Home Repair Tips – Preparing Walls for Paint

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Home repair, Redecorating    by: ITC

Applying the paint is the smallest part of a paint job. The real work is in preparing the surface and cleaning up afterward. Before you begin to paint:

• Wash the surface

• Remove any fixtures

• Fill depressions

• Sand smooth

• Prime the surface

First, protect furniture, floors, or shrubs with drop cloths. Knock loose dirt and paint off exterior walls with a high pressure hose. Remove all flaking paint with a scraper or a wire brush.

Interior walls that are already painted are usually washed with trisodium phosphate (TSP) and a stiff brush. TSP is a caustic powder that must be mixed with water (one tablespoonful to a gallon of water). Be sure to wear rubber gloves. TSP removes skin almost as fast as. it removes dirt and grease from old paint. Then rinse the walls with water and dry completely.

Fixtures are removed to make it easier to paint and to keep from getting paint on the fixtures. Remove switch plates only after the wall has been washed. After the switch plates are removed, you may find dirty rings on the wall. This should be carefully wiped off. Wring your sponge as dry as possible.

Most walls have cracks, nail holes, or dents. Fill them with wood putty,’ spackling compound, or another fill, depending on the material the wall is made of. Before applying spackle, wet the area. Build up the patch slightly above the wall. When it is dry, sand the patch until it is even with the rest of the wall. Old painted wood must be sanded smooth.

The final step, priming, prepares the surface for paint. Prime patches and seal wood knots with shellac or sealer. Use primer over new wood because new wood absorbs paint like a sponge.

Everything must be thoroughly dry before you begin to paint. There is a lot of work in preparing to paint.

Build up patches above the surface. Let them dry, and sand the patch flush with the surface.

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