This post was last updated on June 3rd, 2018 at 05:05 pm
Issue #001 – Table of Contents
Interior Surface Preparation Tips – learn some of the most important steps before picking up the paintbrush.
Choosing The Proper Brush – learn what type of brush is most appropriate for the surface you will be painting and how to use it effectively.
Table of Contents
Surface Preparation for Painting Interior – Tips and Tricks
Preparing the surface is the most important part of any painting project!
If the paint doesn’t have a smooth, clean surface to adhere to, it simply won’t look very good or last very long. You will probably need to spend as much time on surface prep as you will painting.
Follow these steps:
- If you can’t move the furniture out of the room, push it all into the center and cover it with drop cloths. Remove outlet covers, wall heating vents, light fixtures, and other hardware.
- Scrape flaking paint or rust from the surface. Wire brushes are very helpful here because they have more bristles to work faster and durable wrap-around handles to protect your fingers. Scrapers also work well for this, especially on wood.
- If you are repainting over a semigloss or gloss paint, the gloss should be removed by sanding or else the new coats of paint may not adhere. A liquid cleaning/dulling agent can sometimes be used instead of sanding.
- Look for cracks in the surface. Now is the time to repair them. Fill the cracks, chips, splinters, and nail holes with patching plaster, spackling compound, or wood putty, whichever is appropriate.
- When the patch is dry, sand it lightly and feather the edges of any rough areas so they’re level with the rest of the surface. Spot prime to “seal” those areas. If you’re working on metal then sand the entire object so that any rough areas are level with the rest of the surface. (The smoother the surface, the better it will look after it’s painted.)
- Wash the surface with a good detergent solution to get rid of grease, dirt and dust. Rinse thoroughly with clean water and allow it to dry completely.
Here’s A Key To “The Professional Look”
- Use the proper primer on the entire surface if it is newly constructed, stained by water or smoke, prone to mildew, rusted, or aged. Your paint store can provide recommendations. Primer really helps to seal and even-out the surface and/or prevent rust. The paint will go on smoother, adhere better, and last longer.
- Tape off baseboards, moldings, window frames, or any other areas that you don’t want to be painted. Always run a putty knife along the edge of the tape to ensure a good seal that will minimize any paint seeping behind. For painting ceilings, cover the entire floor with drop cloths – oh, and wear a hat 🙂 When painting walls, you can probably get away with only covering the floor next to the wall you’re painting.
Now you are ready to paint!
Choosing The Proper Brush
There are two things you need to know in order to select the right paintbrush for the job: 1) the surface you’ll be painting and 2) the type of paint you’ll be using.
Paintbrushes are made in a wide variety of sizes, from the smallest 1/2-inch to the largest 6-inch.
You’ll probably need two brushes for every project—a small one for painting trim or detailed areas and a large one for covering surfaces quickly. Just choose the sizes you feel comfortable using, that will “fit” your surface nicely.
Use the largest brush suitable for the surface. You’ll need small brushes for narrow surfaces, but larger brushes carry more paint so there’s less dipping to refill and fewer strokes to cover the surface. Reduce your effort by choosing the largest suitable brush.
Now for the type of paint, you’ll be using. When it comes to paintbrushes, paint is divided into two categories.
In the first category, you have water-based coatings. The paint can label will have one or a combination of these words: latex, acrylic, waterborne, or water-based.
The second category is oil-based coatings. Look for these words on the can label alkyd, oil, solvent-borne, or oil-based.
For water-based coatings, choose a nylon/polyester (synthetic) brush.
Nylon/polyester brushes are durable so they’re great for painting rough surfaces, they maintain their stiffness in humid painting conditions, and they clean the easiest.
Actually, you can’t go wrong with a professional nylon/polyester brush like the Wooster Ultra/Pro® or the high-quality Golden Glo® because they can be used with all paints, water-based or oil-based.
However, for oil-based coatings, your best choice is a natural bristle brush. Natural bristle has unique properties that are difficult to duplicate synthetically.
Bristle comes in many different lengths and thicknesses to produce a brush that holds a lot of paint. Bristle also has the softest tips for the smoothest finish.
Then why not always use a bristle brush? Like our hair, bristle absorbs water.
You shouldn’t use a natural bristle brush in water-based paints because you’ll end up with a floppy mop that won’t paint very well.
Also, rough surfaces will quickly wear out a bristle brush. So, if you’re using a water-based coating or painting a large rough surface, choose a synthetic brush instead.
How To Paint With A Brush
- First, fill the brush by dipping it halfway into the paint—don’t be bashful and only dip the tips, but don’t drown the brush by sinking it up to its ferrule. Tap the brush lightly inside the can or bucket to prevent dripping.
- Paint in approximately 2-foot square sections at a time. Overlap each section slightly. Brush from unpainted areas into freshly painting ones so that all the sections blend invisibly together.
- Long, smooth strokes produce a better finish than short, choppy ones. Finish each stroke with a light, lifting motion toward the last wet edge to help prevent brush marks. Remember, brushing the paint out too thinly can reduce proper hiding qualities. As the brush begins to run out of paint, refill it instead. Don’t press too hard on the brush.
Final Words on Surface Preparation for Painting Interior
Paint should be applied with the tips of the brush, not the sides. “Riding the brush” leaves marks in the coating and can bend or break the filament.