When people talk about paint problems or paint failures, the root of the issue is usually a lack of proper paint preparation. After all, if you don’t prepare your surface properly before you paint, you shouldn’t be surprised if it bubbles or peels.
Proper paint preparation doesn’t just prevent paint failures; it also saves you time and money. Follow these five simple steps – Clean, Dry, Dull, Patch and Prime – and your next paint project is sure to be a success.
Once you’ve removed everything from your painting surface, you want to clean it to get rid of any unsightly marks or stains. Be sure not to use regular household cleaners, as they can leave a slippery residue behind that prevents proper paint adherence. Instead, clean your walls with Natura Safe Prep – a ready to use all purpose cleaner formulated specifically for paint preparation to improve paint adhesion.
Cleaning is especially important in places like the bathroom, where hairspray can leave a lacquer-like finish behind on your walls. Without prior cleaning, your bathroom paintjob could look more like colourful spider webs.
This next step is easy – simply wait for your clean walls to dry completely. A good rule of thumb: if your walls are cool to the touch, they’re still damp. Patience isn’t just a virtue here; it’s a requirement.
If your walls have a gloss or semi-gloss finish, wash your walls with Natura Safe Prep and a sanding sponge to clean your walls and dull them at the same time (which saves you an extra step). The reason for dulling your walls is for better paint adhesion. Sanding your walls can feather out chipped paint and provide more “tooth” for the next coat of paint. Use 80 grit sandpaper to dull your walls, for a texture that’s the closest match to drywall. Remember to wipe off any drywall dust afterwards with a damp cloth. If your walls have a matte finish, then scuffing/dulling isn’t necessary.
With your walls clean, dry and dull, the next step is patching any holes, nail pops or any other surface blemishes with Beauti-Tone wall patch spackling compound. Once your patches are dry – which you’ll know because the compound goes on pink and dries white – you’ll want to sand them down with 80 grit sandpaper.
It’s vital to prime patched areas once dry and sanded, as they have a different porosity compared to drywall – which will be immediately noticeable once you’ve applied paint. If you patch, you must prime. And don’t ever patch with caulking! Its texture is smooth compared to drywall so you’ll always see where you’ve patched – plus it can’t be sanded.
If your current wall colour is similar in tone to the paint you’re going to apply, you probably don’t need a primer. This would be the case if you were going from chocolate brown to dark grey, as they’re both dark and will cover well.
But, if you’re going from a white wall to saturated red or any other drastic colour change, you’ll definitely want a primer.
Why use primer? If you’re painting your wall a colour that isn’t similar in tone to the paint you’re going to apply, a primer can improve a paints hiding power and decrease the number of top coats required for a smooth finish – which is good news for your tired arms and your wallet.
And if your walls have stains that can’t be cleaned, you’ll want to use a stain blocking primer such as Beauti-Tone Acryl-Lok Primer to seal stains and ensure they don’t bleed through your paint job.
OIL OR LATEX?
If you have an older home and you’re not sure if the previous paint was oil or latex, take a cloth dipped in methyl hydrate (a multi-purpose thinner and brush cleaner) and rub it on the surface. If the paint becomes soft and gummy, it’s latex. If rubbing the surface cleans but does nothing else, it’s oil – in which case you’ll want to dull, clean and prime before painting with latex paint.