Surface prep for faultless painting

A constant aggravation in remodeling work is getting a really good painted surface where old fixtures have been removed, e.g., towel racks, ceiling mounted lights etc. The the problem begins and ends with the lazy painters. Left to their own devices they will paint around something instead of removing and reinstalling. So when it comes time to remove the fixture for relocation or a different size or shape, you're looking at a little valley from the base wall up to the 5th layer of paint. The typical painter will hit this with a little sanding that does nothing but smooth the sides of the valley, so when the final paint is on you can still see the outline of the old fixture.
So, what's the best way to handle this?
TIA
Ed
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With a scraper.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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Sandpaper and compound, and next time dont hire the cheapest painter, quality costs.
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m Ransley wrote:

(Not my original post, but ...)
Right, because my 30 year old self was around to approve the hiring of the painter in 1905, 1922, 1938, 1954, 1967, 1972, etc. when the 105 year house I recently sold was painted. When I remodeled portions of that house, we saw at LEAST 6 layers of paint over what turned out to be wall paper, which in turn had been put over several MORE layers of paint.
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I did not take the lowest, but neither did I take the highest of three bids. How much would expect it should cost? The job in question was an 8x10 bathroom, 7x7 laundry room, and 15 x 13 kitchen. All are quite ordinary rooms, using oil based semi-gloss Dunn-Edwards paint. Two colors in the bathroom, and another two colors in the bath & laundry. The kitchen included doing an orange peel texture.
Can you tell me what would be a reasonable price for this job? I live in Orange County, CA, which is a major metropolitan area. A nice area, but definitly not up-scale.
Ed

painter,
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If you are willing to spend a few bucks for a roll of 3M sanding disks, you can level just about anything with an air sander and the right coarseness of grit on the paper. I'm talking about the ones that have a self-adhesive on the back and are sold to the autobody trade.
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I agree with the sanding disk idea, though I don't think you'll need an air sander. An orbital sander will do it. You'll have to sand it down and skim the area with some drywall mud to get a nice consistent surface.
And after sanding the mud you'll probably want to use a roller to prime/seal the area -- this will start getting the roller texture to match the of the walls.
One way to ensure the painter doesn't just paint around the fixture is to remove it yourself. Even some of the higher priced guys will take that shortcut.
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Thanks. This is the kind of advice I was looking for.
This time I did remove the fixtures, but alas I did not do so for several previous paintings.
I guess what bugs me is the painter's estimate said "surface preparation." When I asked him about that before giving him the job he said, "don't worry, we take of all that." Afterwards, he says "Oh, surface prep just means filling nail holes and sanding where we patch. We are not responsible for surface imperfections." If he had been more forthcoming at the beginning, pointing out where there would be problems he didn't plan to deal with, I would have attacked them more vigorously myself.
Thanks for listening, and your help.
Ed

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Yeah, it can get tiresome trying to pinpoint exactly what a contractor has in mind. Nail holes ARE surface imperfections, but so are fuzzies from previous roller covers, or junk in the paint that ends up as bumps [boogers] on the walls.
Saying "don't worry, we take of all that" doesn't sound right, as though it's a brush-off. Sometimes you have to pay attention to the way a conversation goes as much as the specific points within the conversation. You're not in the business and you don't see the little things that come up during a job -- good contractors have the experience, so they should be the one mentioning the little details.
Good contractors like to know what to expect as much as the customer does. A good relationship leads to repeat business, which can be great for both involved.
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On Fri, 29 Apr 2005 02:28:45 GMT, "Jag Man"

As others have said, sand and filler. Coupla things though. I wouldn't use a power sander as there could be lead paint under there and while I don't know how dangerous a little bit of lead dust in the air could be, it's just not necessary to sand a depression so it looks flush. All you need to do is rough it up a little to give the filler something to key to.
On plaster, I hand sand with 60-grit then level with finish plaster. On dryall, I use a sanding sponge and joint compound. Hand sand again, then prime that spot, let it dry, then prime the whole wall.
90% of successful painting is in the preparation. Real pro painters know this but the problem is that just about anyone can swing a paint roller.
Steve Manes Brooklyn, NY http://www.magpie.com/house
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Thanks, Steve. Very helpful. I'll see if I can patch it up.
Ed
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