The Power of Prep: How to Ready Your Room for a Painting Job

preparing for a painting job VancouverBefore any interior painting job get underway, there are some simple steps to take that will ensure that your furniture and other belongings remain unscathed and spatter-free, and that your professional painter can complete the project quickly and without the worry of tipping over Great Aunt Gertie’s heirloom vase.

Here’s a handy checklist of the best prep steps you can take ahead of time, for safety and efficiency at every turn.

1. Clear the Room! Lighter furnishings and furniture should be removed from the room whenever possible.

2. To Move & Protect. Shift the heavy furniture to the middle of the room before covering it with plastic sheeting or a canvas drop cloth to protect it from spatters. Tuck in the covering and use masking or painter’s tape to secure it.

3. Keep it Clean. Many people make the mistake of not doing any cleaning at all until the painting job is finished. But any dust particles or other loose material, no matter how fine, can stick to and spoil the look and smooth texture of fresh paint. Whipping the dust rag and vacuum cleaner around the pre-painted space will make all the difference

4. Don’t do Doors. You can save yourself the hassle of removing doors prior to a painting job. Skilled professional painters know how to work around the hardware, keeping it paint-free. If trim is being painted, odds are the door will be, as well, and the best place for it to dry is hanging on its hinges.

5. Abracadabra, Art be Gone! Remove all photographs and artwork from the walls, BUT only remove the hardware used to hang them if you are planning to change the places the art goes once all painting is completed. If you plan to rehang those items in the exact same spots, however, simply leave the hooks and hangers in place. Remove them only if those holes are to be filled and painted over.

6. A Path to the Panes. Take down all window coverings, such as blinds, drapes and curtains, and remove them from the room to keep them spatter-free. This might be the right time to wash or have them dry-cleaned, too!

7. Cover Santa’s Tracks… If there is a fireplace in the room, cover it with clear plastic sheeting or a drop cloth and secure firmly with masking or painter’s tape.

8. Make the Switch. Temporarily, at least. Unscrew and remove all electrical outlet covers and switch plates, and put the fittings in a clearly labeled container or individually marked envelopes, so you know what goes where. Then cover exposed electrical outlets and switches with painter’s tape.

9. Va-Va-Vent! Light fixtures and vent covers should be removed or at least loosened enough to allow painting behind them, if possible—or masked with painter’s tape.

painting job10. Don’t be Floored. Cover the whole floor with drop cloths, using a wide painter’s tape to adhere it to the floor. Affix half the tape to the drop cloth and the other half to the floor, tight against the baseboard. Rub the tape down firmly to prevent paint from seeping underneath.

11. Care for Carpeting. Any loose mats or area rugs should have been taken away with the lighter furniture. For rooms with wall-to-wall carpet, the same instructions apply as in step #10. Note that in this case, however, more of the tape surface goes against the baseboard, so you can tuck it down with a scraper blade to protect the carpet edge.

And now… you’re fully prepped to prep! Keep in mind that even if your painters include the above in their expected prep budget, when you take the time to do it ahead of time they will be able to spend extra time and care on the painting itself.


Vancouver painter and contractor Peter Byrne“PETER BYRNE is the owner and hands-on manager of Kassel Painting Limited. In the last two decades he has run over 1500 painting projects totaling millions of dollars. There is little that can go right (or wrong) on a job-site he has not seen, solved, and lived to talk about.”

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