Basic Preparation of surfaces for painting. Learn these simple steps.          

Material Basics - Basic surface preparation


3 Steps to successfully starting your next project
Basic preparation

Definition: The base surface is the substructure onto which any finish painting or decoration is applied. It includes plaster, drywall, wood and metal trim, and furniture in its original unfinished state.

Meticulous and thorough preparation of the base surface, whether interior or exterior, ensures the quality and success of any project. Doors and windows, ceilings, floors, furniture and objects, whether to be painted, varnished, or treated with decorative techniques such as glazing, wallpapering or tiling, need to be carefully primed. Understand about the best type of material to use for your project. Learn how to best prepare your project for optimal results. And do it all in a safe and evironmentally conscious manner. Think safe, be safe!


Basic Preparation of surfaces for painting, glazing and decorative effects

Furniture and Objects

Thoroughly clean piece to be treated. Lightly sand surface, sanding in the direction of the wood grain, if applicable. The objective is to create ‘tooth’ on the surface. By sanding the finished surface, the surface becomes slightly rough (creating tooth) and allows the subsequent layer of primer to effectively ‘bite’ onto the surface, or to adhere properly. Fill any areas with wood filler, and allow complete drying. Sand filled areas and remove any dust with a tack cloth. Prime surface with the appropriate primer. Once the primer is completely dry, begin applying base color (for decorative techniques) or finished coat (for one color application).

Walls and Ceilings

For drywall and plaster walls remove any nails, screws or loose paint with a hammer, pliers and scrapper respectively. To fill holes apply a lightweight spackling compound or drywall compound with a trowel or putty knife. For large holes use wall patch meshing or fill area with a piece of drywall, cut to size, taping edges with drywall tape, then apply drywall compound and let dry. For large areas a second application of drywall compound may be required. ‘Float’ the edges out, thinning the compound as you spread it outward from the patched area. Sand surface smooth. Final sanding should be done with 220 grit sandpaper. Use painter’s tape to mask all moldings and casings. Prime the patched areas with appropriate primer. For most wall surfaces a water-based primer will be sufficient. Once primed and allowed to dry thoroughly, the base coat (for decorative finishes) or finished coat (for one color process) may be applied. 

Windows, Doors and Trim:

Remove all nails, screws, curtain rods and window dressings. Tape off glass areas and casings, where appropriate. Sand surface to smooth any irregularities. Where needed, patch holes with wood filler, using a putty knife. Allow to dry fully. Repeat if necessary. Sand areas smooth using 220 grit sand paper. Prime area with appropriate primer. When thoroughly dry, apply base color (for decorative finishes) or finished coat (for one color process).

5 easy guidelines to successful finishes

I use these 5 easy guidelines to insure the proper base preparation for any surface I’m working on.

Envision the finished product

Patch and fill

Sand

Prime

Apply base coat

Envision the finished product

Have a clear idea of what the finished treatment should look like. This will enable you to determine the extent of base preparation you need to undertake. For example; a piece of furniture you plan to treat as a piece of old folk art would not need much preparation as any blemishes or irregularities may enhance the finished product. Conversely, if you are preparing an object for gilding, the slightest irregularity may show up in the finished product and greater attention to surface preparation will be required.

Patch and fill

Patch any areas that need attention, such as nail and picture hook holes, cracks and chipped areas. Wood fill is commonly used for doors, windows, trim and furniture. Use plaster patch or Spackle for wall surfaces made of drywall or plaster.

Sand

Sand smooth any patched areas. It maybe necessary to begin with a coarse grade of sand- paper (i.e., 100 grit) then finish area with a finer grit (220 or 340 grit). On wood surfaces always sand in the direction of the wood grain.

Prime

A water based primer is suitable for most applications. However, a fast drying oil primer will provide better stain blocking properties and should be used over stone, brick and metal surfaces.

Apply base coat

Apply base color to surface. Type of product used for the base color, oil-based or water-based paint, depends on the final treatment being achieved.

Tip

3 steps to success!

Following these 3 basic precepts will ensure successful results with every project.

Test

Protect

Be Safe

Test

Before beginning any project always test an area first to determine compatibility of the product with the surface being treated. Creating sample boards is a very effective way to learn methods of application and to understand technique, especially when creating glazed surfaces, using water-based or oil-based glaze coats.

Protect

Spills, spatters and drips are unavoidable side-effects from paint application. Therefore, always protect areas to be treated with drop cloths and/or tape. This minimizes potential damage to surrounding surfaces like fabrics, wallpaper and furniture. Efficiently masking areas likely to be affected using painter’s tape can save a substantial amount of time and effort in the clean-up after completion of the project. Always test an area to be taped before beginning the masking job. Wallpaper is particularly susceptible to tearing. Lacquer and varnish surfaces on furniture may come off easily with the tape and the item could be severely damaged.

Always immediately remove tape after completion of a finished area, or at the end of each day. Tape dries out and can leave a tacky residue that often is very difficult to remove.

Be Safe

Always read the labels, as some paints, stains and varnishes are hazardous and toxic. For your own safety, always work in ventilated areas. Allow fresh air to circulate. Wear protective gear, including gloves, and eyewear. Leave the working environment regularly to access fresh air.





Oil Gilding Video Tutorial

Quick Dry oil size gilding. This detailed demonstration shows you how to apply genuine gold, Silver, imitation gold, aluminum and copper leaf to objects and furniture using the classic 3 hour oil size method. Brought to you by the folks at gildedplanet.com, you'll learn about types of adhesive, testing for 'tack' and drying rates, easy leaf application tips and cleaning and burnishing the leaf.


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