The Most Important Part of a Painting Project

When you set out to tackle a painting project... there are many things to consider.

It can be overwhelming at times. In this article we are going to help simplify things by highlighting the one part of the project that is head-and-shoulders above any other aspect of the job. It is also the one step that has the most impact on the final results of all your hard work.

So what one part of the project is the most important?
  • Is it the quality of the paint?
  • Is it the specific painting skills of the individuals involved in the project?
  • Is it the tools?
  • Is it the planning beforehand?
  • Is it the management of the job from start to finish?

While all of these things are important in their own right, none of them is the right answer.

By far the most important part of any painting project is the preparation of the surface to be painted. This step is often called "Prep Work" or simply "Prep".

That is the key difference between a professional job and an amateur job. Professionals spend most of their time on prep work. Amateurs spend little to no time on prep work.

Professionals know that the surface must be completely ready before ever starting the actual painting. The average person starts a paint job by throwing down a drop cloth and opening up a can of paint. They spend most of their time "painting" without giving the proper time and effort to the most important part of the job and the step that has the greatest bearing on whether their finished product turns out well.

The surface needing preparation could be a wall, a floor, a ceiling, a piece of trim, a deck, a fence, a piece of furniture, a cabinet, etc. The same rule applies. The surface must be properly prepared for the new finish if you want professional results.

Prep work includes such things as puttying holes in wood, caulking cracks, spackling holes in sheetrock, sanding surfaces smooth, power washing exterior surfaces, dusting or cleaning the surface well, and giving attention to any blemish or gap that will show up when the new paint is applied. It also includes any preparation needed to make sure the new finish sticks to the surface being painted. This could include sanding, wiping the surface down with a solvent, or priming the surface with a coat of proper primer.

How exactly you need to prep the surface of your project can be determined by doing some research or contacting the professionals at

But rest assured, with all the many pieces of the puzzle that make up a painting project, the most important piece will always be the preparation of the surface to be painted.

It takes some elbow-grease and an eye for detail, but it's worth it in the end when you can look back on your work with a sense of real satisfaction -
because it looks so dang good!

Dene Alston

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