Without seeing what condition your kitchen is currently in, let me give you the simple answer of Yes, then I’ll dig into some of the details of how we prepare any interior before we open the first can of paint.
Not all interiors start from the same place. Some homeowners like to freshen up their interior home colors ever couple of years, when you or I might not notice even a simple, tiny blemish here or there. Other homes, by the time we are asked to paint their interior, are in a sad state of repair. On the top of the list is a home that was both abused by wayward tenants and at the same time, ignored by the homeowner because, well, the rent kept coming in on time, and everything looked OK from the outside. Then one day, the renters disappeared, and before the house could be rented again, there were serious repairs needed and lots of updating to be done. It wasn’t just the paint, but some structural work on door frames, flooring and all manner of kitchen and bathroom fixtures. So, in that case, we might work with a subcontractor to some the repair work before we begin. It all depends on what kind of condition the house is in right now.
The more interiors I have painted, the more time I spend preparing for the first lick of paint. I have found that every moment in preparation is worth two moments in painting. The better a room is prepared for the painting, the easier the project is, the more predictable and the better the outcome. In fact, in the ideal, well prepared situation, the painting actually takes less time!
What I like to do is get as much of the furniture out of the room as possible. If it can’t be moved, then bunched together in the middle of the room so that it can be covered en masse, as they say in France. The alternative is, if you can’t practically keep it all in the middle of the room, to plan on painting the interior one half at a time. In that case, you can move the furniture to one side of the room while you paint the other, and vice versa.
Even the most fastidious, detail oriented painters, sooner or later, will splash a drop here or there. That’s why millions of dollars of painter’s drop cloths are purchased every year. It’s also what makes the industry for masking tape one that will be with us for the foreseeable future.
You need to mask the glass in each pane so that it is protected while you take care of the detail work of the window frames. I like to use newspaper to cover every inch of the glass, too, not just the masking tape along the edge of the glass. That way, there is simply no paint anywhere you don’t want it, and cleanup is a breeze.
One of the more challenging things to protect is carpets. Even a drop of paint that escaped through the protection can be very difficult indeed to remove afterwards. The trick is to make sure it doesn’t happen in the first place. To that end, I try to over-prepare when I am protecting a carpet. You have the combined problem of an infirm surface under the drop cloths and a surface that is an order of magnitude more difficult to clean later. Once you start to walk on it as you are doing the painting, the drop cloth ca move about. In the last, I have used lumber to run along the edges, to hold the drop cloth in place, and if necessary, catch the odd drop of paint should it fall.
Have you noticed how dentists these days often use a type of sheet to cover your face which has a hole in it only to allow the dentist to work on the inside of your mouth? If you think of painting prep work in the same light, imagine the room where everything is covered except everything that you want to paint! It’s a good way to look at how masking and prep work should work.
Many people have done this – myself included – used old newspapers and sticky tape to mask off such things as banister railings to save a couple of bucks on masking tape. The problem is, masking tape is non-porous – it’s made to be so – therefore it will block the paint from seeping through to what it is supposed to protect. Scotch tape is also non-porous, but it sticks hard to whatever surface you put it on, and it may lift the paint when the time comes to remove it. Newspaper, although as cheap a material as you can get, soaks up every type of paint. Even a drop will likely find its way right through to whatever is under it. Now you have a few problems. The paint reaches the carpet of hard floor, dries in place, then the old newspaper is stuck to the floor. The cleanup job has taken a turn for the worse.
If dollars are of a concern, you can also reuse masking tape from one room to the next. Let’s say you are planning to paint your three kids’ three bedrooms, one at a time. First, you mask what you need to mask in the first room. After the painting is complete, you can gently remove the masking tape from that first room and use it again – as best it fits – on the next room. You’ve just saved yourself the price of some masking tape. It doesn’t matter that it has some dried paint on it. It will all end up in the trash soon anyway. Moreover, you’ve done your bit to save the planet by keeping one or two more rolls of masking tape out of the landfill.
I tend to avoid spraying unless absolutely necessary simply because it’s much harder to control where the paint will end up. With today’s spray guns and spray paint, it is certainly gotten easier, but with even a slight breeze, some of the paint wanders through the air. Walk past a car body spray shop and smell the air. You know what I mean by paint wandering! If you do truly need to spray paint, remember the excellent ventilation is critical. If not for the protection of the room you are in, but for the air you are breathing while you are doing the job. Also, wear a mask to keep everything out of your lungs and out of your eyes. Any paint supply store worth its salt will be able to help you get the right equipment to save your eyesight and lungs.
And remember, although there are many consumer protection laws regarding the safety of paint, there are so many new products on the market – and many not for more than a decade – that you cannot be sure of the long term effects. Be safe, and assume the worst. Don’t inhale any fumes; keep all paint and paint related liquids away from your eyes, mouth and skin. You don’t want to be the victim of a new;y discovered issue with a paint product from today’s marketplace. Be safe and cover up!
See you again next week.