How to Prep Paint

Learn all about paint additives and how to prep paint for a successful job.

Major room makeovers can be stressful, but painting should be the least of your worries. However, with so many options and products in the stores, it can get a little overwhelming. There are many instances in which you may need a paint additive, whether for mildew, fireproofing, insulating, or thinning paint. We'll discuss each of these items and when to use them. Before you can begin painting an interior wall, you'll also need trisodium phosphate, or TSP. Learn what it is and how to use it, below, plus more expert tips for painting a room. 

Tips for Painting Any Surface

All About Paint Additives

If you don't know about paint additives, it's time to take note. Paint additives enhance the performance of your paint to work best in different areas of your home. Take a look at the most popular additives below, and see what will work best for your home makeover. 

  1. Insulating Paint: Insulation powders (Insuladd, www.insuladd.com, is one we like) can be added to most interior or exterior paints or primers. This additive helps keep your rooms cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Keep in mind these additives can reduce the sheen of a paint, so it's best to add them to your primer or your first coat of color.
  2. Mildew Additive for Paint: Mildew can be one of the most stubborn problems for painted areas, specifically around a bathtub or shower. You can add a mildew-inhibiting additive (such as ADD-2TM; www.zinsser.com) that will help alleviate this problem.
  3. Fireproofing Additive: One simple step to prevent a fire from spreading from room to room is to paint prep with antiflame-spread paint additive to your paint. If a fire starts in one room, the additive will help prevent the flames from spreading to another. Be sure to check before you buy, however, as many of these additives work only with flat paint. Visit www.hytechsales.com for various fireproof paints and paint additives.
  4. Paint Thinner: Thinners are a paint solvent that change the thickness of your paint. They are used often in big paint jobs, where the homeowner is opting to use a paint sprayer, instead of a brush. You need the paint to be thinner so it can move freely through the sprayer. Paint thinner can also be used as a paint cleaner by removing dried paint from your tools and workspace. 

Bonus: Learn how to use a paint roller.

What is TSP?

TSP, which stands for trisodium phosphate, is a powder you mix with warm water and use to wipe down your walls before painting. It is essential to paint preparation. It acts in three ways to improve your paint's stick-to-itiveness:

  1. Degreaser: TSP helps to remove stubborn greasy areas. It is crucial to use when painting walls in your kitchen, specifically ones that are near your stove. Any grease that isn't removed before painting can adversely affect the paint's adherence.
  2. Cleaner: Most of us don't think that our walls are dusty or even dirty, but if they aren't clean and dry before painting, the paint won't stick properly.
  3. Deglosser: When a wall has been painted with a high-sheen paint (satin, semigloss, or high gloss) you need to remove or "dull" that sheen before applying another coat of paint. Otherwise, the slipperiness of the paint below won't allow the next coat to stick, and your new paint will crack. Sanding and proper preparation of the surface is a must, and wiping the area with a solution of TSP and water will help break down a bit of the glossiness of the previous top coat. Be aware that TSP will darken some wood, such as mahogany. Use eye protection and gloves when applying and simply "wash" your painting surface with your TSP and water solution, then rinse with a clean, damp sponge. That's all there is to it! Crisis averted, and now you can tell them the truth when they ask if you're going to use TSP. Best of luck on your future Jane projects!

Make sure you completely rinse TSP from the walls (and let the walls dry) before you paint—otherwise, the new paint won't adhere properly. Rinse the solution with a clean, damp sponge and you should end up with a beautiful paint job.

Get Ready to Paint

Now that your paint has been prepped and is ready for the walls, make sure your room is ready for the paint. See our favorite tips for painting a room, starting with the prep work that happens before you even pick up a brush. We'll show you all the prepainting prep, including laying down drop cloths, evening out walls, and setting up a safe workstation. If you follow these paint prep tips, your room will look professionally redesigned. 

Here's how to prep a room for paint.

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