Preparing for your House Painting Project

Painting your house can seem like a satisfying project to undertake, especially if you’re tackling it alone. The idea of freshening up a room can be exciting and adding a new, more vibrant colour to the walls is a sure-fire way to bring a new dimension to the whole home.

However, there are a few risks associated with taking on a house painting project, particularly if you want it to look professional, with no remnants of spattered paint or missed spots. It’s important to pay close attention to the quality of finish you want for your residential home painting project, and as this blog title suggests, prepare well for it.

Whether you’re pursuing your project alone or planning on hiring a house painting company or decorating company to make your vision come to life, there are steps you ought to take in preparation. Ultimately, these steps will help you to save time, improve longevity of the project and give you a better idea of the tools needed before you even begin. This way, you can plan ahead and guarantee yourself enough time and space to ensure the process runs as smooth as the finished paint coat itself.

Here are 6 steps you should take before you get that roller in the tray:

1. Stock Up on Painting Equipment

Start with the basics and ensure, once you know the scale of your project, that you have:

  • The correct type of equipment
  • Enough of it – remember if you have one of something, you have none!

It’s worth spending some time to consider the extent with which you’ll be using the tools and on what type of walls and surfaces you’ll be applying to. You might need specific tools to remove wallpaper, such as a stripping knife or scouring pad, which would not necessarily be required for preparing a newly plastered wall.

Some tools needed:

  • Paint rollers and trays
  • Tray liners
  • Paint brushes and edger
  • Filler and filling knife
  • Ladder(s)
  • Putty knife and pry bar
  • Sugar soap
  • Shave hook
  • Sandpaper
  • Strong masking tape or painter’s tape
  • Drop cloths
  • Sponges and warm water

Also, one other piece of advice is to have an emergency clean up procedure. Should something go wrong (and if you’re painting and decorating by yourself for the first time, it inevitably will) you want to have some water and cloths on standby if you’re using water-based paint, or mineral spirits if you’re using oil or enamel-based paint.

Once you have your tools and equipment sorted for your house painting project, you’re ready to get the room prepped.

2. Prepare the Room for Painting

Furniture: Removing furniture before you paint your chosen room not only gives you significantly more space, but it prevents anything being ruined by spills or spatters. You’ll want to ensure they remain in good condition; so, provided you have enough space to accommodate your furniture in other rooms, store them somewhere out of the way so they don’t pose a hazard. If it can’t be moved, cover it with plastic sheeting or protective blankets.

Floors: Consider protecting your floor regardless of whether you have imminent plans to decorate this or not. Heavy canvas or butyl-backed drop cloths can protect against spills and also prevent paint from being tracked through the rest of your house on the soles of your shoes.

Hangers/pictures: You’ll see better results if you paint the entire wall, rather than paint around any pictures, mirrors or paintings. So be sure to store anything from the walls somewhere safe and secure where they are not likely to break or succumb to damage. There may be a chance you’ll want to reposition any wall décor when you re-hang them. If you do, fill the holes that you see once you remove anything from the wall (see Step 3).

Plug sockets: While you can choose to paint over or around sockets, the visual separation between wall and socket will look less professional and leave more of a messy socket should you need to remove them at a later date.

3. Check the Walls

Before you apply the paint to the walls, it’s important to ensure any rough patches, holes or raised areas are minimised. Depending on what condition your wall is in before you apply the paint, you’ll see best results if the wall is best prepped, and a little TLC on it would save you some time and arguably make your new paint last longer. Here are some common examples of issues and their remedies:

  • Torn bits of wallpaper: It’s easy to look past these tears in the wall and it’s often forgot that painting straight over them can create an uneven texture. Cut away the loose paper and seal it with a stain blocking primer, then sand any exposed edges to remove loose paper pieces. A very thin layer (or two) of joint compound, feathering it smoothly and sanding it once dry will smooth out any tears.
  • Cracks and holes: Use a joint compound, which is commonly used to patch dents in drywall, plaster walls or wood. Joint compounds such as Easi Fill (British Gypsum) or Joint Filler (Knauf) are both examples of premium compound ideal for plasterboard jointing and filling small holes.
  • Popped nails: Nails can sometimes pop up out of the wall, and it’s not as easy as popping it back in in the same spot. By driving a 1 ¼ inch screw about 2 inches above or below the popped nail. Hold a putty knife under a pry bar and pull out the nail. Cover the screw head and fill the nail hole with jointing compound.
  • Joints or seams: To seal up gaps and holes in the trims in your room that’s about to be painted, a latex-based caulk is ideal for anything that’s sticking out. Caulking materials are very quick to dry, easy to implement and apply, and can be found at relatively cheap prices.

4. Apply Masking Tape or Painter’s Tape

Tape is a crucial piece of kit for this painting job. Regardless of whether you’ve got masking tape or specific painter’s tape, it’s very important to have plenty on standby if you want to keep your paint lines clean and end up with a suave-looking finish. It’s essential to apply the edges of the tape down firmly to ensure the edges are straight.

Tape not only protects the trim, but also creates a smooth line when pulled away. It’s vital to check that areas like skirting boards and trims are dry and grease-free before applying tape. You’ll see best results once paint has dried completely and you score the edges of the tape with a putty knife before you pull the tape off.

Masking tape is easier to tear off, and is generally a cheaper option, but there is a risk of paint soaking through the tape as it’s not as water or oil resistant as painter’s tape. Painter’s tape is generally stronger, poses no risk of puckering or peeling when it comes into contact with paint and leaves no adhesive when torn off. The disadvantage being that they are more expensive.

Taping the room helps you get clean lines along the edges of the room and good quality painter’s tape will usually protect against drips or splatter. Adding masking paper as an extra layer of protection is highly recommended. Masking the trims before paint is applied makes the job simpler and easier in the long run. Masking paper is worth it as it is instrumental in protecting edges of the floor. It will also prevent any dirt lifting off the floor and contaminating the paint once it’s finished.

5. Clean the Walls

No matter the material of walls, it’s essential that they are dry and free from grease, dust, peeling paint and flaky plaster.

Dusting down to begin with will remove any dust, loose dirt and cobwebs, which will result in your paintbrushes staying cleaner as a whole. Check for any mould or mildew and ensure those areas are scrubbed with some spray cleaner and a sponge.

Thoroughly washing the walls with sugar soap and warm water will remove any dirt and grease, although you can also use diluted washing up liquid. Make sure to remove any residue with clean water and leave the wall to dry completely before painting.

As a word of caution, don’t expect your painting and decorating contractors to clean the walls for you. You may find it is most practical to pole-sand surfaces with fine sandpaper which is ideal for removing any lingering residual dirt after having applied TSP (trisodium phosphate).

6. Decide on Primers or Undercoats

This is where you can afford to explore your creativity a little bit.

If you paint a new surface without applying a primer, you may need to apply multiple layers of paint as the surface usually soaks up the first layer. Primer paint is used right before painting new surfaces, whereas undercoats are usually used on surfaces that have already had paint on them in the past.

Once you’ve decided whether an undercoat or a primer is the best product for you, you should purchase one that is best suited with your chosen surface and topcoat. For example, multipurpose primers provide a decent and sturdy base coat to interior wood or MDF surfaces and have a relatively quick drying time of around 30 minutes. It’s best to do your research and allow for enough drying time to not interfere with any other jobs you have going on.

You can now start to think about what paint finishes you feel is best for your chosen room. Some examples below:

  • Matt emulsion: Good for hiding the occasional crack with a smooth and shiny finish.
  • Eggshell: Ideal for that ‘classic’ wooden look with a tough finish.
  • Gloss: Reflects light well on pale colours, and offers a nice shiny finish.
  • Satin or silk: Polished finish with good light reflection and gives colours a somewhat softer feel.

At DPM we are firm believers in delivering professional interior painting and decorating services in the Surrey and neighbouring areas. We are a team of fully insured, friendly, reliable and reputable contractors who are passionate about what we do.

We can offer advice if you are unsure about the finish or style that would suit your property and our services are not limited to just single rooms. If you’re intent on changing your whole house décor, we can help you bring that vision to life. Our aim is to leave you with a painting or decorating project that you can be happy to look at every single day.

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