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Tips & How-Tos

How to prepare the interior walls

Remove as much furniture as possible from the room. Cover the floor and remaining furniture with dropcloths. Plastic is ideal for covering furniture; however, a good canvas dropcloth is well worth the investment as it absorbs paint, is not slippery, will not move, and is reusable.

Remove pictures, mirrors, window treatments, electrical switch plates, and hardware. Loosen the ceiling plates of hanging light fixtures and cover the fixtures.

Surface dirt can result in poor adhesion. Use a light detergent solution and wash surfaces that are dirty, touched frequently, or that may have any oily residue caused by cooking. Be sure to wash doors and trim, particularly where handled. When clean, wipe surfaces with a damp cloth to rinse and allow to dry before painting. It is important not to leave a residue from the detergent.

Special note on marking pens, crayon marks, and water stains: Remove as much of the markings as possible using a liquid detergent, then wipe with clean water. Spot prime remaining marks with Moore's® QD-30® or Benjamin Moore's Fresh Start® to prevent "bleeding" through the finish coat.

Sand glossy surfaces with fine sandpaper to ensure proper adhesion. Be sure to remove sanding dust. Vacuum surfaces clean and wipe with a tack cloth.

Examine surfaces for nail holes, cracks, and other surface imperfections. Rake out large plaster cracks in walls and ceilings with a putty knife to remove loose particles.

Using a putty knife, firmly press spackling compound into the crevices and smooth until flush with surface. Fill mitered trim joinings (which have opened) and door or window trim (which has separated from the wall) by pressing the compound into the crevices and smoothing with your finger. Allow to dry and then sand lightly. Since patching compound shrinks as it dries, large holes and cracks usually require a second application after the first has dried. Benjamin Moore spackling products are Moorlastic® Lightweight Compound and Moorlastic® Vinyl Spackling Paste.

Remove loose or scaling paint with a putty knife. Where removed from walls or ceilings, sand paint edges for a smooth surface. This will marry the two levels of paint and will not be noticed when recoated. If removed from sash, trim, or doors, sand the entire surface with fine sandpaper.

Tip: Paint the back of switch plates as a future color reference, or use a marker to record color names and numbers.

A Word on Applicators

Brushes - Quality brushes are a wise investment. A 2" or 2 1/2" angular sash brush and a trim brush of comparable size will enable you to paint most sash, trim, baseboards, edges, and corners. Choose brushes with long, dense, and "flagged" (rather than square-cut) bristles, which look like the split ends of a piece of hair.

Rollers - On large, flat surfaces, rollers are easier and faster to paint with than brushes. Tray-fed rollers are the most popular. Consider both the surface texture (see right) and the gloss level of paint you're using when selecting roller nap length. Generally, the higher the product's gloss level, the shorter the nap you'll need. Eggshells work well with a 3/8" nap, while most alkyds are ideally applied with a 3/16" nap. Remember, don't skimp, especially when applying latex.

Source: Benjamin Moore 2002