Everything you’ll ever need to know about preparing your home for painting

If you’ve decided your home could use a lick of paint and want to tackle the job yourself, there are a number of ways to make redecorating a smooth process. As with all home improvement tasks, being fully prepared will go a very long way to creating a far more professional-looking end result.

So what do you need to do before you assemble your arsenal of paintbrushes and rollers and crack open that fresh can of paint? Below are some tips from the experts:

  • The first thing you need to do is to move all of your furniture away from the walls so you can easily access all of the areas to be painted and ensure that your belongings do not become ruined. We suggest placing smaller pieces and anything fragile in another room, and moving heavy, or bulky pieces of furniture to the middle of the room. Anything that does remain in the room should be covered up with a drop cloth.
  • Of course your floor needs to be covered, too – but don’t cut corners by thinking that a few sheets of newspaper laid along the baseboards will suffice! Again, use a drop cloth and carefully tape it to the walls so that it doesn’t move and expose the flooring. You can buy specialist painter’s tape from your hardware store which is easy to remove and won’t leave a sticky goo on your walls afterwards.
  • Next, it’s time to pay attention to your walls. Tempting as it may be to paint over marks, smudges and fingerprints, this is not advisable. Paint sticks far better to clean surfaces and you will not obtain even coverage if you’re painting over dirt and stains. Not only that, but heavier markings, such as felt tip pen or scuff marks, may well show through even a couple of coats of paint, meaning you could be doubling or even tripling the amount of work you create for yourself. Most marks are easily removable with normal household cleaners and a damp cloth – just make sure you completely wipe away any residue left by the cleaning product.
  • If your walls are badly stained, covered in grease (as in a kitchen), or you want to paint over a surface that is painted with gloss, you’ll need to invest some more time and energy. Trisodium Phosphate is necessary for this – or TSP – which, when mixed with water, will remove the shine factor from gloss, as well as cut through heavy grime and grease, allowing your base coat to adhere to the surface more effectively. You’ll find the full instructions on the package, and you’ll be able to find TSP at any hardware store.
  • If you have mildew on your walls, now is the time to deal with it. While you’re at the hardware store, pick up some mildew remover, which you will need for wiping down any damp or mildewed patches. You can also use warm water and household bleach for this – the solution should be three parts water to one part bleach. Wipe down walls thoroughly with clean water after removing the mildew, too.
  • Now it’s time for the part that many home improvement fans dislike the most: filling in cracks, or holes. It’s not difficult, but it does take some time and needs to be done properly. For this you will need a putty knife and some light weight spackle. Load up your knife with an even layer of the spackle and smear it across cracks or dab it into holes. Create a smooth finish by scraping excess product away before it dries.
  • Once the spackle has completely dried, rub it down with a sheet of fine sandpaper to make sure the wall is smooth and the spackle won’t be visible when painted. Once you’ve eliminated bumps, give the spackled area a quick wipe over with a damp cloth to get rid of any dust.
  • Now, give your walls one last rinse by wiping them down with a damp cloth to remove any dust or dirt that may end up mixed in with the paint that could tarnish your end result. Don’t forget woodwork, including baseboards, window and door frames. Check the corners of the room and around light fittings for cobwebs too! The damp walls must be left to dry for a minimum of eight hours to ensure that your primer will bond properly.
  • Yes – we said primer. Sorry, but you’re not quite there yet! A coat of primer will ensure walls are perfectly prepared to receive their first coat of paint. After all, as the old saying goes, if a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well and, once you’ve come this far, you don’t want to gamble your end result by skipping the last step.

If all of this sounds a bit too much like hard work and you’d rather hand over the responsibility to someone else, why not give Sharper Impressions Painting a call? That way, all you have to worry about is the fun part – picking the perfect color!

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