a permit is required. Check with your county government to find out the requirements before you begin. Once that’s done and you’ve gathered your supplies, it’s time to get started.

First, remove everything from the walls – pictures, any sort of hangings, including their nails, and move furniture out from the walls several feet, or even out of the room if you can. Whatever’s left should be covered with a drop cloth. Turn off the electricity so you can remove light fixtures, switch plates and outlet plates, and wrap all disconnected light fixture wires. Once all wires are safely wrapped, you can turn the electricity back on.

Now it’s time to make any needed repairs to walls and ceilings. If you have large holes or cracks that need fixing, it’s a good idea to get more extensive instruction. There are many good wall repair manuals available at your hardware store, so it’s a good idea to invest in one of those to ensure the best job possible. Repairing little cracks is a little simpler. For small hairline cracks, spread spackle over them, let dry and sand smooth. If there’s any loose or bubbled paint, scrape it off. Don’t forget to vacuum up any dust that results.

Now comes the hard part – thoroughly cleaning the walls and ceilings. Paint will adhere much better to clean walls and there’s less chance of bubbling. And if there’s any wallpaper glue residue left on the walls, the result is an interesting pattern under your paint that you hadn’t planned on. Walls should all be washed with ammonia and detergent, or a cleanser like Spic and Span, or tri-sodium phosphate, which is available at your hardware store. Be sure to wear your rubber gloves when working with these solutions. After a meticulous scrubbing, walls and ceilings should be rinsed thoroughly with water. Do this twice if after drying you feel residue on your surfaces.

If your walls have stains from water damage, permanent markers or other sources, clean and scrub them as best you can, rinse and let dry completely. Then you’ll want to seal the stains with shellac or other commercial spot primer from your hardware store. Don’t ignore mildew either or it will come through your new paint job. To get rid of it, mix bleach in with your TSP (or if you’re using household cleanser, read the label to be sure that it’s safe to mix bleach with).

If you’re painting over a gloss or semi-gloss paint, you will need to “degloss” it before painting or the new paint will peel off. You can do this by lightly sanding the surface with fine-grit sandpaper or use a liquid deglosser, again available at your hardware or paint store. A word of caution, however – if you use the liquid deglosser, you must paint over it within an hour, although it’s faster and less messy than sanding. Finish this phase up with a painstaking vacuum job.

Next comes masking, using two- or three-inch masking tape. Mask off all woodwork trim and cover the windows with newspaper and your masking tape. Be sure that your tape edges are straight. You’ll need to mask the perimeter floor also. Don’t bother masking around the ceiling, however, as you’ll do a process called “cutting in” when you paint. Do not remove the tape for at least 24 hours after painting to avoid pulling up part of your paint job with it.

To prime or not to prime – that is the question. On never-before-painted surfaces, it’s a must, but it’s even a good idea on already painted walls too. It minimizes lap marks, helps with evenness of color and seals the surface, which adds up to a longer-lasting, better-looking paint job. Surfaces previously painted with enamel or gloss don’t need to be primed.

Now you’re ready to paint.