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Interior Painting

October 27, 2009

Interior Painting

By following some basic guidelines for surface preparation, primer application, and topcoat application, it's possible to avoid the majority of the headaches associated with interior paint.

Surface preparation

Wall and ceiling surfaces should be completely dry before primer or paint is applied. Use a damp cloth to remove loose dust and dirt created during the drywall installation. If the drywall surface is wet, dusty, or dirty, the paint may not coalesce, bond, and flatten as well as it should.

Make sure the ambient temperature isn't too low for painting. Cold temperatures interfere with paint's ability to coalesce and bond; when it's too cold, the polymer particles don't have sufficient energy to move together. The air, the surface, and the paint should all be at the manufacturer's recommended temperature, which is usually 40?F and rising. Also, confirm that the temperature won't drop below recommended levels after painting for the time frame specified by the manufacturer.


Primer is the first coat of paint applied to the surface. Primer functions as an intermediary between the drywall and the topcoat. A good primer seals the drywall to provide a more uniform surface for painting. Primer also helps prevent brush and roller marks in the topcoat. When primer is used, the topcoat is applied not to the drywall surface but to the primer. Think of primer as the foundation for a smooth, attractive interior paint job.

When priming drywall, the goal is to create a surface with uniform suction (absorption). The areas where joint compound has been applied don't absorb primer as quickly as the other paper-covered drywall surfaces. The result is a flatter finish in paper areas than in areas of joint compound. To solve this problem, primer has a lower solid content, which makes it less sensitive to the varying suction rates of different surfaces. In primer, the polymer particles coalesce and bond more easily than they do in paint, regardless of the surface to which they're applied. It's helpful to understand that drywall primer doesn't hide flaws, and it isn't nearly as durable as paint. Its function is to create an even surface for paint. It levels out suction rates across the drywall surface.


The topcoat is the last coat of paint applied to the surface. Stir the paint before applying the topcoat. You mayneed to run the paint through a filter to remove dust and dirt from site work. Apply the manufacturer's recommended thickness of wet topcoat, backroll the paint, and measure the mil thickness in order to ensure the correct dry paint thickness. Backrolling can enhance the uniformity of the paint coating. Depending on the paint system selected, applying two lighter topcoats can provide a higher quality and more durable finish than applying one heavy topcoat, which can run.

Source: HGTVpro.com