Paint is one of the best and cheapest ways to give a room a facelift. It’s a manageable DIY job, but for professional results you mustn’t skip on the prep. Prep is not fun, but it is necessary. Before you open that tin and stir the paint, go through these steps.
Move anything that may be knocked or damaged while you are painting. Put ornaments, lamps, books etc. into another room if possible. Move furniture into the center of the room. You don’t want it to be in your way once you start.
Moving the furniture provides a good opportunity to vacuum all the crumbs, candies and cat’s fur that have congregated under the sofa. Using an attachment, get into the corners of your ceiling where the odd spider web may be dangling.
Protect and cover anything and everything that paint may drip or splatter on. Use plastic or a drop cloth. Old curtains work well. It is easier if the furniture is all in the center of the room. Next cover the flooring. If you are painting the ceiling, the whole floor will need to be covered. If you are painting walls, you want at least 3 ft. from the walls to be protected. You can use a drop cloth or a tarp, or you can tape masking paper to the floor with painter’s tape. Make sure that whatever you use goes right up to the wall. The most vulnerable area is where the wall and floor meet.
Unscrew all face plates and light switch covers. If there are several, number each cover and matching outlet so you don’t have to think about what goes where at the end. Remove hardware from windows or cupboards. Store the screws safely in a Ziploc bag. Remember where you put them.
Paint doesn’t stick to dirt. Use a sponge or cloth to wipe down your painting surface with a mild detergent and warm water. Let it dry completely.
Use painter’s tape to protect places your brush may slip: the edge of the ceiling, the top of the baseboards, adjoining walls, the glass in windows, windowsills, door hinges, wall sconces, vents.
FILL THE HOLES
Use spackling paste and a flexible putty knife to fill in any holes in the wall. It is better to slightly overfill than underfill them, as the spackle shrinks when it dries.
SMOOTH THE CRACKS
If you have crevices or cracks in the wall, these are dealt with differently to achieve a smooth finish. Cover any crevices with self-adhesive fiberglass joint tape. Apply a thin layer of joint compound, also know as drywall compound or Mastic, over the tape using a flexible joint knife. You need to work quickly as the past dries fast.
SAND IT DOWN
Once the spackle or joint compound is completely dry, sand it lightly to a smooth finish. A fine grit paper should be adequate.
If there are any gaps between the baseboards and the wall, apply latex caulk and smooth with a damp finger or sponge. The smoothing must be done before it dries.
Put your old clothes on. I ruined a favorite shirt by thinking I could do a little touch up job without splattering paint.
Make sure you have all your painting supplies handy: brushes, rollers, paint tray, sponges, rags, surgical gloves, paint stick, paint can opener.
You are now ready to open and stir the paint. Happy painting!