Newbies Guide To Prepping Your Walls For Painting: Part 2

Picture of Kath's living room with holes in wall filled

Why yes, your walls will look like they have measles after you’ve filled, sanded and given the filler a lick of paint….

In part 1 we covered the things you need to do to get you and your room ready for the prep work (which mainly involves stressing that paint/plaster dust is EVIL and you need to cover everything in sight).

So once you and your room are ready, here are the steps for getting lovely smooth walls all ready for your fresh tin of paint:

1. If you have any wall paper on the walls you’re going to need to strip it off (don’t paint over it!). Use one of these – they’re easy to use and actually quite fun once you get going.

2. Wash the walls down – if they’ve had wallpaper up, or are a bit old and dirty or have any grease / smoke stains then use sugar soap and rinse with water. If not just use water. In either case make sure you wring the sponge out well – you don’t want sopping wet walls.

3. Once dry, sand the ceiling and walls with 120 grit sandpaper. Start with the ceiling (if you’re painting it) – if you don’t fancy doing this on a ladder you can use a pole sander. Use a side to side sweeping potion using firm pressure (but not too hard – you don’t want to gauge bits). Change the paper when it starts to get clogged with dust (or if you’re using a wet & dry sponge sanding block you can rinse it off).

4. Once you’ve done an initial sand you need to wipe the walls down with a very slightly dampened cloth so you can get rid of the dust and see where you have any holes and imperfections

5. If there are any gaps where moulding meets the wall (eg between skirting boards and wall) you need to run a thin line of caulk into the crack and smooth it with a wet finger or a putty knife to leave a nice finish – this video is a good tutorial

6. For any prominent bumps you might need to use a rougher 80 grit sand paper – be careful to sand level and sweep it around the area rather than rubbing vigorously on one bit or you might find the edges of the sandpaper grind down the wall around it

7. For any holes or dints in the walls (we had lots) our joiner friend recommended One Strike as a filler for our plaster walls.  To fill, put a generous dab of filler in the hole but don’t to what I did and pile loads on as you’ll then spend forever sanding all the excess down (not fun).   Use the edge on your filling knife to gently draw across to make the filler level.   If you have plasterboard wall the filling business is a bit more complex this You Tube video has a good demo.

8. Once the filler has dried, you need to sand any fillered areas so that they are nice and smooth and the filler is even with the level of the wall.  Use a rough (80 grit) sandpaper if you have any stubborn lumps of filler to get level, then rub the wider area with 150 so it blends in.

9. As your fillered bits are like neat plaster you need to prime them so that they don’t absorb the paint and show through when you paint your walls.  Paint over the filler patches with a coat of primer.  They’ll probably still show through on your first coat of emulsion, but by the second coat they shouldn’t be noticable.

10.  If you went for the option of getting your walls skimmed (ie. replastered) you will need to give the plaster a ‘mist coat’ which is emulsion paint (any white matt stuff will do) mixed with water.  This is because the new plaster is really porous, so if you paint straight on top of it, it can suck up all the moisture in your paint and make it blister.  I usually go 50% paint 50% water, and do two coats to ‘seal’ the wall so we can paint on top.

So that’s it!  Now you’re ready to get busy with your paint brushes.  Our next post in the series will cover off some essential do’s and don’t’s.


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