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Preparing Interior Surfaces

Many people believe that by simply slapping on a fresh coat of paint, the room will look much better. They are correct, however, by preparing a room for painting you will get a better more lasting finish that looks professional.

Cleaning a room before painting
The goal here is to strip a room bare of all dirt, grime and cobwebs. This includes walls, doors windows and even baseboards. A vacuum with a crevice tool is great for dust and cobwebs. Be sure to open up windows to remove all the dirt inside the windows sill. For walls and woodwork use a sponge with a phosphate free household cleaner.

Cleaning kitchens and bathroom
Grease, commonly found in kitchens on walls, doors is the number one enemy of paint.

Most kitchen household cleaners will clean off grease however use care when using on wooden cabinets. Work quickly on cabinets and dry off the surface directly after cleaning.

Bathrooms often have mold or mildew stains that grow on warm, moist surfaces. Wash the entire bathroom as you normally would however for the mildew you need to sue bleach to kill the organism. Let the bleach sit for about fifteen minutes or until the stains have gone. Use care when using bleach on painted surfaces and rinse thoroughly with water to neutralize the bleach when finished.

Clearing out the Rooms
Clear as much stuff out of a room as you can to prepare for painting. Place all the larger items in the center of the room so you can work around them with ease. Here's a handy checklist to go through to get your rooms ready for the big makeover.
  • Take down all the pictures and wall hangings.

  • Leave the tools in place so you can re-hang everything when you are finished.

  • If the room is very large, stack the furniture in two areas with space between them. For smaller rooms, pile everything in the center.

  • Cover the floor with canvas drop cloths and use plastic drop cloths under your paint supply and mixing area. Be sure to remove area rugs first.

  • Remove Electrical switch plates to prevent having to paint around them. You can place masking over the switches to protect them.

  • When painting doors it's a good idea to remove the hardware. You won't waste time cleaning up any unsightly goofs later.

  • Always paint in good light. If need be use an extension cord to bring power to the room so you can have adequate light.

Smoothing the Walls
Before beginning to paint, it is necessary to repair any damage.

For small minor nail holes or dings, use a spackling compound and a putty-knife.

You may need to apply a second coat due to the compound shrinking after drying. Nest you can smooth out the surface with sand paper.

For minor cracks in plaster walls and ceilings use paper reinforcing tape and dry joint compound, the one you mix with water. This is especially good on ceilings that have cracked repeatedly. Here's what to do.
  1. Scrape out any loose materials by dragging a screwdriver along the crack and blow out or vacuum the dust and mist the crack with water. Misting helps stop the dry plaster form taking all the moisture out of the patching compound.

  2. Mix the dry joint compound with the correct amount of water in a plastic bucket.

  3. Use a knife to apply a bed of compound along the crack.

  4. Embed perforated paper reinforcing tape into the wet compound and scrape the knife along the tape to level out the material and squeeze out the excess.

  5. When the first application is dry, scrape off any loose bits then apply another smoothing coat over the tape.

  6. After the second coat dries, scrape off any loose bits and sand lightly.

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