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House painting tips: how to prepare walls for painting

Learn why preparing interior walls for painting is important and pro tips for painting walls.


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Painting your walls a new shade or color can give any room a new lease of life, but the finished look you get will only be as good as the surface you paint on. Preparing walls for painting is a huge part of doing a good job, and once you know how to do it, you’ll be able to get it just right. Just like you should always follow top tips for painting walls, you should also follow these tips before painting walls.

  1. Tools and materials

  2. Preparing interior walls for painting

  3. Final preparation

The first thing you need to do before preparing interior walls for painting is gather your tools and materials. Essentials include:

  • Dust sheets

  • Masking tape

  • Gloves

  • Face mask

  • Sandpaper

  • Filler

  • Sugar soap

  • Scraping tool

  • Sponge/cloth

  • Bucket

  • Vacuum cleaner

Just as there are a number of steps to paint a wall, there are a number of steps to follow before painting walls. Ensuring that your walls are cleaned properly is one of those tips for painting walls that seems a little unnecessary at first, but it’ll help the paint stick and give you a better finish in the long run. So will filling any holes and sanding down raised parts.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Mix sugar soap with water in a bucket (follow the bottle’s instructions for quantities)

  • Using gloves, give the wall a good wash with the sugar soap solution and a sponge

  • Once dry, scrape or use sandpaper to get rid of excess paint (always wear a mask so you don’t inhale dust)

  • Apply filler to any cracks or gaps and sand down for smooth finish when dry

After you’ve finished preparing walls for painting you can move onto the final touches and getting your cleaning equipment ready.

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Once your walls are prepped, you can lay down dust sheets and put masking tape around skirting boards, window frames and coving before painting walls. These are the first steps to paint a wall and will help you keep things clean and tidy during the job. However, it’s inevitable that there will be spills, and just like there are plenty of useful house painting tips out there, these cleaning tips will really help too:

  • Vacuum up any dust or debris that’s settled after preparing walls for painting

  • Tape your sheets to the floor to avoid slipping

  • Wipe as you go

  • Use soft sponges and cloths, and keep them away from the paint pots

  • Don’t overly wet your cleaning materials, as this could spread the paint and water it down

  • Use a quality cleaner like Cif to get rid of stubborn paint spills. Be sure to test the product on a small area first and read the instructions, taking relevant safety precautions

By being organised and prepping your walls correctly, things are going to be a lot easier when you’re house painting. Tips like the ones above all come together to play their part in getting you the beautiful finish you’re after.

Take a little time before you even start preparing walls for painting. It’s a good idea to clear your room of any furniture that’s going to get in the way before painting walls, as this is going to make the job a lot easier.

  • Get all the furniture and moveable objects out of all the room

  • Clean the walls properly and even them out as a first key part of preparing walls for painting

  • Cover door knobs and objects in the room with plastic covers or newspapers

  • Place masking tape around coving for a neat finished look

Do you want to learn which household cleaning tasks cause the most stress?  Then read our Heated Household data analysis. 

Originally published