So when Steve Broujos, a painting contractor and educator in Wilmington, Del., asked if I’d like to see his new book, I thought: Why not?
The title is not exactly dynamic: "Surface Preparation for Interior House Painting." But I’ll tell you what: It’s accurate.
This book sounded interesting because I’ve heard so many times that the trick to great house painting is preparing the surface. But that’s usually all you hear. Surface prep is important. So how do you do it?
This book tells you how, along with giving you tips and tricks only a professional would know. For instance, you know how there’s a rim inside a paint can to attach the lid? And you know how that rim gets filled with paint as you bring your brush in and out? Well, if you don’t need to put that lid back on, here’s a trick: You can remove the rim with an old manual can opener (never to be used again in the kitchen) to give you a smooth edge. This is now known as a "paint pail" rather than a paint can.
Another idea I like: A sanding block attached to a pole. It’s known as a pole sander. I love the idea of sanding rough spots on walls and ceilings, but not at arm’s reach from a ladder. Using a pole to reach up and out is much more my style.
This looks like a self-published book, and though there are plenty of photos in the book’s 223 pages, they are all in black and white. That’s how it is with short-run, self-published books; color pages are far too expensive to reproduce. So if glossy color photos are important to you, skip this book.
But I think it’s a useful book, in which you’ll learn about setting up and lighting your work area, removing wallpaper paste residue, applying caulk, skim coating, repairing holes and many other topics. It’s a sincere book by a real expert. If you’re going to spend hundreds of dollars on paint and countless hours applying it, perhaps some extra thought to the surface preparation would be a good investment.