Have you ever painted a room in your house and were unsatisfied with the results? You may have wondered why it didn’t come out looking like the paint job on one of your favorite home improvement shows. And, you likely figured that they were using a special paint or had some kind of camera trick to make the room look better than what you could come up with.
Neither of those scenarios is likely. It’s more likely that you didn’t do the proper prep of the room before you began painting. It can be time-consuming, but the preparation before you paint is every bit as important as the actual painting technique and the type of paint used.
If you want it to look like a pro did it, you need to know how to prep first. In this article, I will go over several tips to keep in mind before touching the paintbrush to make sure the job comes out perfect.
Do An Inspection
The first thing to prepping your area is understanding exactly what you’re dealing with. When you see the defects firsthand, you will understand how to treat the area you plan to paint.
Do a walk-through and make notes of what looks off. You can even use some post-it notes and put them up directly on the area that needs work.
What you’re looking for are holes in the wall, chipped paint, mold or mildew spots, and other irregularities. If it looks like it will pose a problem for the paint, you need to know ahead of time. Each defect is going to be treated differently.
For instance, if you have mold, you’ll need to spray it with a mold remover. If there are holes, then you need putty. We’ll go over those details in depth in a minute.
Protect The Area
The best-case scenario is that the room you plan to paint has no furniture in it, and the floor or carpet in the area is going to be torn up or removed. This way, it doesn’t matter if any paint spills as it will be fixed later on.
Since many people will probably be dealing with a room that is lived in already, it pays to make some moves to protect it. Take all of the furniture away from the walls and then cover it up with old sheets or clear plastic tarps. Then put the tarps or sheets down over the floor to avoid any damage to it from dripping paint. As careful as you think you’ll be, there will surely be some dripping.
Also, sheets do leak if they get a lot of paint, so keep that in mind. Tarps or canvass do a much better job since nothing will pass through.
You may need to remove some of the smaller furniture from the room if possible, so you have room to move around.
Remove Vents And Plates
There are some things you don’t want to paint around as it will look amateurish and ugly to see paint where it should be. First and foremost, your wall plates for switches and outlets. These can be removed by unscrewing them from the wall and putting them aside.
The same should be done, if possible, with any vents. If you are painting a kitchen, there are likely some exhaust vents for your stove that should be removed, so you don’t paint over them. If you can’t remove them, then make sure to put some painter’s tape around the edge, so they don’t get paint on them.
Get Up High
There are a few ways to get those hard to reach spots, but the best way is to get on the level where those areas are. In other words, you want to paint as if you were standing on the floor and painting what is right in front of you.
Many people will opt for a good step stool or ladder. These should be avoided when possible, however. You have to be careful first of all, but you also don’t have much range of movement. So painting accurately is a challenge. You should make yourself a scaffold out of two ladders and then a bridge between them of a sturdy plank of wood. This will allow you to move around freely and have a good range of motion.
Patch It Up
Now that you have everything in place, you need to fix the defects that you noticed when you did your inspection. To patch up the holes from nails or other reasons, you should use some wood putty to fill the hole. Then use a putty knife to smooth it out and let it dry. When you paint over it, you won’t ever notice that there had been a hole there.
If there are any areas with mold, make sure to get some mold killer spray. Open some windows and spray the area down, making sure to cover the entire area with mold. Let it dry, and then you should be able to paint right over it.
If you are painting over plaster and not drywall, you may see some ridges and bumps from the dowel of the person who laid the plaster. You can sand this down to smooth it out, which will help the paint go on smoothly and evenly.
There will be some cases in which the prep time exceeds the actual time it takes to pain space. And this is actually a good thing. Don’t think of it as wasted time because the results will speak for themselves when the job is done.
These things are what professionals do, so it makes sense for you to do the same thing. It’s better to prep at the beginning than try to fix errors later on.