Painting prep can make or break your project. Preparation done right will pay off in the long run with a job that looks better and lasts longer.

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    The Best Results Begin with Careful Preparation

    Whether you’re painting an interior or an exterior surface, you’ll get the best results by carefully preparing the surface before you paint. Proper preparation can make all the difference in the final appearance of your project.

    And the efforts that you put into preparation now will also pay off in long-term durability. Poor prepaint preparation may result in a job that lasts only half as long.

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    Beware of Lead

    If lead-based paint is present on the surfaces to be painted, it should be removed before painting preparations are begun.

    How can you know if the existing paint contains lead? Start with the age of your home. If it was build in 1978 or later, no worries; lead-based paints were no longer being used at the time your home was built. But if your home was build before 1978, there’s a possibility that some or all of the existing paint contains lead.

    You can find out easily enough by purchasing an EPA-approved lead-testing kit. A testing kit will easily and quickly tell you if lead is present in your old paint.

    And if the tests indicate that lead is indeed present? Then your best bet will be to hire the services of a contractor who is certified in the removal of lead paint.

    The removal of paint residues containing lead is dangerous work for the inexperienced, and must be performed in a manner that satisfies a plethora of legal requirements. Hire a professional to handle the lead removal headaches. (For more information, visit

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    Your Goal is a Clean and Stable Surface

    For both inside and outside jobs, your prepaint goal is the same: the surface to be painted must be stable, offering good adherence for the new paint, and it must be clean.

    Start with removing any peeling, blistering, or scaling areas of the old paint. Your goal is to remove enough of the existing paint so that you’re left with a sound substrate. You’ll also want to be sure to degloss any glossy surfaces by using a liquid deglosser or by roughing with sandpaper.

    A great all-purpose cleaner for final paint-prep cleaning is Tri-Sodium-Phosphate (TSP).

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    Tips for Preparing Exterior Surfaces

    Pre-paint preparation is much the same for both interior and exterior surfaces. But there are a few special considerations for outdoor surfaces.

    You can use tools such as scrapers and wire brushes, along with sandpaper, for the job of removing peeling, blistering, or scaling paint. Any areas of bare wood that result should be spot-primed with a high-quality latex or oil exterior primer before applying the overall primer coat.

    You can use a mixture of 3 parts water, 1 part bleach to clean mildewed surfaces (be sure to protect shrubs and vegetation before applying).

    And for the final cleaning, you can use a garden hose or water blaster to wash down all exterior surfaces using TSP. Allow to dry thoroughly before applying primer. Let the primer coat dry overnight, and then you’ll be ready to apply the topcoat.

Your Shopping List

  • Charles Paso Liquid Deglosser
  • Homax Lead Check Swabs (2) pack
  • Norton or 3M Sandpaper
  • Savogran TSP
  • Benjamin Moore 023 Multi Purpose 100% Acrylic
  • Zinsser Cover Stain
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