Preparing an Apartment for Painting

We’ve just signed a lease for an apartment that’s a bit of a fixer-upper. The landlord is pretty laid back and is willing to let us repaint his apartment because it needs it and he hadn’t had the time or the resources do it himself. We were willing to do the job because he gave us a great deal on the rental price and we were able to choose any paint colour we wanted.

The State of the Walls
The structure of the apartment was pretty good; however, the previous tenants pretty much trashed the walls. There were stuck-on tape and putty from posters that had been put up in the kids’ room. There were pencil and pen marks all over the walls at kids’ height. There were holes in the walls from the previously hung TVs, and there were grimy hand marks all over the place that were difficult to clean. Bits of paint came off in areas where tape had been removed and the paint came out with it. The walls were in dire need of a paint job.

The Big Prep
The hardest and most important part of the painting process is not the painting itself (we find it actually the easiest part) but the preparation. Preparation is key when it comes to having a beautifully finished paint job. The tools you’ll need are a very soft-bristled broom, vacuum with a soft-brush attachment, different-sized scrapers, screw drivers, painter’s tape, cleaning rags, wall fixing putty for small holes, and fine-grit sanding paper or sponge.

If there is furniture in the room, be sure to remove them or cover them before the prep and painting. The first step in the prep is by examining the walls and noting areas of damage where the walls will have to be filled. You can do that while you clean every inch of the walls taking care to remove cobwebs, dust, and greasy spots with a broom and a damp rag. You can use a wrung out soapy rag for really greasy spots like in the kitchen area then go over it with a clean sponge to remove any soap residue. Next, the holes will have to be filled with the putty mixed according to the manufacturer’s direction. Make sure it’s the right putty for your wall so it won’t be noticeable at all after you paint over it. Apply the putty with the putty knife and let it dry completely. After it has dried completely, you can sand it with the fine-grit sandpaper until you won’t notice where the hole was and the putty area is flush with the wall. Carefully sweep or remove the dust off the walls again with a soft broom and vacuum the floor free of dust.
If there are windows in the room, put painters tape on the edges of where you want your border to be. If you’re painting the window sills, you can put painters tape also on the edge of the glass panes for easy cleanup and no mess on the glass. Just remove them right after you finish the last coat of paint to prevent weeping of the paint onto the areas you’re not painting. This also prevents peeling of the paint at the borders which can happen after the coats of paint dry.

That’s how we prepared our apartment for painting. You can also apply the same steps for your home or commercial space. Click here for more information on choosing the perfect paint colours and the best types of paint to use for your interior or exterior areas.

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