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Paint Prep

Paint Prep

A paint project is only as good as your work preparing for it. While it might not be the fun part and can seem time-consuming, proper preparation is a must for successful painting results, indoors or out.

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    • Prepare the Work Area
       

      Brushes, Rollers, Pads and Specialty ToolsIf your painting project takes place indoors, remove furniture from the room in which you're working or place it in the center of the room and cover it with drop cloths. Place drop cloths or tarps on the floor and remove fixtures, window coverings, switch plates and outlet covers. Use painter's tape to protect windowsills, baseboards, door hinges, the ceiling perimeter and anything else that you don't want to get paint on.

      For outside projects, use drop cloths to cover cars, patio furniture, shrubs and anything else you don't want splattered. Although you're painting outside, it's a good idea to cover the ground so you don't get paint on walkways, driveways, or in your yard. Remove all screens, light fixtures, plumbing outlets, electrical covers, shutters and address numbers/placards or cover them with painter's tape before you begin painting.

    • Clean and Repair Surfaces
       

      Properly cleaning and repairing surfaces is extremely important when painting since paint doesn't adhere to dirt or damaged areas. When working inside, use a sponge or cloth to wipe down your interior walls with mild detergent and water and allow it to dry. If walls have cracks, holes or have areas that are damaged, apply spackling compound with a putty knife. Once it dries, sand it with fine-grit sandpaper. For extensive drywall damage, see this project on patching drywall holes to learn how to make larger repairs.

      When working outside, remove peeling or flaking paint by sanding and scraping it off. Remove any dirt and eliminate mildew by washing surfaces with a mixture of water, trisodium phosphate (TSP) and bleach with a long-handled brush. Then thoroughly spray surfaces with a pressure washer loaded with a mild detergent. Let everything dry completely before you start painting. Use an exterior spackling compound to repair any holes or damaged areas. With wood, it's also important to caulk joints and cracks in areas such as trim and window frames using paintable caulk. Use an old screwdriver to scrape out any old caulk and clean the joint using a small brush. Apply paintable caulk with a caulking tool.

    • Tape the Edges
       

      Painter's tape protects surfaces adjacent to where you’re painting (trim, molding, etc.) and reduces paint bleed from surface to surface. It comes in a variety of widths and lengths and is often made for select applications on particular surfaces. Check labels for best use, as many tapes will be labeled "multi-surface."

      Pull or cut a length of tape from the roll and carefully apply it on the surface you are masking. Be careful that you don't stretch the tape as you apply it to avoid breaks or poor adhesion. Press and smooth the tape down on the surface as you apply, so it makes even contact. Use a putty knife or similar tool to press the tape down and ensure it has adhered and formed a tight seal along edges and in the contours of the surface.

      When you start painting, brush a bit of paint along the tape edge to create an additional seal against paint bleeding under the tape.

    • Prime Before Painting
       

       You don't always have to apply a coat of primer before you paint, but doing so will help the paint adhere and last longer, so it is highly recommended. Additionally, priming is advisable if your walls or ceilings are stained or you wish to use light-colored paint over dark walls. On interiors, apply True Value EasyCare® Ultra Premium Interior Primer/Sealer with a brush or roller. Use True Value EasyCare® Ultra Premium Exterior Primer/Sealer on exterior surfaces.

      You also can skip priming and save time by painting with True Value EasyCare® Ultra Premium Interior Paint or True Value EasyCare® Ultra Premium Exterior Paint.

      Remember to always open windows or otherwise ventilate the room in which you are working.

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