Steps for Paint Surface Preparation

People tend to put a lot of emphasis on paint finishes. Of course, the importance of a new and sparkling paint film of a well chosen color can’t be over stated. After all, this is what they will be looking at after the paint has dried. But if this look of a freshly painted home is to last, one must not underestimate the importance of proper surface preparation.

Listed below are preparation steps for both interior and exterior paint jobs. These steps do not cover all of the possible circumstances that one can encounter on a painting project, only the more common ones.

Interior Paint Preparation Steps

Primer Application

No matter what type of surface you’re painting, it has to be clean, free of loose or cracked paint, rust scale, oil, grease, dirt, mildew and chemical residue before application of primer.

Primer or undercoat has two main purposes:

  1. to seal the substrate in order to prevent the chemistry in the substrate from migrating into and interfering with the chemistry of the finish coat;
  2. to help bind the finish coat to the surface being painted.

There is a specialty primer for just about every type of surface – wood, masonry, metal, etc. Essentially, the primer serves as a foundation that supports the finish coat. Understanding this should help you understand the importance of primer. The best primer available is going to be your best choice for any paint job.

Exterior Paint Preparation Steps

Before any other work is begun, check for leaks and any moisture getting into the substrate. Repair any roof leaks, gutters, windows and leaky plumbing. Damp basements and other excessively humid interior rooms are other common sources of moisture in the substrate. Use vents and dehumidifiers as necessary. Unless the source of moisture in the substrate is found and eliminated, the quality of your paint job will be compromised.

In my past 25+ years as a painting contractor, I have been called on to help with many prematurely failing paint jobs. Some of these jobs were done by amateurs and some by “professionals,” but all of them had one thing in common – one or more skipped or improperly done preparation steps.

As mentioned before, good surface preparation is essential for a lasting paint job. The most expensive paint, the best painting technique and the finest brush will not compensate for even a single needed but skipped preparation step. Skimp on surface preparation and you will literally cut years off the useful life of your paint job.

(Also read Importance of Paint Surface Preparation.)

Call us today for your FREE painting estimate. You will be glad you did!


I prepared new wooden surface without priming it and I left it for some days the next day that I was ready to paint the surface I could see a lot of defects on the surface.I need an advice

I repaired cracks in an outdoor corridor(s) (20 floors of 'em) and after the cracks were repaired, cut wider, deeper and filled with cement after using weld-crete as a bonding agent, we painted them with 2 coats of epoxy reinforced Ben Moore paint.

Now, 2 weeks later , there are 2 or 3 spots where efflorescence has appeared. What to do before painting over it? We can't find anywhere where water is getting in, all cracks repaired, so the building wants me to paint over it with some kind of sealer and paint again. Can I???

Submit a new comment