[This is part of our WAINSCOTING-109 Installation series.]
Preparing the Wainscoting for Paint
Moldings rarely get installed perfectly the first time around. Now is the time all those little imperfections or embarrassing mistakes can be taken care of.
All of these preparation steps help you get your moldings to an ever-increasing state of perfection.
These are the steps I follow to prepare moldings for paint:
- Spackle nail holes and other small gaps
- Sand the spackling
- Vacuum the moldings
- Wipe down with damp rag
- Prime all the moldings with a sandable primer (see our Consumables page)
- Sand all of the moldings with fine to medium grit sand paper and sanding sponges
- Vacuum the moldings again
- Wipe down the moldings again with a damp rag
- Re-prime/sand/vacuum/wipe bare spots (see images below)
- Caulk all remaining gaps
- Apply two finish coats of molding paint
Use a Palm Sander
It’s hard to install the edge detail perfectly flush with the top of the flat-stock rail cap.
So I smear some spackling along the seam, let it dry, and then take my beloved Porter Cable palm sander to it.
The seam between the two main mdf board panels also need sanding. The palm sander made quick work of that too.
Apply the Unifying Coat of Primer
Primer that’s designed for bare wood will dry with a chalky surface.
That surface can be sanded off with a fine grit sandpaper leaving a smooth surface behind.
Start at the top of the wainscoting and work you way down. It’s best to work in sections.
This kind of primer dries fast, so you won’t have to wait too long before you can sand.
The best way to get sanding dust (and cat hair) off of the moldings is to vacuum them.
You can’t sand caulk.
So save caulking for the last step.
I have a few bare sections where I had to sand pretty hard, so they will need to be re-primed and re-sanded and re-vacuumed and re-wiped down with a damp rag, but they are small and not near the caulk.
Paint is reluctant to stick to corners like these if they don’t have primer on them. So make sure they get re-primed if sanding exposes bare material.
Hey, I think we’re finished prepping the wainscoting for paint. Thanks for sticking with me on this extremely long post.
If you have questions about installing your own wainscoting, you can ask in the comment section below. Don’t be shy, I love answering questions!
This is the end of WAINSCOTING-109 Part 6: Prepping for Paint
Posts in This Series
6. WAINSCOTING-109 Part 6: Prepping for Paint
Related Posts & Molding Patterns
- Our Molding Makeover: The big picture of what we’re up to.
- Our Kitchen Molding Makeover series.
- PILASTER-104: Step by step installation post.
- PICTURE RAIL-108: Step by step how to install.
- BASEBOARD-110: Step by step how to install.