How to properly prep for interior painting

We all want a nice finish when we paint our living spaces, but the secret to getting this, has less to do with the painting and more to do with the preparation.

Yes, it seems that the more thorough you are before you get out the brushes and rollers, the better the result you get. So let’s look at how you should be prepping your walls for painting, if you’re seeking a gorgeous and long-lasting result.

First, get the room ready

One of the first things to do as you prepare to paint is to move as much large furniture out of the room as you can. Obviously some of the larger items can’t be shifted. You need to move them to the center of the room and cover them so they don’t get splashed or spattered with drops of paint. You will also want to cover your carpets and floorboards with cloth drops. The best material for this is canvass which is able to absorb paint and lie flat on the ground. Canvas can also be folded around corners and doors. Plastic can be used but it tends to move about more or can get slippery.

Obviously you’ll move any pictures, clocks and mirrors that are on your wall, but many people forget that it’s equally important to take off switches, or loosen the ceiling plates of light fixtures etc. If this isn’t possible, you’ll have to cover them with painter’s tape. This masking process protects your fixtures from your paint brushes but can also be used on ceiling edges and around trim and mouldings to ensure you have clean sharp lines. Masking can take quite a while to do, but it’s worth doing well if you want a professional, and spatter free finish – the hallmarks of a professional job.

Clean the walls

All walls pick up dirt, dust and fingermarks over time, and this surface dirt and grease can result in your paint not adhering to the wall properly. So prior to painting, walls should be cleaned with damp cloths soaked in a light detergent or trisodium phosphate. Pay attention to doors and trim in particular, as these are areas that come into contact with people’s hands the most, and make sure that you remove any residue of detergent and allow the walls to dry before you start to paint.

Fill the holes

You’re not quite at the painting stage just yet. Now it’s time to look over your walls and surfaces to find any cracks, nail or screw holes and dents because these need filling. Rake out any loose particles or lumps of plaster first. Then get a good quality spackling paste or wall filler and press this into cracks and holes with a putty knife. Make sure it is flush with the surface of the wall by sanding it down when it’s dry. There are often gaps and cracks where door and window trim meets the walls; fill these in the same way. Some types of wall filler can shrink as it dries out, so you may have to apply it again after you’ve completed your first coat of paint.

Scrape away bumps

You will also need to scrape any cracked or flaking paint with a scraper or smooth away lumps with sandpaper. If you do have to remove any old paint, sandpaper the edges to ensure a smooth surface, so that when your new coat goes on, the edges won’t be noticed. If it’s a particularly bumpy wall, it could be worth getting the electric sander out. But make sure you wipe away any dust afterwards.

Prepare your equipment

Are you ready to paint yet? Well not quite. We told you it pays to do a thorough job. You now need to get all the painting materials together. This means the paint, obviously, but also primer, can openers, stirring sticks, brushes, (separate ones for latex paints and oil-based paint) your rollers, (with extension if needed) paint trays and cloths. It’s also a good idea to have a hot pot of coffee ready and a plate of cookies at hand.

Use a primer

A good primer will help to disguise any imperfections in the wall surface. It can also block stains and knots from bleeding through your paint, improve adhesion and reduce the chance of your paint blistering. Best of all, a good primer can extend the lifetime of your top coat. If you have new drywall, you will want to use a water based primer. If your walls have water or smoke damage, an oil-based primer is a better option. Here’s a good tip for you, put a little of the topcoat paint into your primer, this enhances the look of the top coat, especially if you’re using a lighter paint over an existing dark color.

Okay now you’re ready to paint

If you want a truly professional finish of course, you need to hire a professional team, like the experts at Sharper Impressions. If you’re planning to paint, why not get in touch and we can do the job for you.