The Least Flashy Job in Every Paint Project: Wall Washing

Caleb Does DishesNot too long ago, the kids helped me do the dishes.  That’s cool right?  I mean really, you walk into the kitchen after dinner expecting to take on the job and you find 2 or 3 kids there already working, placing all the freshly washed and dried dishes on the counter for my wife or I to put them away.  Yes, there’s no way around it:  that’s cool.

Unfortunately, there was a problem.  Being kids, they’d never thought to clean off the counter.  It was still covered with the mess of making dinner–the chunks of hamburger, drops of grease, some lettuce parts, some spilled ketchup . . . all that stuff–the things we’d normally wipe off from the counter BEFORE we piled dishes up on top of it.

They put in all the work, but because they hadn’t thought about the counter, some of the work was wasted and had to be redone.  OK–now, for the paint point.  See, we run into this all the time at RepcoLite–oh, not with counters and dishes, but with walls and paint.

For example, not too long ago, a customer walked into the store frustrated because his new paint wasn’t bonding well to his walls.  He explained that there were places–especially on his wood panelling–where it wasn’t sticking well and he wanted to know what was wrong with the paint.

Turns out, there wasn’t anything wrong with the paint.  The problem, as became clear in the conversation that followed, was that he had never washed the paneling down before painting.  Over the years, he had cleaned it with Endust or some other dusting spray and the waxes in those cleaning agents can remain on the surface for years and will often repel a latex paint.

That’s just one scenario of the many that happen daily.  Remember, nobody washes dishes and then sets them down on a dirty, unwiped counter.  Likewise, we shouldn’t spend all the time and energy and money involved in a paint project only to roll our new paint over unprepared surfaces.

Take some time the night before your intended project to give the walls a good washing.  It’s not a flashy, exciting part of a paint project.  It’s one of those things that we tend to ignore or skip.  But it’s important!  Remember, even if the walls look clean–you don’t see spiderwebs or dirt or dust or other goo stuck there by your kids–take the time to wash over them with TSP.  You’ll be giving yourself a clean palette, a clean foundation to work on and you’ll be much less likely to encounter problems in your project.

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