The 17 Biggest Time Wasting Mistakes People make During Painting Part 3

MISTAKE #3: Not Preparing Surfaces Correctly

An unprepared surface is like trying to hang a plain piece of paper on a bulletin board without tape; it just won’t stick. Before you begin painting, correct preparation is extremely important if you want the stain and paint to last longer.

Use a good hook scraper to remove loose paint. In spots where wood is not even, we recommend that you use a putty knife. Putty knives cause less damage to your wood. Next, sand the rest of the paint to a dull finish. To create a smoother paint appearance, make sure you feather all thicker spots. This is also a good time to remove all cracked caulking. Finally, take a wire brush along with a garden hose and remove any paint that may still be loose. If you don™t want to leave any stains or deep mars, then never use a brush that has steel or iron bristles.

You can also fill any nail heads, cracks and other imperfections with a latex caulk and exterior filler before painting. If your house has widespread paint failure, scraping and starting over at the bare wood would be your best option for the long term.

MISTAKE #4: Cutting Short Interior Preparation

SPEND 15 to 30 minutes clearing the room. Start by removing as much furniture as possible from the room. Cover the floor and remaining furniture with drop cloths or good old thick sheets. You could also use plastic for only covering furniture. A good investment is to use good canvas drop-cloths, as they are not slippery, will not move easily, absorbs paint, and can be reusable. One way to protect your carpet is by using 3 wide masking tape. Run the tape about 1/2 onto the face of the baseboard and push it down under the base with a wallpaper smoothing tool. Putty knives will cut the tape when you’re forcing it down.

Secondly, remove all window treatments, pictures, electrical switch plates, mirrors, and hardware. Cover all light fixtures after you loosen them from the ceiling with plastic bags and tape. Don’t turn on the light bulb once it is covered.

Poor paint adhesion can result from a dirty surface. Use a light detergent solution and wash surfaces that are touched frequently, dirty, or have any oily residue caused by cooking and baking. Also, clean around all light switches where there may be hand oil deposits. It is important that all trim and door areas are also lightly washed. After you have cleaned the area, wipe the complete surface with a damp-cloth to rinse. Allow to totally dry before painting. You don’™t want to leave a residue from the detergent. Seal old water stains with a spray stain killer.

Sand glossy surfaces with fine sandpaper. This will ensure proper adhesion of the paint. Vacuuming surfaces and wiping with a tack cloth will remove all sanding dust.

Remove as much of the marking pens and water stains as possible using a liquid detergent, then wipe with clean water. Spray some WD-40 on a clean cloth and begin wiping on the crayon marks. If you don’t have any WD-40 around the house, try some household bleach. It will take a little bit more elbow grease, but it does work. It is very important to get all marks off before you add another coat of paint, as the marks will most likely show through.

Spot priming the remaining marks with white shellac will help to stop them from bleeding through the finish coat of paint.

Look for cracks, nail holes and other surface imperfections. Clear out larger cracks in walls and ceilings with a putty knife to remove all loose particles. Then press compound into the crevices and smooth until flush to the surface with a putty knife. Fill all opened trim joints and any door or window trim that has separated from the wall. Push the compound into the crevices and smooth with your putty knife. Sand these areas with fine sandpaper after they dry. Usually a second application is required after the first has dried. Patching compound generally shrinks up to 20% after it dries creating holes and cracks.

Use a putty knife to remove all loose or scaling paint. Sand edges for a smooth surface. That way the different layers of paint will not be noticed when repainted. If any of the old paint was removed from trim, doors, or sash, sand the entire surface with some fine sandpaper. You can use a deglosser cleaner to help you get better paint adhesion, cleaning woodwork, and remove any old paint that contains lead.

Provide good ventilation or use a respirator rated for organic solvents when using solvent-based paints, sealers or cleaning agents.


Follow a sequence of steps that’ll allow you to let one part of the prep work dry while you go on to the next chore. The first few steps will give you the idea: seal water stains on the ceiling and while they’re drying, remove marks, fill in cracks, sand, degloss and prep the woodwork.  Start painting the ceiling first. After the ceiling is completed, paint the walls one at a time around the room.

Allow a weekend to completely finish two average sized rooms. You should try to get through on Saturday. You’ll need to hustle, but you can complete the bulk of the work. Saturday’s caulking and patching will dry overnight so you can tape the woodwork and finish up on Sunday.

burks team