Before starting any interior painting project, be aware of potential dangers. If your home was built before 1978, scraping and sanding to prepare a wall’s surface may disturb existing lead-based paint and release hazardous lead dust. Be sure to consult with a highly rated contractor who is EPA certified to employ lead-safe work practices if this applies to you.
Once you’ve ruled out the threat of existing lead paint, it’s time to set the scene for the work. Proper preparation for painting a room reduces risk of making mistakes, cuts cleanup time and ensures that the work is both high-quality and long-lasting. Here’s an overview of easy steps to eliminate headaches and hassles down the road.
Clear out and cover up. Remove as many furniture and room fixtures as possible, and use masking or painters’ tape around switches and outlets. If a fixture cannot be removed, it can be easily covered with a tape-secured plastic bag. Make sure you’re covered. A drop cloth or canvas cover should be placed on the floor.
Address imperfections. Scrape off peeling or chipped paint before applying a new coat. Surface defects, like cracks and holes, should be repaired before painting. Joint compound can be applied with either a finger or putty knife and scraped until flush with the wall. Follow directions on the compound’s label for drying time.
Sand it down. Sanding, whether for newly patched holes or for woodwork, is necessary to create a smooth painting surface. It will help the paint adhere better.
Clean the area. Vacuuming, especially if the room is carpeted, can prevent dust and carpet fibers from adhering to walls and floor runners while painting. A tack cloth or textured electrostatic dry cloth can be used to dust the surfaces of the room, not just the surfaces to be painted. Any spots of mold, mildew, soap scum or grease should be removed using cleaner or bleach. Rinse the area and allow it to fully dry before being painted.
Get what you need. Assemble all the tools, brushes, and supplies needed to complete the project. This will reduce the likelihood of tracking paint outside of the area covered with the drop-cloth.