Proper Preparation Key to Lasting Results

Proper Preparation Key to Lasting Results

Whether commercially or residentially, a good paint job depends on the work done before the first coat of finish is ever applied. This is what professionals refer to as preparation--or, more simply, prep work. Prep work is the process of getting the job ready to paint. Proper preparation helps ensure adhesion, color and sheen uniformity, plus longevity. Skipping this procedure or skimping on thoroughness most times will result in an unsatisfactory finish with a short life-span of the coating.

To make for a good-looking and lasting commercial or residential paint job, professional painting contractors will follow these important steps in properly preparing the surfaces before finishing.


The first step is protecting those items and areas that are not being treated. This is done by masking and covering. On exteriors these would include windows, doors, lights, hose bibs, and landscaping. On interior projects it would be furniture, flooring, and fixtures. Key to a quality project is making sure the paint goes where it is intended!

Exterior Preparation


While not 100% applicable, most exterior projects should be power washed. Power washing not only removes dirt and other contaminants, it aids in the removal of loose and peeling paint (if present). In some cases a simple washing is required; in other instances a more aggressive approach is needed. The key is a clean and stable surface (substrate), which power-washing provides. Typically, depending on the finishes being applied and the weather conditions, a building should be allowed to dry for 1-2 days before painting.


Where loose, peeling or bubbling paint exists, it must be removed prior to priming and finishing; this is typically done by hand, although in some cases other mechanical means may be employed. Too, loose rust, where present, must be removed--as well as loose caulking or glazing. Depending on the application and the wants and needs of the customer, it is not uncommon to feather-sand the edges where loose paint has been removed and intact paint remains. This aids in the appearance as well as in the integrity of the finished product.

Caulking and priming

Typically, all bare wood and metal must be primed before painting. In some cases, entire surfaces must be primed; in others, simply spot priming is needed. The type of primer must be compatible with the substrate (e.g., wood primer for wood surfaces, metal primer for metals).

Caulking gaps in wood members, joints, and holes is an important step to prevent moisture penetration, insects, and weather to enter your building--maybe even causing structural damage. There are a variety of types of caulk on the market, from urethanes and silicones, to acrylics and latex. A professional commercial contractor will know the right type of caulk to use.

Interior Preparation

Most interior preparation includes patching minor imperfections, caulking dissimilar materials, filling holes, spot priming, and sanding. Here again, proper prep work provides for a well-adhered, uniform finish that provides for aesthetic beauty, washability, and durability.

Prep work can be time-consuming and certainly adds cost to the job, but omit these key steps and most likely you will end up with an unsatisfactory project. This is why you need the help of a professional painting contractor like T. L. Hart, Inc. With over 35 years of experience in commercial, industrial, and residential painting, T. L. Hart has the knowledge to assess and properly prepare the surface of your building. Call us today to learn more.

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