Ready, Set, Paint! Preparation for Painting

You've bought all of the supplies to paint but have you prepared the walls? Did you know you should? Well, here's a few small tips that will make painting easier and your finished product look like it was painted by a pro.
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The first step is to move all of the furniture away from the walls and protect the floor. This will not only protect your furniture, but make it a lot easier to get at the walls and corners without having to crawl over your love seat. Lay the drop cloth (plastic), making sure you tape it to the edge of the wall to prevent any paint from getting on the floor. We recommend that you use blue tape so that it will come up easy and not leave a residue behind.

This step may seem trivial, but it is essential to the finish product looking professional. So, now it's time to fill in those cracks and holes! This is the fun part, because it's also the easiest. Get some light weight spackle and a putty knife and just like your putting a shmear on your bagel, fill the hole with the spackle and then scrape away the excess. If there are any nails sticking out of the wall, you can either remove them with the back end of a hammer, or simply nail them in until they have fallen through leaving a small hole (otherwise known as countersinking). Spackle it and you're ready to go!


Let the spackle dry and then go over it with either 220-grit (fancy way of saying "fine") sandpaper or the scrubbing part of a dry dish sponge to smooth out any imperfections. But be careful of any scrub sponges with dark color - if there is any dampness, the color can rub off on your walls!

Latex or vinyl will work just fine. Regardless of the type you use, make sure they fit you well.


This is the perfect time to deal with any spots of mildew. Just to let you know, mildew is just plain stubborn. So, if you have mildew and you skip this step, it will show through the next coat of paint. It might not be immediate, but just your luck, you'll notice it right before your next big dinner party. So, make sure you do this! Wipe down any area showing mildew liberally with a 3-to-1 solution of water to bleach. Now, as we all know, bleach and skin don't mix very well, so make sure you have on a pair of functional gloves during this part.


Rinse down the entire wall with water to guarantee you don't trap any dust, dirt or cobwebs that will incorporate itself into the paint. It's the kind of wall décor you just don't need. Once you've finished, make sure to let the wall dry over night.


Most of us haven't ever used the next step but it is one that the professionals use. It's called Trisodium Phosphate or TSP. It's usually known as a heavy duty degreaser/cleaner, but we'll be using it to cause the paint to adhere better. It is important to know that if you don't thoroughly wash it off, it will prevent the paint from bonding. So make sure you're thorough! But trust us, it's a great product!


Any areas that needed to be spackled or repaired in some manner now need to be spot primed with a stain-blocking latex primer. You may need to use the thicker oil-based primer if the stains you are trying to cover up still show through.
This one even takes care of mildew! Prime the entire wall with the same stain-blocking primer.


Note: if you are painting over glossy paint, once you have filled in all of the gaps, sand all of the glossy areas with that same 220 grit sand paper. Flat surfaces are easier to sand if you use a sanding block whereas fluted surfaces are best prepared by brushing them with a stiff brass wire brush. After you've finished, remove the particulate residue with a damp cloth or a tack cloth. Then continue on with the primer until you've covered the entire surface area you're looking to paint.

That's it! Guess what? Once the primer is dry, you're ready to paint like a pro!
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