Bob Vila Radio: Flawless Paint Finish

For a great finish on your next painting project, start by prepping the surface the right way.


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Listen to BOB VILA ON FLAWLESS PAINT FINISH, or read text below:

You want to counter-sink any finish nails, then fill any holes with a fast-drying wood filler. Caulk and smooth all cracks and seams, and sand the surface smooth with fine sandpaper. Seal any knots with a clear shellac to prevent resins from bleeding through your finish paint.

For removing rust or for smoothing down a surface before you paint or varnish it, there’s nothing like steel wool. It’s made of steel thread, loosely woven into small pads, and comes in various grades, from very course number three down through superfine four-aught. It’s a good idea to run a tackcloth over the surface before you paint to get rid of any dust or burrs that remain from sanding. These are basically cheesecloth rags treated with wax to pick up even the finest dust, and you can find them in any paint store.

Like anything else, the better the prep, the better the finish!

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 60 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.

For more on painting, consider:

How To: Choose a Paint Finish
Paint Makeovers: An Expert Tells All
The Basics of Paint Selection