Preparing a House for Painting

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Preparation is key to painting a house. 80% preparation, 20% painting. If a wall our any substrate for that matter is prepared properly the actual painting of the wall or substrate will be quick and effective. Paint will stick properly and won’t fail prematurely. It makes sense that once the paint has been applied it is a sunk cost and cannot be recovered in the event of failure. Unlike some other building items that can be re-used if the installation went a bit wrong, paint of course cannot be and needs to be applied properly after careful consideration of how the preparation should be done.

Old flaking and peeling paint should be removed completely either by wire brush, sand paper or high pressure cleaner. Outdoors, high pressure cleaners can be used quite effectively. It is advisable to lay some shade cloth on the ground where the paint will fall. There’s nothing worse than trying to rake up millions of pieces of small paint from the grass. Lay some shade cloth down and simply scoop it up once it is off the wall.

Indoors of course the high pressure cleaner might not be as suitable so a wire brush needs to be used. If the old paint is not peeling, then a simple sanding with a course grit paper will suffice. Sugar soap is also a very strong cleaning agent available on the market which is inexpensive and effective. Wash the walls after sanding to remove all dust and allow to dry properly before applying paint. The sugar soap removes dirt and grease that will prevent the paint from sticking properly.

Plaster crack and any defects should be repaired by using crack filler or structural grout before sanding. They should be raked out properly and filled. Follow the guidelines on the box of crack filler. A crack that is too wide might need a slightly different approach to a narrower crack or a different product all together.

I‘ve had walls that weren’t prepared properly the last time they were painted resulting in the paint starting to peel in areas. It makes sense that if it has started to peel across half the surface area due to bad preparation, it is only a matter of time before the other half starts to peel too. So it must all come off before it is painted again. In this instance we used a small grinder with fibre pads to remove all the paint and then we skimmed the walls to get them smooth again before starting the painting. Paint stripper can also be used although paint stripper is normally used for smaller areas. To apply paint stripper to a large surface will be expensive and time-consuming.

Wooden skirting, pelmets, windows frames etc. should also be sanded lightly with a course grit and then move through the grits to get the desired smoothness before painting. The course grit paper should remove any loose or peeling paint. It is often impossible to remove all paint and get back to bare wood. Often a sanding machine cannot reach all areas so a light sand and re-application of sealer or paint is all that is needed. One should bear in mind that a lot of timber sealers used on doors and frames is translucent. So it is advisable to go with a slightly darker colour to cover any peeling that is still visible after sanding. If in doubt test some on an inconspicuous area to see what the final result will be.

Always follow the manufactures instructions that appear on the tin of paint. They know their product and they know how it behaves. If there is a failure after following their instructions then there is recourse. But if they were not followed, then the manufacturer will not be liable for any failure.

For a free no obligation quote on painting both internal and external areas of your house, please contact us on 031 – 762 1795 or use the contact us form below.


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