What Happens When You Skip Painting Prep
August 13, 2013
For the DIY interior painter or exterior painter, the temptation to open a can and just start rolling away can be intense. We get it. The vast unpainted wall before you cries out for color! You want to strike while your enthusiasm for the project is still fresh. And that wall looks smooth and is basically clean, so what could go wrong? Frankly, a lot could go wrong. There’s a reason that the crews employed by professional painting companies in Massachusetts and elsewhere spend so much time cleaning, smoothing, repairing, and otherwise prepping the surfaces they will eventually paint.
Skipping the prep saves time in the short term, sure, but a quality paint job – one that will not only last, but look great for years – has to start with proper preparation. Here’s why:
Paint Needs Something to Stick To
You can paint over a dirty, glossy, chipping, and flaking surface, but don’t expect your handiwork to hold up over time. For new paint to stick, your interior or exterior surface needs to be clean and free of dust that could interfere with your paint’s ability to adhere to walls, trim, and ceilings. Depending on the condition of the existing paint or the kind of surface you’re painting (i.e., painted drywall, bare drywall, wood, or metal), you may need to lay down a few coats of primer. And scraping is an absolute must if the existing paint is chipping, peeling, or flaking because if you don’t remove damaged paint, it won’t be long before your new paint job looks just as rough.
Dirt Can Do a Number on New Paint
Clean walls are always going to take paint better than dirty ones, but giving surfaces a solid cleaning before painting is especially important when it comes to exterior painting. Even if your exterior walls don’t look dirty, you’ll be surprised what comes off with the help of a power washer. But keep in mind that power washing is no substitute for hand scraping – do the former without also doing the latter and what you end up with is very clean flaking paint that’s probably even worse for wear than it was before you started.
Repairs are More Than Just Cosmetic
Filling holes and cracks in the surface you want to paint may seem superficial, but larger imperfections in walls and ceilings can interfere with paint’s ability to stick so use an epoxy wood filler to create a smooth, ready-to-paint surface. While you make minor repairs stay on the lookout for rotting, split, or crumbling wood, and for rusty metal, because these issues absolutely must be addressed before you put brush to wall if you want to achieve durable, great looking results.
Quality Primer Does More Than One Job
Primer’s main role is to give new paint something to stick to, as noted above. But that’s not all it does! Some primers are designed to really seal a surface – particularly in cases where knots in bare wood can cause discolored patches in lighter colors of paint or other imperfections might cause eventual darkening or discoloration. Stucco and bare, raw wood must absolutely be primed to protect them and protect your paint. And primer is also necessary when you’re making a dramatic change to the color of an interior or exterior wall. Tinted primers, in particular, make it easy to transition to bold, saturated colors like fresh red and deep blues.
Prep Work Protects Your Investment
On top of all of the surface prep required to achieve amazing results when you’re painting interior and exterior surfaces, there are steps you need to take to keep your work area clean. Paint is notoriously difficult to remove from upholstery, so step one of any interior painting project should be removing as much furniture as possible from the room. Use new drop cloths to cover anything that can’t be relocated. Outside you can cover shrubs and other landscaping with drop cloths designated for outdoor use and create pathways that make it easy to avoid trampling plants that can’t be moved.
If you’re committed to DIYing your next paint job instead of calling an A-rated Massachusetts painting company, don’t get lazy. As excited as you get when you think about remodeling your home, rushing the job will mean you’ll be repainting again before the year is out. That’s a lot less exciting.
At Jerry Enos Painting, we know the right products for the job. Every exterior painting project is different, and unlike other exterior painting companies, we will always treat your house or building as one-of-a-kind. Call us for a free estimate at 978-546-6843.