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Ninety Percent of Painting is Preparation

It's a gorgeous Saturday. You prayed for rain, and unfortunately your children have all read Tom Sawyer, which means they are too smart to fall for the old "whitewash the fence" trick. Face it, you are stuck inside on a beautiful day, painting. At this point, getting the job done well, with as much speed and efficiency as possible, is your best bet.

Assembling the right tools for prep work and clean up will make your painting job easier. Before you begin, consider the preparation work that will be necessary before you start painting. Be sure you have caulked all joints, cracks and seams, and that you have applied putty to any holes in the walls. Give the caulk or putty time to dry before you begin to paint. When painting windows, check the panes for loose or missing putty. Be sure to remove loose putty and replace it with new before starting to paint.

Once the surface is sufficiently prepared, make sure it is clean. Use a wire sanding brush or power sander to remove loose paint and dirt before you apply the primer. Skipping this phase may be tempting, but it will only cause problems later in terms of peeling or chipping paint.

Before you start painting, consider the clean up process. Be sure to have paint solvents on hand (if using oil-based paints) to clean your hands and your brushes. Careful cleaning and storage of your brushes will ensure a long life. Once brushes are cleaned (either with solvents, or water, depending on the paint used), wrap wax paper around the bristles and secure with a rubber band. This will keep the bristles from drying out and becoming stiff.

Your next step is to cover the floor and furniture around the area you are painting. Plastic drop clothes or old bed sheets will keep paint off of the surrounding surfaces, and make clean up easier. If you are using roller trays, line them with aluminum foil so that when you finish painting you can simply remove the foil for a speedy clean up.

If you are painting an area where two colors of paint will join, be sure to apply masking tape to the area of a different color. This will save you from having to pull out the other color of paint and do touch ups, and will create a neater looking line.

Paint should be thoroughly mixed before applying to any surface. To ensure this, pour off the thin portions of paint that rise to the top of the can, and set aside. Next, use a stirrer to unsettle the paint at the bottom of the can. Then, mix a small amount of the thin portion back into the can. Stir in a figure eight motion. Continue to stir, gradually returning the rest of the thin portion back into the paint can. Pour the paint back and forth several times from one container to another. This mixes the paint and brings it to the proper thickness for application.

Keep paint rings or drips from the can off of your floor by sticking a paper plate the bottom of the paint can. Simply apply a little bit of paint to the bottom of the paint can, and press the can on top of a paper plate. The plate will stick to the bottom of the can and catch drips.

At this point, you are ready to begin painting. You will reap the benefits of your prep work by spending less time fixing errors and cleaning up. Maybe you'll even get to enjoy some of that sunny Saturday, after all.

Sources: James Dulley, Tips and Ideas that Make Painting Easier.

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