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Partner Post: How to Prep a Surface with Loose and Peeling Paint

This content was republished with permission from Dunn Edwards Paint.

As tempting as it might be to ignore surface preparation best practices to save time and labor, painting pros know that doing so can lead to big trouble down the road. From paint that won’t adhere to premature paint failure, poor planning and groundwork can lead to only one thing: a bad paint job. So what are the important steps to ensuring your paint project is a success?

1.First, get rid of any loose or peeling paint. Depending on the project size and the surface conditions, you can use a number of tools to scrape and sand any loose or peeling paint, including a putty knife, wire brush, sand paper (80- to 100-grit) and a pressure washer. If you opt to use a pressure washer, be sure to use a wider fan tip to reduce any substrate damage.

2. Feather the edges of the old alkyd. When removing loose or peeling aged alkyd, feathering the edges of the old coating is recommended to achieve optimal blending. You can use a putty knife, wire brush or an orbital sander (with 80- to 100-grit paper) for the job. That said, when using a sander, do not apply too much pressure, as this might cause harm to the surface.

3. De-gloss the coating. Also, if the aged alkyd has good adhesion, you can de-gloss the coating with TSP in a pre-mixed form or powdered form reduced with water. Just don’t forget to rinse the surface with clean water and wipe the surface dry with a tack rag!

4. Choose the right primer and paint for the surface. Next, when priming and painting newly prepared substrates, consider the following coating recommendations:

  • For wood, prime with ULTRA-GRIP® (Premium or Select) or EZ-PRIME® (ideal for redwood or cedar)
  • On metal, prime with BLOCK-RUST® (on ferrous metals), ULTRA-SHIELD® Galvanized Metal Primer (on galvanized metals) or ULTRA-GRIP® Premium
  • On masonry, prime with EFF-STOP® (Premium or Select), FLEX-PRIME® (Premium or Select) or ULTRA-GRIP® (Premium or Select)

5. Choose the right painting method. Last, when it comes to time to paint the finishing coat, you may apply it with an airless sprayer, an HVLP (high volume, low pressure) spray gun; or by brush and roll. Depending on the job and substrate requirements, any Dunn-Edwards paint an be used for a finishing coat, with two full coats recommended to achieve desired coverage and thickness.

While taking these extra steps may seem like a  hassle to the non-professional, painting contractors understand how vital they are to ensuring that the job gets done right. A successful, well-executed paint job means a beautiful, long-lasting paint project and a satisfied client. Happy painting!

About the Author

Dunn-Edwards Paints® has produced and sold premium paint products for more than 90 years and is the #1 Choice of Painting Professionals based on an independent study where licensed painting contractors in Los Angeles, San Diego and Phoenix overwhelmingly selected Dunn-Edwards Paints as the paint they would use on their own homes. With 129 company stores in California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas, and more than 80 authorized dealers throughout the Southwest, Dunn-Edwards is one of the nation’s largest independent manufacturers and distributors of architectural, industrial and high performance paints and paint supplies. The company is dedicated to preserving and protecting the environment, and produces its coatings in the world’s first and only LEED® Gold-certified manufacturing plant. Based in Southern California, the company is composed of approximately 1,500 employees. For more information, visit