The Importance of Proper Surface Preparation Before Painting

Surface preparation is an essential step when painting almost anything. It treats the material before the application, ensuring that the paint applies correctly and works as intended.

This task is typically completed mechanically or chemically, depending on the surface treated. The outcome is to remove any defects, residue, organic matter, and other pollutants while preparing the pre-existing layers for a new one.

Some surfaces need simple cleaning techniques to help them be ready for a new coat of paint. Others might require oxidation removal and massive repairs before the updated look can be applied successfully.

How to Prep a Wall for Painting

Although there isn’t a specific preparation method that applies to all walls, some steps to take in most situations make it easier to paint. 

The first job is to clean the walls. If you wash them with a sponge and warm water, you’ll remove most unwanted residue and foreign material. Kitchen surfaces might require a grease-cutting cleaner to remove tough stains. Then allow everything to dry thoroughly before applying paint or primer.

Once you’ve finished the cleaning work, here are the other steps to take when preparing a wall for new paint.

1. Clean the Room

You need to work in a clean room when tackling this DIY project. That means the carpets should be vacuumed and the floors swept. All furniture should be removed from the area.

Anything that remains could have paint droplets spill on them, so cover the floors and what is left with plastic or canvas sheeting to contain the mess.

Once that work is finished, it helps to take a few minutes to tape off the windows, outlets, and trim areas that won’t be getting new paint. The best products remove quickly without leaving any residue behind. 

2. Remove Any Mould or Mildew

Address any mildew or mould issues in a room before you start painting. If you cover it, the patches will eventually grow through the new layer, making it more challenging to clean and maintain the surface in the future.

The easiest way to remove mildew and mould is to apply a 3:1 ratio of water to bleach with a sponge to the affected area. Allow the liquid to sit for a few minutes before scrubbing it with a soft brush. Always wear personal protective equipment.

3. Scrape the Surface

Flaking and cracking paint on walls can be a significant issue. If you apply a new coat over these areas, the problem could reoccur. Scraping the site to remove any loose debris will prevent future issues.

This step must occur before any sanding work on the surface occurs. Metal scrapers work the best for surface preparation, but your DIY painting project could see success with plastic options. 

Remove the debris from the environment before going to the next step. 

4. Sand the Surfaces

An essential step in proper surface preparation is to sand the walls before applying paint and primer. Although it isn’t always necessary, it does help to complete this step to have a smooth and even surface. A sanding block or sandpaper with a wet cloth will finish the work while containing the mess.

Smoothing is an essential step when painting over high-gloss or regular gloss paint. Fine-grit products work well for water-based paints, but oil-based ones often need a medium-grit product to finish this step. Wipe away any debris and allow it to dry.

5. Apply Primer to the Surface

Some paint products come with a primer included to simplify the update. If you have a dark colour and want to go lighter, you’ll likely need to apply an independent primer before putting your preferred shade on the wall. 

When applying primer to your walls or surfaces, it helps to use even brush strokes for the edges and lines. A roller will help you maximise the coverage of your open areas while delivering an even amount and coating area.

Once the primer is applied, please remember to allow the coat to dry as instructed by the manufacturer to achieve the best results.

Are You Ready to Get a Fresh Coat of Paint?

Professional painters create consistently excellent results while minimising disruptions to your routines or operations. You won’t need to worry about these steps because you can trust their expertise!
If you’re ready to tackle a DIY painting project, you can follow the steps included in this guide to get the job done correctly. For those needing help with surface preparation, please feel free to contact one of our friendly team to schedule an estimate or appointment for a professional transformation.