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Prepping, the most important part of painting and sometimes the longest


So, you’ve decided your home needs a painting makeover. You’ve chosen your colours, you’ve got your tools, and you're keen to start transforming your walls, because, let’s face it – who doesn’t want to get to the fun part as quickly as possible?


Stop! All pro painters know that prepping your surfaces is vital to get a great, professional looking finish – and often a far longer task than painting. But, when you see the results, you’ll agree its time well spent.


There are specific tricks and techniques to get the exact finish you want and ensure it lasts for years to come. The average room takes between two and four days to paint – most of that spent in prepping and priming. Here are just a few pro tips to consider before you dip your brush in the paint can:


  1. Take everything out of the room. In their enthusiasm to get the job done fast, amateur painters often forgo moving all the furniture out of a room before they start. This can get you into hot water quickly, especially if you need to repair your drywall. Sometimes extra large furniture can be covered with drop cloths and left in the centre of your room but, if you’ve got extensive repairs to do, it’s a good bet drywall dust will get into everything. It’s often best to take remove all your doors, fixtures and door/window hardware, too, if you want to do a good job. We can’t say it often enough – If in doubt, clear it out.
  2. Invest in drop cloths. A little paint droplet can quickly smear over your floor, leaving you with an eyesore that will last for years. Canvas drop cloths are heavy enough to absorb drips and can be quickly moved around to fill gaps. You can use plastic sheeting, too, but beware – it's very slippery.
  3. Sand and prepare all surfaces. Before you paint, wash away any dirt, grime or mould you can see. Then you'll need to sand back your walls to ensure an even finish and better paint adhesion. Use putty for minor cracks and dents in existing paint and plasterwork or use tape and spackle for bridging severe stress cracks. On wood surfaces, use painter's putty or wood filler to smooth bumps. Fill any gaps with caulking. Then wash down everything to get rid of any dust that could cause your new paint to peel down the line.
  4. Prime manoeuvre. If you don’t want to go through the whole painting process again in a year or so, you’ll need to prime your surface adequately. Remember, no matter how much you spend investing in high-quality paint, it's only going to be as good as the surface it's anchored to. Primer makes it more likely you’ll get great adhesion by blocking stains and resins from bleeding through, reducing potential blisters and extending the life of your topcoat.
  5. Tint your primer. Here’s a pro tip to further enhance your topcoat coverage especially if you’re painting a light colour over an existing darker shade: tint your primer with a little topcoat mixed in. You'll be amazed at how much better your topcoat will hide your prepped surface. But make sure your primer and topcoat are of the same material family (i.e. both water-based or both oil-based) otherwise you could be headed for trouble. If in doubt, ask a paint store expert which products will work well together.


Prepping takes a little extra elbow-grease and time, but it's worth it! Doing the job right will mean you don’t find yourself lamenting about your paint coverage every time you look at your handiwork!