How to properly prepare your paint project
(ARA) – A simple paint project is an easy way to add a pop of color and upgrade your home decor. And while choosing the latest color trends may be the most exciting part of painting a room, it isn’t the most important step in the process. The way you prep the room can affect the final result of the DIY project.
“Prepping the job determines how well the paint will adhere to walls and trim,” says professional painter Dan Brady. “Preparation is the most important part of the job and there are three critical steps you should always follow.”
Start your paint project by removing all window treatments, light fixtures and electrical outlet plates. The first step in properly prepping your room is to clean and degrease all surfaces. You want to make sure the surface is free of dust, dirt and fingerprints. Applying a coat of paint over dirt or residue left on the walls can leave your job looking unprofessional. A simple household cleaner will do the trick for minor cleaning. If you are painting in the kitchen of your home, Brady recommends using a mixture of vinegar and water to clean grease and food stains.
Normal wear and tear such as moving furniture, hanging pictures with nails or even dents from a doorknob can damage your drywall. The next step in the paint prep process is to make any needed repairs to drywall and then sand the surface. Sanding the surface ensures that the drywall repairs are level and even with the wall surface.
Patching minor dents and damage to drywall is fairly simple. Fix small holes by filling them with minimal amounts of drywall compound and smoothing it with a drywall knife. Once the compound dries, lightly sand it with sandpaper. For larger damage, such as dents, start by sanding the area to remove excess debris. Fill the dent with drywall compound, level it with a drywall knife and sand until you have a frictionless surface. In both cases, follow the manufacturer’s directions for dry time, and then be sure to wipe down walls and trim with rags to remove any remaining dust and loose particles. Following these steps will give you a smooth palette on which to paint.
The third and final step in the paint prep process – applying painter’s tape – also lets you get creative. It is important to select the right grade and level of adhesion before you start taping. Delicate surfaces such as fresh paint, wallpaper or faux finishes require a tape with a lower adhesion to prevent surface damage. For common surfaces, like cured painted walls, wood trim, glass and metal, you can use a tape with a medium adhesion. “I recommend using FrogTape brand painter’s tape, which comes in both a delicate surface and multi-surface technology to accommodate almost every painting situation,” says Brady. “This tape is ideal for painting stripes, checkerboards or other designs that require crisp, sharp lines. Straight lines separate a professional looking paint job from a mediocre one,” he says. “FrogTape is the only painter’s tape treated with PaintBlock Technology – a super absorbent polymer that reacts with latex paint and instantly gels to form a barrier that prevents paint bleed.”
When masking the surface, adhere the tape in short sections to avoid stretching the tape. Brady suggests using a putty knife to press the tape firmly to the edges. Once the tape is applied in the desired pattern along the edges of the wall, you’re ready to begin painting. If painting more than one coat, make sure to reapply fresh tape for each paint application to obtain optimal results.
The way you remove the painting tape also contributes to the professionalism of your job. To prevent paint from bridging over the edges and tearing, Brady says you should remove the tape immediately after painting. The tape should be removed slowly at a 180-degree angle. If the paint becomes rubbery and begins to pull with the tape, gently score the edges with a razor blade.
Painting season is the perfect time to upgrade existing home decor or incorporate a trendy color in a bland room. When starting your remodeling projects, remember to properly prep the surface. For more tips on paint preparation, visit FrogTape.com.