Any painting contracting company worth its salt should leave your home in top condition after the painting project is complete. Some will leave a lot of work behind, assuming the homeowner will wrap it up, but at Rite Painting, we will leave your home in a condition that you would not know we were there. That is, of course, other than enjoying the results of an excellent painting job!
Many people, when they embark on a home painting project, want to dive right in and see results immediately. It sure is tempting to get started with brushes and rollers as soon as you can, but there are two other major steps in a painting project that have little to do with actual paint, per se, but have a profound influence on the finished result. Those two factors are preparation and clean up. And they are, in a way, linked. If the preparation is done properly, cleanup is easier, and so too is the quality of the finish in general, for a number of reasons. After having painted – or supervised the painting of – hundreds of homes and probably thousands of rooms at this point, I have come to learn that the preparation steps are possibly the most important of all. If you get that right, it’s easier to do the actual paint work, and the cleanup won’t have any surprises. So how does all that work?
Preparing a room for painting means exposing what you want to paint, and protecting what you don’t want to paint. To paint a wall, you have to remove pictures, curtains, furniture, toys, etc., and at the same time, you need to protect carpets, some light fixtures, trim, light switches, outlets and everything from cabinetry to window panes. Some things can be easily masked, while other object take a bit of careful consideration. Industrial drop cloths to cover your carpet must be good enough to do a perfect job. Small paint splashes can, with effort, be removed from a carpet after the project, but you can never be sure that it’s even possible. Every paint type is a little different, and there are variations too across different paint manufacturers. If even a small paint spillage gets into your carpet, and especially if it has a chance to dry in, it can take quite a bit of time to clean it out. With cheaper carpets, you might find a variance in color after your cleaning attempt, because cheaper carpets – such as those used commonly in apartments for rent – may have inferior colorfastness. The ideal situation is, when you can do the work without impacting the carpet in any way. That also means the drop cloths must not let even the slightest drop of paint through.
Masking off trim is less of a challenge if you are planning to paint that trim later. For example, if you are painting the walls in a room first, letting it dry, then painting the trim around doors and windows, the occasional drift of paint over a small area of trim will be painted over later. Still it’s good practice to keep each color to its designated area. This avoids any visible paint ‘overage’ or layering that can give an odd look or introduce a shadow under unforeseen angles of light. Ideally, you would mask off all trim, then soon after the broad painting is done, remove the masking to expose any such drift. Clean that extra paint off while it is still not fully cured.
Some painters have an incredibly accurate ‘hand’. They can paint along a trim line without the use of aids like masking tape. Regardless, I prefer to leave nothing to chance, and use masking tape wherever two colors – or two different paint types – meet. For example, if you were using a flat mat on the walls, but a slightly more gloss level to the door trim, but both were the same color, you should definitely use masking tape because you may not see a mistake until hours or days later. Many paints look like gloss when they are still wet, so a gloss splash on mat may only show up the next day. Masking protected areas solves that problem.
The better an area is prepared, the easier it is to paint. When everything you don’t want printed is masked off fully, you don’t have to worry about mistakes because it doesn’t matter if a little paint gets on the masking tape. Obvious as that might sound, beginners tend to use less masking tape or material, hoping to just “be more careful” as they apply paint. The result of that shortcut is that you are focused on being careful more than focused on getting the paint applied evenly, for example.
Proper preparation – both in terms of masking and object removal – will also help you get the painting part of it done faster. If you are getting the whole family involved, needless to say, protecting everything before you start is essential. Younger family members might be more interested in having fun than in protecting your family assets, so to reduce your own anxiety around that, you know that preparation is everything.
When a painting project is rushed, it’s the cleanup stage that gets you. Those little corners you didn’t mask off properly now present a cleanup challenge to you. Instead of spending an extra thirty seconds making sure that door knob was 100% covered, now you are spending twenty minutes scraping small paint drops off it, and applying rubbing alcohol to bring it back to a clean state again. With some things, you can’t bring things back. What if your grand piano gets some paint splashes on its ivory keys? Do you know how to clean oil based paint drops from one hundred year old ivory?
There’s an old adage about a break to sharpen the scythe is never a waste of time, applies to your painting project as much as the hay harvest. Taking those extra moments to protect your home, makes it very easy to do a perfect cleanup. That’s how we guarantee it – we take the time to do a flawless preparation.
See you next week!