Wall preparation for paint and paper

By Tom Phelan - ReminderNews
Home & Garden - posted Wed., Apr. 11, 2012
- Contributed Photo

You’ve decided to change the look of a room, including a fresh coat of paint on the walls. Even though you may be putting on a coat of the same color paint, there’s a good chance that you are faced with a little more surface preparation than you thought. Walls have a way of racking up dings and dents over the years. And if those walls are papered, removing it will reveal a host of pockmarks, pits and gouges that will need attention. If you want a premium paint job, remember: preparation is everything.

Joint compound isn’t only for covering the taped seams between sheets of drywall. It is also used to fill depressions and smooth ridges. With your tool buttered with compound, make a smooth stroke across (perpendicular to) any gouge you find, then remove the excess by going in the same direction as the gouge. If you don’t like the way it looks, repeat the two-step sweep. Let it dry completely.

Those little razor utility tools can help clean up paper fuzz, nubs and ridges of joint compound, when used with a deft hand. They only cost about 99 cents, and use a standard single-edge blade. Hold the tool at a shallow angle to the wall – almost parallel – and gently knock off the fuzz and nubs and ridges of joint compound left by your tool. Be careful not to create a new gouge. Follow up with a quick sweep of a lightly damp drywall sponge, and you can move on to the next imperfection.

After working on the surface preparation for a day, let it all dry, and inspect it thoroughly in bright daylight or under a hand-held substitute.

Have patience, and strive for perfection. Every little flaw on the surface will show up in the light of day after you have finished painting or papering the wall. Prime, sand and prime again. Once a wall has a coat of primer on it, you are likely to find there are still more imperfections. When you break out the compound and tools to fix those up, you will have to reapply primer. Unless you prime over bare compound, your final coat of paint will only make them stand out in those areas.

If you plan to paper the wall you just rehabilitated, be sure to cover it with primer, followed by an application of a wall sizing mixture. This solution prepares the wall to receive and bond with your wallpaper.

There is no compensating for a wall that is not flat and straight. You can, however, mend and prepare the surface to eliminate and cover the vast majority of its imperfections.

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