Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Painting and Preparation

Without a doubt, no interior home or office improvement project has a greater impact for the least investment than paint. A splash of color can instantly change the whole feel of a room. Fresh paint makes any space look cleaner and can give a wide variety of senses and emotions depending on the color and finish choices.

I once heard a professional painter tell me, “Anyone can paint…few can paint well”. Over the years, through trial and error, and some guidance from some excellent and experienced professionals, I have learned a few things about providing a great outcome when painting.

The foremost consideration in any paint work is preparation. If the proper time and effort is not spent on preparation of the walls and trim, the result will be disappointing. It is not uncommon for me to allocate more than 50% of the total time I estimate to be set aside for the groundwork. Some of the things that need to be done for great painted surfaces are:
• Shut off the power to the room.
• Remove all the outlet and switch covers. Apply tape to all the outlets and switches to keep from getting paint on them. If there are any light fixtures, loosen or remove them and tape accordingly.
• Remove all loose paint. Use scrapers and coarse sandpaper and be sure to remove all loose paint. If you do not, it will peel up either during the priming/painting or in the days/weeks following painting.
• Fill all holes with a good quality spackling compound. Be sure to fill the holes completely and on larger holes, I use a grid type joint tape or hole repair material. This helps keep the spackling from cracking.
• More sanding! This time use a fine grit sand paper or sanding block. Use your hand to feel the wall; your eyes can fool you here. On larger holes, be prepared to reapply the spackling compound and sand again. Keep following this process until you see and feel a completely smooth surface.
• Check all the molding in the room for damage. Base moldings are damaged frequently from furniture. Repair these holes using good epoxy wood filler. Use the same process (minus the grid tape) as used for the walls. Did I mention the sanding? Sometimes more than one application is required to get the desired result.
• If there are any cracks in the walls use a quality caulking to fill the cracks. In most cases, these wall cracks are caused from the shifting and settling of the home and are normal. However, spackling and/or joint compounds are brittle when dry and any future movement in the wall will cause the finish to chip off and the crack to reappear looking worse than before. High quality caulking has enough elasticity to stretch (to a point) as the home continues to shift.
• Clean the walls with a diluted light detergent, then rinse with clean water and a sponge. Be careful on this step as joint and spackling compounds are water based. This means that if you apply a heavy hand with the water you can actually dissolve all your hard work! If done properly this step will further improve the finish on the walls.

Following these steps is far more than half the battle of a wonderful paint finish. Of course, you could always call Savannah Renovations, LLC at 912-675-5569 and I would be more than happy to provide an estimate. “Wink, wink…nudge”…that is a hint. Happy painting!

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