How To Prep a Room for Painting

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Great Valspar Resources for Painting:

There it is: you’ve just moved into your fabulous new condo, and you’re all excited to start shopping for swag draperies and cunning antiques, but you’re still faced with the previous owner’s Burnt Pumpkin dining room and color-washed foyer in Hot Pink. How do you prepare a room for painting? Here are the steps you’ll need to take:


1. Fill in your nail holes. Nails holes can be filled using lightweight patching compound. This material dries fast and can be smoothed with a damp sponge when wet or finished dry with 120-150 grit sandpaper. For larger repairs, several layers of joint compound may be needed to “fill” the surface as patching compounds can shrink as they dry.

2. Fill in dents on wood and window sills. See above. You can use a lightweight compound here, too. It can be used on wood surfaces and is much easier to handle than plastic wood. You can also use a Ready Patch. which is wet-spongeable and easy to handle.

3. If you need to, sand off a previous coating, like a texture. Recommend using silicon carbide, garnet or drywall screen. Once sanding is completed, the surface should be washed with a solution of TSP (Tri Sodium Phosphate) and water, rinsed and allowed to dry thoroughly.

4. Caulk in your baseboards. Use a painter’s caulk to seal in all those cracks and crevices on door frames, windows and baseboards. This is actually our number one secret, and helps you cut in a straight line on trim work. You don’t see the results, as much as you feel them.

5. Spot-prime your plaster patches. These days, paint products are so much better than they used to be, and many paint products are self-priming. We rarely prime whole rooms anymore, but you do need to spot prime repairs, new substrates, and stain-kill those water marks.

6. Prime your dark colors. Use a high hiding primer when going from dark colors to light. Use a tinted primer for going from light colors to dark. And don’t skimp on topcoat quality. You’ll save time and money to avoid multiple coats of paint.

7. Tape, if you must. Tape invariably bleeds, but for the non-professional, cutting long lines free hand can be difficult, so using painters tape will help in delivering crisp and straight lines. While the tape should always be pulled before the coating dries, doing so will allow the wet edge to flow over, creating a more natural appearance on the final project.

8. Cover up with drop cloths and canvas. Drop cloths will help to protect underlying surfaces and carpeting, but remember, only the plastic variety will actually “hold” paint. Canvas drop cloths, while great for catching drips, will allow larger amounts of paint to soak through if left to sit.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

(Images: Mark Chamberlain)