I read a great quote from an old painter once who reckoned when it came to painting preparation people either did not enough or TOO MUCH!
He said if you were puffing while sanding, you were sanding too hard. The idea is to give your surface a ‘key’ or vey light scratching that the paint can stick to. We are not trying to sand old paint completely off.
For interior painting trim such as doors, windows, skirting etc. the same applies. Paint manufacturers often advise that old painted timber should be stripped back to bare timber! Well, I suppose anything is possible – if you want to pay for it. A good scrape, fill, sand, wash and wipe is really all that is needed.
Similarly good solid walls and ceilings may only need a quick sweep to remove dust or cobwebs. Its not usually necessary to undercoat the whole area.
Surfaces to be painted need to be clean and smooth with a ‘key’, but stripping off ALL previous evidence of paint is just a waste of my time and your money.
Before any of that wonderful coloured paint you’ve chosen goes on, a lot background work has to happen.
With some painting jobs (such as re finishing outdoor furniture) the preparation time can be up to 60% of the job. For outdoor furniture, I use a high pressure wash, a cleaning product THEN a brightening product before the stain goes on. Some of the muck that comes off could grow potatoes.
The exposed chips and scratches of old painted timber (especially dark wood) needs a dab of undercoat before the new coloured top coat goes on.
Exterior window frames, sash windows, bay windows etc. catch a lot of dust and dirt. They need to be swept, washed, sanded and swept again. A recent 6 day painting job I did, had two days of fiddly preparation before I even picked up a paint brush.
Then there’s ‘sealing’. A raw plaster patch is much thirstier than the old painted wall around it. The plaster needs to be sealed with either PVA glue or a good primer/undercoat. Leaving the sealing step out results in the plastered part sucking up the paint and leaving a clearly visible difference when the top coats are done.
So even though none of the paint preparation is seen, it is vital to a first class finished paint job.
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