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Home Matters

Prepping your home for paint

We've talked a lot about painting as a means to beautify your home at a low cost, but we haven't yet dug deeper into what steps you should actually take before tackling a paint job. This week we focus on preparing to paint your home. Prep is the most time consuming and tedious part of painting, but it is also the most important because it dictates what the finished product will look like. Remember, you get back what you put into it.

Basic materials you will need:

  • Plastic Sheet Covering (Visqueen)
  • Painter's Masking Tape (The blue kind!)
  • Essential tools (hammer, screwdriver, etc. for removing hardware)
  • Primer (Kilz® works well)
  • Spackle/Spackle Gun
  • Mud/Tape
  • Putty Knives
  • Recommended Steps (by no means the only way)

    Step 1: Remove Items from Painting Space
    You can always try to pile furniture in the middle of the room and throw a tarp over it, but working around a massive heap will eventually become tiresome. Save yourself some headache and don't risk ruining any furniture. Move everything out of the area you're prepping to paint. Don't forget to take down any hardware you don't want to take the time to tape off. This includes electrical switch plates, molding and light fixtures; just loosen the latter enough to fit a roller underneath.

    Step 2: Clean everything
    This means getting a sponge, soap and water and washing all the surfaces you intend to paint. It's annoying I know, but any kind of dirt or grime that remains on the substrate when you try to paint will reduce adhesion of your paint and cause it to crack or ripple. Also, consider vacuuming carpets, cleaning windows and dusting. The cleaner your space, the less likely it is you will stir up debris that will stick to wet paint.

    Step 3: Survey walls and Repair
    Stop and take a look at your walls once you're done cleaning. Are there any holes in the drywall? Any score marks? Screw or nails sticking out? If there is any kind of damage, it needs to be repaired if you want the best effect. For holes in the drywall you might get away with either an over the counter patch kit, or a commercial sealant. For more serious damage, you may be required to mud and tape. If you're not comfortable dry-walling; which means mudding, taping, sanding and spackling, you can always use the internet as a reference. It's not a particularly hard thing to learn how to do if you have some time.

    Step 4: Taping and Priming
    Finally, you're ready to tape and prime. Taping is necessary for those things you don't want to get paint on and can't remove. Taping can also be incredibly frustrating trying to get smooth and straight lines, so remove anything that you can. It's far easier in the long run.

    Now you actually get to have some fun! Priming is another way of making your final paint job last longer, and look the best it can. Priming is especially important if you're painting over something with very extreme colors (that will bleed through). Usually one coat of primer is enough, but if necessary use two... It will also reduce the number of top coats you need to apply in the end.

    Whether you decide to paint interior, exterior, bathroom or living space, remember that most of the work is done before you ever pull the lid off the paint bucket. Take a little extra time to do the prep work right, and you'll thank yourself afterward. A good prep results in a longer lifetime for the paint job, and a crisper look overall. If you'd like to learn more about ways to improve your home or just have a question, click here to e-mail Pete and Rob

    Rob White, Home Matters Host
    Rob co-hosts Home Matters on the new 97.3 KIRO FM Weekends.
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