10 Simple Steps for Interior Paint Prep
If there’s a secret to achieving a professional quality paint job, it’s this: Preparation matters. Without proper interior paint prep, there’s simply no chance that the finished product will look as sharp and well-done as it could. Follow these 10 steps to help ensure that you end up with a paint job that’s smooth and looks professional.
Proper Interior Paint Prep
You don’t need to have every detail sewn up—that will come as you gear up the prep. But 10 minutes of forethought can save hours of frustration when you’re in the thick of things.
As you put together your project plan, jot down key items to create a working checklist. This list is a useful reference during the actual project. And in the same way that a spring home maintenance checklist is when the weather warms up.
Move items away from the wall towards the center of the room or remove them entirely. Cover the furniture with painter’s plastic. And identify the items most vulnerable to paint damage, such as items with fabric upholstery, and take special care with them. If paint drips do get past your defenses, refer to avoid and remove paint drips to learn how to deal with them.
Photo: Comaniciu Dan/Shutterstock
Wall Plate Removal
Why interior paint prep matters: While you certainly can choose to paint over or around these items, the visual separation between the wall and the cover plates will be blurred. This leaves a ragged and unprofessional look to these items that are often highly visible. Also, when you do need to remove an outlet cover down the road, a paint covered outlet can lead to tearing and pulling loose the paint or drywall surface paper.
Bonus tip: While removing the covers, you may find that some outlets are loose in the wall. If so, see The Family Handyman’s advice on how to Tighten a Loose Outlet.
Laying out protection saves your floors. But it also allows you the freedom to spread your painting tools out more than if they’re constrained to a single area. This in turn allows you to work faster and with fewer restrictions. If you’re getting ready to paint as part of a larger project, consider reviewing ways to protect your entire home during construction.
Ladders and Scaffold
Photo: Anreas Poertner/Shutterstock
Patching a wall will help your final job look crisp and professional. If you need a quick tutorial on patching and wall prep in general, check out this article: Preparing Walls for Painting.
Be sure to hit all surfaces that you’ll be painting. That includes walls, ceiling and trim. It’s possible that during cleaning you’ll find more extensive damage to the wall surface.
Interior Paint Prep Trim treatment
It can take a bit of practice to get the hang of taping off ceilings and trim, but once you’ve got it down, you’ll find that your paint jobs look dramatically better. For a great and thorough review of tape techniques and tools, check out this Family Handyman article: Tips for How to Use Painter’s Tape.
One pro tip: the terms mineral spirits and paint thinner are sometimes used interchangeably. They are actually similar, but mineral spirits are often recommended for indoor use to keep fumes under control. See Mineral Spirits vs. Paint Thinner for a complete run down on the differences between these two products.
Final Test Sample
At this point you’re simply verifying that there wasn’t an issue with the paint tint. Or that there was a miscommunication about what shade was going up in the bedroom or the bathroom. Once you know you’re good to go, then at last you can start painting!
Painting isn’t an easy project, but by following these tricks, you can greatly simplify the process. And you’ll quickly see an improvement in the way that your walls, ceilings, and even doors look crisp, smooth, and professionally done.