Preparation Checklist for Interior Painting

Updated February 15th, 2023

When deciding to undertake an interior painting project, you’re probably ready to start immediately. After all, you want to get it done as quickly as possible so you can enjoy your freshly painted home for the years to come. Still, all major home renovation projects require adequate planning. If you don’t take enough time to prep, you’ll likely have to redo parts of your project, or you’ll end up with a sub-par paint job. To help you prepare your home’s interior space for a fresh coat of paint, use the guidelines outlined below.

Step 1 – Walk Through Your Project

Before you buy any paint or tape off the walls, walk through the area you’re going to paint and take note of any problem areas. Where will you need to cut in? Where will you need a smaller brush or roller? How are you going to access that space that’s nearly impossible to access? These small details take some forethought so your project doesn’t grind to a halt halfway through.

Step 2 – Protect Your Furniture

Only try to paint around your furniture if you cover it up first. No matter how careful you are, paint can make its way to almost anything. Move furniture away from the walls and into the center of the room, or remove them entirely. Cover all furniture with painter’s plastic and take special care with delicate fabrics and valuable pieces.

Step 3 – Remove Outlet Covers

Once your furniture is out of the way, you’ll see exposed electrical outlets. Remove their covers and any vent covers. Keep the screws with the plates intact so you won’t have to search for them post-clean-up.

Step 4 – Protect Your Floors

Unless you’re redoing your floors and painting simultaneously, cover the floors where you are working with a canvas drop cloth. These aren’t always cheap, but they’re the best option for keeping your carpets, hardwood floors, tile floors, and laminate floors free from paint splatters and spills.

Step 5 – Set Up Ladders and Scaffolding

Most interior paint projects will require a ladder or step stool so that you can reach the tops of the walls and the ceiling. Vaulted ceilings and other spacious rooms may require scaffolding, which is much safer for extreme heights than a ladder. You can rent scaffolding from local hardware or equipment rental stores.

Step 6 – Patch Your Holes

Always wait until your floors are covered to patch holes in your walls. Although tedious, this precaution will protect against spackle dropping onto your carpet or flooring. Also, ensure your patches are as smooth as possible for a flawless look under the paint.

Step 7 – Clean Your Walls

Try not to paint over a dirty wall or baseboard. As tempting as it may be to skip this step, your paint won’t stick properly to the surface. Proceed by dusting dry debris with a dust cloth or feather duster and washing other substances with a dish soap and water solution.

Step 8 – Tape Off Ceilings and Trim

Another vital part of prepping for an interior paint project includes taping off ceilings and trim. Getting the corners painted right comes down to taping them off and painting them separately with a brush. At all costs, only try to paint your walls or ceilings if you tape off the trim properly.

Step 9 – Have Solvents and Clean Up Materials on Standby

Even if you don’t spill paint, solvents, and clean-up materials are great to have handy in case you do. Also, make sure you have rags available for latex paint spills and solvents like mineral spirits for oil-based or enamel paints (based on the manufacturer’s recommendations).

Step 10 – Double Check Your Color

Before you start coating paint onto your walls, double-check that you have the right color. To do so, dab a small amount of paint in a secluded wall area and compare it to your swatch.

With this checklist by your side, you’ll be ready to break out the paint rollers and brushes and start your interior paint project!

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