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How to Prepare Your Commercial Building Inside and Out

calander Jun 21 , 2021 user-icon Nash Painting

Painting your business periodically is crucial for maintaining your reputation, updating your brand, boosting morale, and protecting your building from deterioration. That said, proper commercial painting involves more than simply applying new coatings when the time is right. For one thing, you must prioritize worksite safety while optimizing schedules so painters, employees, and customers don’t interfere with each other. Beyond that, in order to achieve full, beautiful, lasting coverage, you must ensure that your building’s underlying surfaces are in proper shape to receive new paint -- this goes for exteriors and interiors alike. Let’s explore how to properly prepare your commercial building inside and out for a brand new paint job.

Perform a Full Facility Walkthrough

No matter the size of your building, it’s important to examine every room and primary surface for signs of damage. In doing so, you can better prioritize your renovation project, as some areas may need more attention than others. Some notable signs to look for include dark spots/discoloration, cracks, mold, peeling paint, and more.

Gear Up

Before you begin repairing and preparing your interior surfaces, make sure you’re stocked with the right equipment. Those performing these tasks should wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE) on the job, such as safety goggles, head protection, secure footwear, gloves, dust masks, etc. As for tools, you’ll want a durable scraper, filler/putty knife, joint compound, paint removing/cleaning solution, sanding tools, ladder, stiff bristle brush, paint roller, roller trays, painter’s tape, paint, and any other relevant items. Having access to everything you need from the outset will make the job go much smoother and safer.

Remove and/or Cover Certain Features/Surfaces

With the necessary supplies at hand, it’s time to prepare the room for what’s bound to be a messy job. Any moveable items that won’t be painted or repaired should be removed and placed elsewhere. Fixed features should be covered with cloths or plastic tarps, and floors should be concealed with drop cloths. This way, dust, paint flakes, splatters, and other debris won’t end up where you don’t want them.

Clean Interior Surfaces

You must thoroughly clean your interior surfaces prior to interior commercial painting. Paint won’t easily adhere to dirty surfaces, resulting in uneven, flimsy coatings. Generally speaking, you should clean interior surfaces manually via a solution of water and detergent and a sponge or bristle brush. If your facility is large enough, you may consider blasting surfaces with a pressure washer as well, but this runs the risk of damaging surfaces and injuring those nearby. Regardless of how you approach this task, you’ll want to rid these surfaces of dust, grease, dirt, mold, mildew, and any other contaminants that stand in the way of your fresh coatings.

Scrape Away Loose Coatings

After you’ve cleaned your interior surfaces, some might be left with remnants of previous coatings (i.e., flaking, peeling paint). Just as you must remove contaminants from your surfaces, you must also scrape away loose coatings, as these will prevent new coatings from properly sticking to the substrate.

Repair Damaged Areas

At this stage, you’ll want to make any and all repairs to your surfaces, as simply painting over cracks, holes, dents, and other issues will merely prolong the problem. Most minor issues can be patched with joint compound and other filling materials or simple replacements. If there are deeper issues that need addressing (e.g., water damage), these must be resolved before approaching the painting process.

Sand Surfaces Down

The surface you’ve prepared thus far should be sanded down to create a more even and receptive platform for the incoming coatings. It’s usually best to start with a rougher sanding tool and graduate to finer sanders as you go.

Prime If Necessary

Priming is often the last step to take before painting your building’s interior. Of course, not all surfaces require priming. Any surface that required minimal preparation (i.e., you didn’t need to remove previous coatings) can typically be painted over without an intermittent coat of primer. However, if you stripped a surface of its previous coating and made repairs, priming it will help ensure that your paint doesn’t seep into the surface and instead goes on evenly, providing a thick layer of protection.

Exterior Surface Preparation for Commercial Buildings

The prep work involved for commercial exterior painting isn’t all that different from that required for interior painting, with a few exceptions. Much like interior surface prep, you’ll want to perform a thorough inspection of your building’s outside before anything else. Acquiring a close look at these surfaces can be challenging, however, especially if your building is several stories high. If possible, you might rent a drone camera to give you a high-definition visual of high-up and hard-to-reach areas. Ladders, cranes, and other tools are also used to inspect every inch of an exterior.

Schedule Preparations with Weather in Mind

Unlike your sheltered interior rooms, your building’s exterior is out in the open. As such, you’re at the whim of mother nature when inspecting, preparing, and painting your property’s face. Always check the forecast before planning certain exterior renovation tasks to avoid unfortunate surprises.

Pressure Wash the Building Exterior

Your building’s exterior must also be cleaned prior to painting. It’s a good idea to hire pressure washing services to handle this task, as these pros will know which power settings, nozzles, and detergents to use to prevent damaging your property.

Remove Previous Coatings if Necessary

As is the case for interior surfaces, you’ll want to remove your exterior’s old coatings if they’re falling away from the surface. Pressure washing may take care of some of this, but more stubborn coatings may need to be removed via solvent application and scraping.

Replace Faulty Caulking and Make Repairs

Re-caulking gaps and seams is crucial when preparing your commercial building. A lack of proper caulk opens the way for air, moisture, pests, and debris to enter your building and cause all kinds of problems. Make sure you thoroughly seal every nook and cranny to keep your building secure and energy-efficient. You’ll also want to repair any cracks and holes at this juncture, then sand the repaired areas smooth.

Prime Bare/Repaired Surfaces

As mentioned earlier for interior surfaces, don’t paint your exterior until every surface is properly primed for new coatings. Experienced commercial exterior painting contractors will know whether a given portion of an exterior requires an initial coat of primer or can hold up just fine without one.

Getting Prepared for a Commercial Paint Job

No one would blame you for looking at all the preparation steps listed here and thinking, “That’s way too much work.” We agree that preparing the interior and exterior of a commercial building is no small feat -- that’s why only the professionals are expected to handle this task. At Nash Painting, we have the resources, workforce, and experience to prepare your business’ building for whatever improvements it needs. We’ve helped numerous companies around Nashville, Franklin, and Brentwood, TN restore their properties and maximize their potential. To learn more about us, our services, and our values, call us at 615-829-6858 today!