Interiors Painting Preparations

We Goldenland painters begin by removing furniture and rugs. The furniture that stays should be clustered in the middle of the room and covered with drop cloths.

  1. Dismantle hardware. Remove knobs, latches and locks on doors and wood window frames. Take down curtain rods and brackets. Remove picture hooks. Turn off electricity to the room at the fuse or circuit-breaker box, then unscrew plates from electrical switches and outlets. If there’s a ceiling lighting fixture, either disconnect it and take it down or loosen its plate and enclose it plate and all in a large plastic bag.
  2. Finish masking. Protect wall sconces, radiators and thermostats. Cover the entire floor or carpeting with drop cloths and tape them in place. Canvas drop cloths absorb paint and allow it to dry quickly. Paint on a plastic cloth stays wet, and if you step on it, you are likely to track it into other rooms. In a pinch, place several layers of newspaper over plastic.
  3. Make installs. Fix walls, ceilings and woodwork with the techniques described on the next page. Prime patched areas to ensure uni-form paint coverage.
  4. Wash down all surfaces to be painted. Use a heavy duty deter-gent, such as trisodium phosphate or a nonphosphate equivalent. Even fingerprints can keep paint from bonding properly. Clean any damp or mildewed areas with a 1-to-3 household bleach and water solution. Rinse and let the area dry completely before painting. Glossy surfaces may also need sanding or an application of residential deglosser for new paint to adhere properly.
  5. Cover floor with drop cloths.
  6. Move large objects into middle of room and cover with plastic. Remove all pictures, movable objects, hooks and hangers.
  7. Remove all switch and outlet cover plates. Remove, mask off or cover light fixtures and thermostats.
  8. Patch holes in ceiling and wall, then sand smooth. Spot prime patched areas and all new drywall.
  9. Caulk gaps between moldings and walls.

Our Masking Tape Tricks

Here are a few hints for applying masking tape fast and neatly:

  1. Fold over the end after each use. It will be easier to grab and you won’t lose it.
  2. Slide the roll over your hard and use your wrist as a tape dispenser as you work.
  3. Use a putty knife to firmly press the tape down; you’ll paint a cleaner line with less overrun.

Mask windowpanes leaving a small gap between the panes and the muntins. A small line of unbroken paint film adhering to the panes protects the muntins from harmful condensation. Cover doorknobs with a small plastic bag held by masking tape. Or remove the knob completely to eliminate all the extra detailed cutting in with a brush.

Keep track of screws and small pieces of hardware by taping them to the object with which they’re used. Here, the screws are attached to the switch plate they hold in place.

Interiors Painting Preparing Walls

The key to a good-looking, long-lasting paint job is painstaking preparation. The scraping tools shown below testify to the number of different surfaces that may need stripping before they can be installed, sanded down, scrubbed and primed for a fresh coat of paint.

The triangular shave hook, or molding scraper, digs accumulated paint and dirt out of the crevices in decorative woodwork. Similar tools with different heads scrape paint off curved wood molding. The razor scraper uses standard blades and takes paint off glass. The flexible wall scraper, or drywall taping knife, removes wall-paper and softened paint from flat surfaces. It is also used to level off applications of plaster compound. The flexible putty knife is equally versatile, but for smaller jobs. The hook scraper, which you draw toward you, takes paint off flat wood surfaces like windowsills and door frames.

Get your room ready in this order:

  1. Check for big problems. A sagging ceiling, for example, may be evidence of a roof leak or a seeping radiator on the floor above.
  2. Track down the cause of wall or ceiling damage and clear that up before you install the drywall or plaster.
  3. Clear the walls. Take down pictures and curtains to look for cracks, holes and peeling ceiling. Check the woodwork for loose paint, nicks, popped nails and separations at corners or at wall junctures. If there is wallpaper, you’ll probably want to strip it, whether you are painting or repapering.
  4. Assemble your materials. For masking you’ll need drop cloths, newspaper, masking tape and plas-tic bags. For access, you’ll need ladders and boards for scaffolding. For installs, have on hand spackling com-pound, wood filler, a heat gun or chemical paint remover, sander and sandpaper, tack cloth, vacuum cleaner and primer. For cleaning you’ll want deter-gent, bleach, bucket and sponge; for safety, goggles and respirators.

Wall Preparations

  1. Wash the ceiling, walls and trim with powdered detergent. Use product no rinsing. Shut off power and remove outlet covers when done.
  2. Fill cracks, holes and. dents in walls and trim with latex sparkling compound. Sand until smooth, vacuum, then apply primer to seal it.
  3. Caulk gaps, especially along the top of the baseboards and around window and door trim. Use paintable latex caulk and cut just a small hole in the tip.
  4. Seal stains with a latex- or shellac-based stain-killer to keep stains from bleeding through your paint. Prime the sealed areas before painting.

Preparing Woodwork for Painting

Preparation for wood trim—whether it’s painted or natural, can range from a quick cleaning to a complete stripping. Painted wood trim if it is in good shape, needs little more than scrubbing with a strong detergent like trisodium phosphate or its nonphosphate equivalent before repainting. Very glossy paint may need to be sanded or treated with a deglosser so the new paint will adhere. Once paint begins to craze or crack or peel badly, it’s better to remove it than to try to install large patches. You can remove old paint with a heat gun or with a chemical stripper. Nontoxic strippers work slowly: they soften old paint in hours rather than minutes but they save exposure to caustic substances and fumes. The finish on natural wood trim can be revived if it’s dull, but you must remove it if the finish is in poor shape or the underlying stain has worn through. Bare wood needs to be sanded smooth, wiped free of dust with a commercial tack cloth or a cotton rag soaked in paint thinner, and sealed with a primer before it is repainted.

A Breath of Fresh Air: Whether you’re removing a finish with a heat gun or chemical strippers, let fumes out and fresh air in by opening windows and using fans.

Stripping Painted Woodwork

Use great caution when heat strip-ping; guns can reach temperatures as high as 650° C. Protect yourself with heavy work gloves and breathing protection. Protect your home by making certain nothing smolders or inadvertently catches on fire.

  1. Hold the gun about 2.5 cm from the paint. To prevent scorching the wood, keep the gun moving constantly. Work it back and forth over one small area at a time.
  2. Scrape off softened paint, holding a putty knife in one hand while moving the gun over an adjacent area of paint with the other.

Reviving Natural Woodwork

Reviving natural woodwork is easier, quicker and costs less than stripping. Use the photos below to diagnose whether or not your woodwork is a good candidate for reviving, then test the process on a small inconspicuous area to see if it will work in your situation.

Strip or renew? Even though the woodwork in the top photo is dull and dark, it’s generally in good condition with no serious flaws in the finish. It’s a likely candidate for reviving. The woodwork in the lower photo is checked, bubbling and peeling. It should be stripped and refinished.

Revive. Scrub the surface with a fine-to medium-grit sanding sponge dipped in mineral spirits. Wipe the surface clean with a rag soaked in mineral spirits. After 30 minutes, spot stain any areas that have worn through, let stain dry, then apply sanding sealer and two coats of varnish.

Stripping Natural Woodwork

Stripping older clear finishes is messy, tedious work. But when you’re finished, you’ll love the new look. Try using a i water-based stripper. It works slowly and, because it tends to raise the wood’s grain, you’ll sand more, but there are no harmful odors and it’s nonflammable.

  1. Apply a thick layer of stripper, brushing in only one direction. Protect floors with plastic drop cloths.
  2. Lay down newspaper to catch loosened finish. Scrape flat surfaces with a stiff putty knife and contoured surfaces with plastic scrapers. Apply a second coat, scrub with a stiff brush, then clean and sand the surface thoroughly. Apply stain and two coats of varnish.

Preparing For Other Surfaces

No paint job will look good or last long if the surface beneath it is rough, scaly or full of gaps and cracks. Some pros spend just as much time sanding, puttying and priming as they do painting but the finished result is worth it. Large gouges and damaged areas in wood surfaces should be slightly overfilled with plastic wood filler, then sanded with 150-grit paper until flush with the surrounding area. Smaller cracks and gaps can be filled with caulk, wood putty or even spackling compound.

Tighten any joints in the trim around windows and doors before painting. You can fill gaps with putty as shown or use corner clamps to pull the joint tight, then pre-drill holes and drive in finish nails to hold the moldings in place. Here’s how to patch and prepare other damaged surfaces: Metal doors. Sand dented areas down to bare metal, Mix and spread on two-part epoxy auto body filler. Sand the patch with medium, then fine sand-paper, then prime and paint. Hollow-core doors. Shoot expanding foam sealant in deep holes. After the foam hardens, trim away the excess with a putty knife so the foam is slightly below the surface.

Spray-textured ceilings. Scrape away loose texture, then prime water stains with a stain-blocking primer. Use a spray.

Moldings and Trim

Use a hammer and na• set to sink the heads of any popped nails below the surface. Then use your fingertip to force wood putty into the holes. Sand the surface smooth. Older plywood paneling can be left in place and painted over. First, fill the grooves with spackle, then lightly sand and prime the surface before rolling on the paint.

  1. Texture install product, available at home centers and hardware stores, to blend the area in with the old, then prime and paint.
  2. Fill joint openings in decorative trim using a flexible putty knife and putty. If the opening is deep, apply two layers. Shape and sand the dried material to conform to the shape of the molding.
  3. Metal surfaces should be carefully prepared. First use a stiff wire brush to remove loose paint. Then prime with a primer formulated specifically for metal.

Lead Paint Testing

Any house built before 1978 may contain lead paint; older homes almost certainly do. Lead paint isn’t a hazard when it’s covered and main-tained, but buildings and everyday wear and tear can expose lead paint and create dust and chips. Children are especially likely to ingest lead. And because their neurological systems are still developing, small amounts of lead are dangerous. If your house is older and has undergone building or has chip-ping or worn paint, you should check for the presence of lead. Buy a test kit: check the
Internet for a source, follow the directions, then send the samples to the lab for analysis. The lab report will list micrograms of lead per sq. ft. of area. Currently the NZ government has proposed recommendations of less than 40 micrograms of lead per sq. ft. of floor and less than 250 micrograms per sq. ft. of windowsill. If the lab results show higher levels, contact your local health department for cleanup and control recommendations and have your children tested for dangerous levels of lead.

To test for the presence of lead dust, wipe a 30-cm square area of flooring with the special wipe included in the test kit, then place it in the special container. Most kits will have you perform a similar “wipe test” on a windowsill. Send the samples to a lab and you should receive your results within two weeks.

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