Interior Painting

Why Is Surface Preparation Important Before Painting?

Painting is a very common aspect of remodeling or updating your home, and surface preparation is an essential part of these renovations. Here’s why.

No matter what you’re painting, whether it’s your walls or your bathtub to give it a new lease of life, you need to prepare first. Why is it so important that you prepare that surface before you actually start painting it?

Here are just a few reasons why you should, and the steps of surface preparation for several different surfaces you’ll want to paint.

Do You Need Surface Preparation Before Painting?

There are several reasons why you need to prepare the surface before you paint it. If you put paint straight on, then you’re not going to get the result that you were hoping for.

These are the benefits:

1. Checks for cracks and irregularities:

Regardless of what you’re painting, cracks are going to ruin the effect of the paint. You want a smooth, even finish, so the worst thing would be to have cracks in the surface after you painted it.

In some cases, a crack will show that there’s a structural issue. You’ll need to fill in these cracks before you can start painting.

2. Finds any damp spots:

Before you paint a wall or ceiling, you want to ensure that there are no damp spots. These indicate that there’s an issue with moisture somewhere nearby.

  • If there’s a damp spot on the ceiling, that’s a very good sign that there’s a roof leak that you need to address.
  • It can also indicate that there’s not enough ventilation in the room.

You’ll need to correct these issues before continuing on.

3. Removes dirt:

Dirt on a surface is obviously going to ruin any paint job. You’ll need to clean down anything you paint, especially things like furniture or bathroom appliances such as sinks and bathtubs.

As well as ruining the look, it’ll also make it difficult for the paint to stick to the surface.

4. Helps with priming before painting:

Before you begin painting, you’ll want to prime it. This serves a couple of different purposes.

  • Firstly, you’ll be able to cover over any dark spots, making them easier to disguise.
  • Secondly, it’ll help paint to adhere better, making the paint job last longer.

So as you can see, there are several reasons why preparation is important, and they’re all rooted in getting the best result possible from your paint job.

How to Prepare Before Painting

If you’re about to paint something, how do you make sure you get the best result? It’s all down to the surface preparation. It’ll take time, but it’s very much worth it. Here are the steps you’ll take in most cases:

Step 1:

Empty out the room you’ll be painting if you’re indoors. You’ll also want to cover anything that you don’t want to cover in paint with a drop cloth to protect it.

You’ll also need to wear old clothing that you won’t mind getting covered in paint.

Step 2:

Clean down what needs to be painted. In most cases, you’ll just need some mildly soapy water to get the job done.

  • If the walls or item being painted were relatively clean, this will be enough.
  • If it’s an older item or hasn’t been cleaned in a while, you may need to take more steps to get it clean.

Ensure you rinse it off well and dry it off, ready for the next step.

Step 3:

Now it’s time to fill in holes and cracks as best you can. Minor cracks are easily filled with filling solution that you can buy from your local hardware store.

  • Fill in the holes
  • Allow the mixture to dry
  • Then sand it down until the wall or surface is even again

Ensure you take your time with any drywall repair, so you get the best results.

Step 4:

It’s time to prime the surface. You’ll need to buy a primer paint that’s designed for your needs.

For example, if you’re painting furniture, you’ll need a primer designed for wood. If you’re painting the walls, then you’ll need a wall primer. Apply one coat and allow it to dry thoroughly. Drying times will vary, so ensure that you read the instructions on the paint to see how long you’ll need to leave it.

Once you’ve done all this, you’ll be ready to paint and get the best results, the first time.

Preparing Irregular Surfaces

There are some types of surface preparation that will need some extra care and attention before you paint them.

Here are a few that you should be aware of before you paint them.

1. Stucco:

Stucco looks fantastic when it’s freshly painted, but you’ve got to take care of it first. Over the years, it will get damaged by the elements.

Take a look to see if there’s any mold or damp spots, or any gaps in the stucco. You’ll need to replace the stucco before you can carry on.

2. Bathtubs:

You can paint an older bathtub to give it a new lease of life. Reglazing that tub will correct an old unfashionable color, any cracks in the original glaze, and generally make it look much better than it did before.

Before you can do this though, you need to prepare. You’ll need to remove any trim plumbing, such as the drain, overflow cap, and so on.

You’ll also need to remove any caulking and grout that directly surrounds the bathtub. You’ll then be able to follow the above steps to paint your bathtub.

3. Furniture:

Rather than buying new furniture, there’s a lot to be said for refinishing an old piece that you’ve had for a while. If it’s been sat in storage or seen a lot of action though, it will need cleaning up first.

Wooden furniture will need sanding to buff out any dents or scratches before you paint it.


Now you see just why it’s so important for surface preparation, for any surface that you’re thinking about painting. Fixing up problems and preparing the surface will make the paint look much better, and last much longer.

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