When it comes to painting a room, preparation is key for a professional finish. If a wall has been previously painted and is in good condition, it will probably not need much preparation for painting, but it is important to fill in any cracks and holes before you start. Here is how to prepare a wall for painting in four simple steps:
- Tools and materials
- Stripping wallpaper
- Cleaning the wall and filling holes
- Filling cracks
How to prepare a wall for painting: tools and materials
Depending on the condition of your wall, you will need all, or some, of the following: wallpaper scorer; shave hook; wallpaper steamer; warm water and sponge; wire brush; sandpaper; sanding block; dust sheets; sugar soap; dusting brush; filling knife; filler; sealant; sealant gun; rubbish bags.
How to prepare a wall for painting: stripping wallpaper
The easiest way to strip wallpaper is with a steamer. First, lay your dust sheets over the floor and any bulky objects. Try to get as much of the paper as possible off by hand; particularly if the paper has a smooth sheen. Using a wallpaper scorer, score the wallpaper, to help the steam to penetrate to the porous, backing layer of wallpaper. Use the steamer, following the manufacturer’s instructions, or load your sponge with water and run it over the paper (you want to saturate the paper but don’t get the wall too wet!). Use your scraper to peel off the wallpaper, working your way along the wall.
How to prepare a wall for painting: wash the wall and fill in holes
Once you have stripped your wallpaper, wash the wall thoroughly with sugar soap and water to make sure you get rid of all of the adhesive. Give the wall a final rinse with water. If you spot any holes, clean them out using a dusting brush. Place a small amount of filler onto your filling knife and press it over the hole. Wait for the filler to dry completely before sanding over the filler until it is smooth and flat. If the filler isn’t dry, you will pull it out of the hole and could make it worse, so be patient!
How to prepare a wall for painting: filling cracks
The best way to fill cracks in walls is with caulk, a flexible filler that comes in a tube. This type of filler can’t be sanded, so you need to make sure it is perfectly smooth as you go. Dust the crack using your dusting brush. Applying even pressure to the trigger of your sealant gun, apply sealant to the length of the crack. Rub it in using a wet finger or a damp sponge (fingers work best!) until you have a smooth finish.
Some sealants are oil-based so you will need to apply an undercoat before you paint with emulsion; failure to use undercoat will cause the emulsion to crack. Once your walls are prepared for painting, you are halfway to a professional job. Now for the fun bit: you’re ready to get painting!