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OVERVIEW

 

You have finally decided that the color of that extra bedroom or living room probably looked good about 20 years ago, but by today's standards it leaves a lot to be desired. Where do you start? The key to an attractive and successful painting project is all in the prep work. Paint will not hide cracks and other defects in your wall surfaces. By spending a little time preparing the room for painting, you will ensure a "professional" job that will last and look good for years to come.

Preparing a room for painting includes 3 phases - first, remove things that are removable. Second, cover up things that can't be moved. Finally, make sure all surfaces are cleaned, repaired and smooth before you begin the painting process.

 

 

Skill Level & Time to Complete

 
  • Beginner - 3 to 4 hours 
  • Intermediate - 2 to 4 hours
  • Advanced - 2 to 3 hours
  - When working with electrical outlets, switches and lights make sure to turn off the breaker or fuse for that circuit.
  - Don't be in a hurry. Dry wall compound needs to dry overnight before you can sand it or smooth it out.
  - Sanding drywall compound is a messy, dusty job. Close doors to prevent dust from messing up other parts of your house.
  - A new coat of paint is only as good as the surface beneath it. Make sure you scrape or sand off any old paint that is loose or flaking.



SHOPPING LIST


Materials List
   Wide masking tape
   Plastic sheets
   Fiberglass mesh
   All-purpose household cleaner
   Dry wall compound
   Wood filler
   Sandpaper
 
Tools List
   Paint scraper
   Drywall taping knife
   Screwdrivers
   Utility knife

 

1. The first thing you need to do is give yourself some room to work. Move all the furniture to the center of the room or take it out altogether. Then cover the furniture with a drop cloth to protect it from dust and paint. Be sure that you remember to remove all pictures and other things that are hanging on the walls.
2. Next, remove all electrical switch plates and receptacle plates. This includes cable TV outlets and phone jack covers.
3. If you are planning to paint the ceiling, any electrical fixtures on the ceiling should be removed. If you have a chandelier that is supported by a post, you can just remove the cover plate so you can paint underneath it. Make sure you cover the chandelier while you paint. If you are planning to paint the trim and woodwork in the room, you should remove as much hardware as you can. Remove window latches, doorknobs, etc.
4. Now it is time to cover up things that can't be moved. Use masking tape and plastic sheets to cover receptacles, switches, radiators and other surfaces that will not be painted.
5. If you do not plan to paint entire walls or sections of the room, you may need to mask off those areas if you are painting adjacent areas. If you have enough drop cloths, cover the entire floor. If not, you will need at least one drop cloth that you can move from section to section as you paint.

 

6. Once everything is out of the way or covered, wash the walls to be painted with an all-purpose household cleaner. This will remove dirt, dust and other substances that can prevent your new coat of paint from sticking. Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands. Wash from the bottom up to prevent streaking. Then rinse the walls with clean water and a sponge.
7. Carefully look over the surfaces to be painted for cracks, holes and other surface imperfections that you want to smooth out. Using drywall compound, fill in holes and smooth out rough areas. If you need to patch a crack, cover the crack first with fiberglass mesh. This will help prevent the crack from returning later. Then use several thin coats of drywall compound to smooth it out. If you have major holes that need to be filled, refer to our tutorial on patching drywall.
8. Once the drywall compound is dry, lightly sand it smooth with a fine-grit sandpaper (150 to 200 grit). This is a very dusty step, so make sure the doors to the room are closed and you wear a comfort mask to prevent breathing in the dust. If you are planning to paint the trim and woodwork in the room, make sure you sand it first to take the sheen or gloss off the current coat of paint. Remove any loose or flaking paint and sand the edges smooth. Using wood filler, patch any holes or gouges in the woodwork. Finally, vacuum up the dust from the sanding steps. You are now ready to paint! Check out our tutorial on painting interior rooms.

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