Among the jobs included in staging property that homeowners often choose to do themselves is the painting of interior walls and ceilings. Painting is a fairly straightforward task – particularly when you get to the actual painting. Painting a room, however, can be a bit more involved than simply rolling paint on the wall.
As with many other big tasks, the preparation work is the most important part of the job. There will be visible flaws in almost any wall that need to either be filled or taken down to smooth out the wall. Old dried paint drips on trim and those pesky gaps between the architraves and the wall itself need attention if you want your room to look as if a professional did the painting. To that end, we’ve made a list of prep and painting necessities you should have on hand before you put on your painter’s overalls. (Overalls, by the way are not required, but painting is a messy business. Don’t wear your little black dress or your good sports jacket for this adventure.)
• Plastic drop cloth or tarp to cover the floor and/or any furniture you are not moving out of the room. Put it over everything if possible, in the beginning of your project. It will catch globs of spackle and chips of paint that might fall as you’re working on the ceiling. Move it close to the area you’re working on and move it as you go so it can catch sanding grit and paint drips.
• A step ladder or scaffolding to get you up to the ceiling and corners. If you don’t own a ladder you can borrow one or perhaps hire one from the local rental centre.
• Spack filler and spatula. Spack filler is essentially specially prepared mud you use to fill nail holes and/or dings and dents in the surface of the wall. You will apply the mud to the wall flaw, scrape it off as cleanly as possible, and then allow it to dry. Before you paint, you’ll sand the dried mud down to match the surface of the wall. (When you are staging property for sale, understand that this kind of detail is critical. Cover any such repairs with a coat of primer before you apply the wall paint as the mud has a different texture to your previously painted wall and will show as a wall flaw if you fail to prime it.)
• Metal paint scraper. This is a larger, flat-bladed spatula that you use to peel off any paint that is no longer adhered to the wall. If it’s peeling, take it off and sand the edges until they are smooth.
• Fine-grit sandpaper will be helpful in sanding down rough spack filler or the aforementioned edges of chipped paint. Any deviation in the surface of the paint will show in your finished product, so do take care to see to even the tiny details.
• Painter’s caulking and applicator. Painter’s caulking is different from other types of caulking as it’s specially formulated to be painted over almost immediately. Use this to fill cracks anywhere you find them. The tube of caulking fits into a ‘gun’, as we call the application device, and the caulking is extruded from the tip of the tube to the area you are covering. Apply a bead of caulking and then smooth it down with the tip of your finger to create a seamless surface. (This product washes right off with soap and water.)
• Painter’s tape. If you are creating a feature wall in a different colour, or if you have trim work that will be covered in a different colour or kind of paint, use blue painter’s tape to act as a buffer to the wall paint.
As we’ve said, the prep work you do ahead of the actual painting will make a big difference in the way your finished project will look to others. Meticulous prepping for painting is a necessary part of staging property. People tend to upgrade or downgrade your entire property based on the condition of the walls and ceilings, so do your work carefully. You’ll be richly rewarded if you do.