So I seem to have gotten a bit stuck while working on the main bathroom for the ORC. I got stuck on the prep work. When a task is not your favorite, it can really drag on. And that’s what happened while preparing the bathroom walls for painting.
If you’re new here from the ORC site, welcome! I’m Sara-Lynn, the Inspired Decorator.
I do not enjoy the prep work for painting. There I’ve admitted it. Patching, sanding, taping… bleh.
You know what I do enjoy though?
I love the smell as you open up a fresh can of paint. It’s probably a good thing that I always get Benjamin Moore’s low-VOC Aura paint. I love their paint. I enjoy dipping my paint roller into a tray of paint and putting that first streak of color on the wall. And I especially love how transforming a few coats of paint can be.
But alas, I’m not there yet.
I do understand how truly important it is to prep a room for painting before putting a brush on the walls. And I want to share that knowledge with you for your own painting projects.
Benefits of Properly Prepping
When you take the time to properly prepare a room before painting anything, you will have a cleaner and more professional looking finish. When you cut corners to save on time or costs, it can come back to haunt you in the form of peeling paint, bubbling paint, noticeable textures differences, to name a few. These are issues I have seen first hand. Then it takes even more work, time and money to fix.
How To Properly Prep For Painting
The first thing you should do is assess your walls. How marked up are they? Do they need patching? Are there holes to fill? Any corners that need repairing?
Patch and Sand
Depending on the size of the holes, you may need to use a wall patch first. In our bathroom, the towel bar was really anchored in place. In the end, we had to cut out the damaged drywall section. You can get a mesh patch that’s designed for fixing drywall holes. You cut it to size and stick it over the hole. Then use some drywall compound to cover up the mesh patch. Let it dry then sand to a smooth finish. You may need to add a second or third layer of compound to really cover up the screen. Just be sure to let the compound fully dry and always sand between coats for a smoother finish.
After that, you can go around filling in holes from hanging pictures, nail pops, divots from bath toys and any other markings. Fill them, let dry, and then sand smooth.
For even better texture results across a wall with lots of patches, lightly sand the whole wall. This will sand down any high spots, bumps, previous paint brush textures, and make your wall look more uniform after the fresh painting is done.
Always wipe down the walls with a mild cleaner and damp cloth before doing any painting- especially in a bathroom.
Since bathrooms can get so humid, that moisture clings to the walls and can leave a residue behind. If you go straight into painting, your new paint will adhere to the grime on the wall instead of the actual wall, which leads to the paint peeling later on.
And if you did any patching and sanding, there’s going to be lose drywall dust on your walls too.
So mix up a diluted mix of TSP cleaner or other mild cleaner and start wiping your walls clean from top to bottom. Even a damp microfibre cloth is better than not doing anything.
You’ll have less issues with your paint down the road by cleaning your walls properly first. Another benefit is that your painters tape will adhere much better on a clean surface so there’ll be less paint leaks underneath the tape.
Tape and Dropcloths
I like to use painters tape to protect surfaces. I can cut in pretty sharply along a ceiling, but sometimes I get too close with my paint roller. If you really want to protect a surface, such as your floors, using a dropcloth is also a good idea.
Tape off any door trim and baseboards that are staying on, countertop edges, toilets, shower edges, light fixtures, and anything that has to stay in place while you’re painting. Accidents can happen, splatter can happen so take precautions now by protecting surfaces.
Ready to Prime and Paint
Make sure to take off any non-permanent baseboards and trim, switch plates, light fixture plates, outlet covers, and anything else you may be able to remove for a cleaner finish. It’s also a good idea to lay a sheet of cardboard down on the floor underneath your paint can to catch any drips. Although that may be more of a painting tip.
Anywhere that you had to patch you should paint a primer over the patching compound, otherwise, it will suck the moisture out of your first coat of paint pretty quickly. If you did a lot of patching, then it may be a better idea to prim the whole wall for a more uniform finish.
By taking the time to properly prep for painting you will get a smoother finish and your paint job will last longer. If you’re using a high-quality paint then you won’t have to worry about peeling, flaking, or runs. Take your time and you’ll have a well-finished room in no time. Your guests will think you had someone come in and paint for you!