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Why Surface Preparation Is Important Before Painting


Have you ever seen a poor paint job? The final product isn’t pretty. Everywhere you look, you’ll see paint that’s chipped, peeling, or uneven. But what causes a simple painting project to go so wrong? Oftentimes, it’s due to a lack of surface preparation. 

You might be surprised at all the prep work that goes into painting. It’s not as simple as picking up a brush and getting to work. Before any product is applied, a painter must thoroughly prepare the surface; otherwise, the results will be less than impressive. 


Professional painters will patch, sand, and clean a surface before painting it. Why? Here’s what can go wrong if a painter skips the prep work:

Other Items Could Be Damaged

You want to paint your walls—not the furniture that’s nearby. It’s time-consuming to move all your belongings, but if you don’t take the time to do it, you’ll end up with paint splatters on your chairs, floors, and windows. 

A professional painter will use painter’s tape to protect the surfaces that surround your walls. They’ll also relocate any nearby furniture and place drop cloths over the floors. 

The Paint Won’t Adhere To The Wall

We often clean the high-touch points in our homes, like the countertops and tables—but how often do we clean our walls? Over time, walls are coated with grease, acids, and dust. 

Trying to paint over these materials is a challenge. Dirty walls can make the paint skip spots or appear caked-on. Walls need to be clean and dry before any paint is applied; otherwise, the paint will have trouble sticking to them. 

It Won’t Last

Painting is an investment; it improves the value of your home and hides surface imperfections. But you won’t stretch your dollar very far if the paint doesn’t last. 

Dirt, oil, and dust will interfere with the bonding process. And if the paint doesn’t adhere to the wall, it can be damaged quite easily. When you move furniture against the wall or bump into it, the paint may flake or chip away.

The Color Will Look Uneven

If a surface is uneven, the paint on top of it will be uneven, too. Cracks in the wall and layers of old paint will make your walls look bulky instead of smooth. 

Even if you use different types of paint brushes, the result will be the same. It’s important to make your walls as smooth as possible before painting them. Otherwise, you’ll need to remove the paint you just applied to repair any cracks.

How Do Painters Prepare Surfaces?

Wondering how a professional painter avoids these issues? Here’s what their surface prep process typically looks like:

  • Fill holes and cracks. Walls need to be very smooth before any paint is applied. To repair uneven surfaces, a painter will sand the walls until they’re smooth and level. They’ll also repair any cracks or dents using putty. 
  • Clean the surface. It’s important to remove all traces of oil, grease, and dust. To do so, a professional painter will use cleaning supplies and washcloths. To clean an exterior surface, they might need to use a pressure washer. 
  • Apply primer. The right type of primer will depend on what type of paint you’re using, and whether you’re painting an interior or exterior surface. For example, a painter will use an oil-based primer with an oil-based paint.

Without surface preparation, a fresh coat of paint will transform a room—but not in the way you intended. You’ll end up with walls that are peeling, flaky, or uneven. Make sure that your paint will stand the test of time by preparing the surface first. 


At LIME Painting, our professional home painters will take care of all the prep work for you. Our services leave you with a consistent, even, and flawless finish. When we’re done, you’ll see the difference that a professional painter makes. Contact us today!


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