Professional painters begin by preparing surfaces for painting. This may require removing old paint, filling holes and washing walls. Sandpaper, wire brushes, scrapers and abrasive blasting may be used to prepare a surface. Holes and divots are filled with putty, plaster or caulk. Professional painters must also ensure that surfaces are not susceptible to moisture by sealing cracks and corners where building materials meet.

After a surface is clean and ready for paint, professional painters apply primer. Primer selection is based on the location and type of surface being finished. Professional painters must apply primer and paint at the appropriate spread rate and temperature in order to ensure the best results.

Professional painters must have a keen knowledge of color theory. While color selection is ultimately up to the customer, painters must be able to advise clients and understand how to create the appearance their customers seek. They may use varnish, oil or paint additives to derive specific colors and textures. They may also use special techniques to provide decorative and faux finishes. These finishes often require the use of washes, glazes and layering. Professional painters may also use techniques such as sponging, distressing, stippling and color blocking to create effects for their clients.

Job site preparation and clean up must also be handled by professional painters. They may build scaffolding and use drop cloths or tape. Paint spills, dust from sanding and other materials must be cleaned and removed from a completed job site.

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