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Proper Preparation for Painting Techniques


One of the most often ignored secrets to painting your home is preparation. When homeowners think of painting, they think of simply a paintbrush or roller and a bucket of paint, like in the opening scene of Tom Sawyer. However, those in the industry for decades know that preparation is the real trick to painting mastery.

Believe us when we say that this task is not to be underrated! It may look boring, but we guarantee it can make a big difference between a professional job and an amateurish finish.

They say the devil is in the details, and 90% of those details come from proper preparation for painting. From cleaning the surface to plugging up flaws, we will give you the detailed play-by-play of how to do it right. We’ll teach you how and why to prime your walls, how and when to sand, and how to pick the correct instruments and materials for the job. Understanding the process of proper preparation is key to avoiding common painting errors that homeowners often encounter.

By following these steps, you’ll ensure your home looks freshly painted for years.

Get ready to embark on this exciting journey because, with the correct preparation, there is no restriction to what you can achieve with your paintbrush!

Cleaning the Surface

You cannot paint on a dirty surface. You can slap paint on a dirty wall, but it won’t stick, and all your brushes will be ruined. Even the walls of your house that don’t look particularly dirty have accumulated years of dust, pollen, bugs, and who knows what else. So, your painting job should begin with a thorough scrubdown of any surface, inside or out.

A power washer will save you time, but a sponge or shop vac will also help. I always recommend getting things wet rather than drying – it does make a big difference in how long your paint will last without bubbling or peeling.

Create a solution of tepid water and mild soap, and use a cloth or sponge to scour the area. Certain parts of your home will be dirtier than others. If you are going to paint them, go extra hard in those spots with the soap. Cleanse the surface with clean water and wait for it to fully dry before continuing.

If you find persistent stains or mold, use a specific cleaner or cleaning solution before painting. You don’t want that coming through the paint and ruining all your hard work!

Sanding for a Smooth Finish

Sanding is everyone’s favorite or least-favorite part of preparing for paint. After you have cleaned your house, you should walk around and carefully inspect those areas that will need some repair before painting. This can mean sanding or scraping. The purpose is to remove loose things from your house so that when the final layer of paint goes on, it doesn’t disrupt the smooth finish. Sand that puppy down! I rarely do it the first time around, sanding by hand, but almost always use my 5-in-1 and my orbital sander. Don’t skimp on this step – it can be time-consuming, but it is time well spent to ensure the house is ready for paint.

Start by using medium-grade sandpaper to carefully go over the entire area. Pay special attention to any coarse regions or spots with inconsistent heights.

After you’ve completed sanding with the medium-grade sandpaper, switch to the fine-grade sandpaper to conduct a final pass. This will help create an even smoother surface and ensure optimum adhesion for the paint. If you want to get into why a smooth surface creates a better adhesion environment for paint, you can read about the science here. (1)

Vacuum up and wipe down any new dust, then move on to filling holes.

Filling in Imperfections

Go back to the holes you undoubtedly found that require attention. Utilize a putty knife to spread spackle or wood filler over these spots, smoothing it evenly. Let it dry completely before softly buffing it with fine-grit sandpaper until it is even with the rest of the surface.

For bigger imperfections, you can use joint compound or plaster. Apply many thin layers, allowing each one to dry before adding the next. Once everything is level and sleek, lightly sand the entire area for optimal paint adhesion.

Don’t forget to remove any new dirt prior to continuing with your painting project for a polished end result.

Priming for Better Adhesion

To attain the best adhesion on your surface, use a primer. Don’t skip it because it’s more work. Don’t skip it to save money. Use primer. Liberally.

Priming is essential since it forms a smooth and equal base for your paint to connect to. It helps the paint attach securely, preventing it from peeling or chipping in the upcoming years. I’ve personally seen homes painted without primer need new paint in half the time or less than houses that get a full primer.

I have some tips for applying primer to your home:

Tip 1: Choose the right primer for the surface type. Select an appropriate primer based on the kind of surface you’re working with, such as wood, metal, or drywall.

Tip 2: Spread the primer in thin coats with a roller or a sprayer. Get a good, solid layer on there, and then let it dry completely. Do this well, and your final coat will look amazing.

Choosing the Right Tools and Materials

If you want proper house paint, you need the proper tools. Investing in the right tools is one of the most important parts of painting a house. Cheap paint brushes or cheap paint will ruin the job, even if it looks good on the first day.

A top-notch paint brush will help apply paint smoothly and uniformly, while a quality roller is ideal for covering expansive regions rapidly. It’s critical to pick the right sort of brush or roller, depending on the surface you’re dealing with.

Furthermore, put resources into good quality paint that coordinates with your ideal finish. This will guarantee better inclusion and strength in your paintwork. Don’t overlook masking materials, like drop materials, to shield your plants and furniture from drips and spills.

With the correct tools and materials in hand, you’ll be completely ready to take on any painting venture with certainty.


All right! You’ve got the information you need to do a great job on your house’s painting. Remember, taking your time, investing in the right tools, and considering essential preparation for painting projects can help you create a quality paint job, even if it’s your first time painting your house.

Additionally, familiarize yourself with responsiblpaint disposal methods to ensure environmental safety and compliance with local regulations after your painting project is completed.

If you decide to leave the painting to the professionals, we’d love to come onsite and give you a quote for our exterior painting services. Al’s Painting has been painting homes in Eau Claire for over 50 years. We are local and love helping our community transform. Give us a call at (715) 710-1106!


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