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Preparing Walls for Painting – Your Simple Step-by-Step Guide

Are you planning on painting your walls? Then, chances are you will need to do a little prep work ahead of time. Still, this isn’t a reason to stress. When you follow this simple step by step guide on preparing walls for painting, all that prep-work will be a breeze.

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Remove Any Adhesive

Step 1: Remove Any Adhesive

One of the first things to do when preparing walls for painting is to remove any objects or decorations that you have on the walls. These may be mirrors or even special decorative wall stickers.

After these have been taken off the wall check to see if any adhesive residue was left behind. Sometimes even though you have taken the mirror or the decorative wall sticker off, glue or adhesive remain. You must take this off. Otherwise, you will end up with unsightly bumps on your wall underneath your fresh coat of paint.

To go about removing the adhesive, spraying a mixture of soapy water may before you scrub the wall. This may help to loosen it. If the adhesive still remains firmly stuck, try using a plastic putty knife instead. This should catch any tricky pieces that won’t come loose.

Protect Outlet and Switch Covers

Step 2: Protect Outlet and Switch Covers

Another key step in the process for preparing your walls for painting is to protect your outlet and switch covers. It is easy to forget that these are even present when you look at them every day. However, they are still there and unless you want to risk getting paint all over them you should protect them.

The easiest way to do this is to smooth strips of painter’s tape over the entire cover. Then, while you are painting any paint that ventures near the cover will land on the tape, not your cover. When the painting project is completely finished just peel the tape off. Your outlet and switch covers will remain in tip top shape and free of paint splatters.

Fix Tears, Dents, or Holes

Step 3: Fix Tears, Dents or Holes

If your walls have any tears, dents or holes you will need to patch them up before you consider painting. Luckily in most cases, this is a relatively simple process.

Has your wallpaper tear left a piece of wallpaper dangling from the wall? If so, you will need to cut off these loose ends first. Then once the loose end has been cut off you will need to sand any particularly rough edges. Following this, apply a layer of plaster to fill the tear, dent or hole and then smooth it out.

You may need to apply multiple layers of plasters depending on the extent of the tear or depth of the dent. Should you end up applying several layers be sure to smooth out the plaster after each layer so that it is completely even with the wall.

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Step 4: Sand Uneven Areas

Step 4: Sand Uneven Areas

Freshly plastered holes and dents aren’t the only areas that may need sanding. If the previous coat of paint has bubbled or you have any bumps in the wall you should sand these as well.

In most cases, a sheet of sand paper and a little bit of elbow grease will be all you need to effectively sand the trouble spot. However, in some cases, it may require a little more effort. If this is the case an electric sander is a good option. This will even out difficult and uneven spots quite easily.

Step 5: Protect The Trim

 Step 5: Protect the Trim

The next step after patching up your wall is to protect the trim. Even if you plan to paint it after painting your walls you should still use protective tape to cover it. This will prevent your wall paint from splattering on the trim.

This is particularly helpful because even if you repaint the trim afterwards, the wall paint could still seep through. For instance, if you paint your walls a dark blue or green and then paint your trim white, any spills from the darker colour could show through the white trim paint. It is far better to take a few preventative steps than to have to fix up your mistakes later on.

You should also use painter’s tape to protect the edge where your ceiling and walls meet. If you have just painted your ceiling you won’t want to get any paint on it by accident.

Is your painter’s tape trapping bubbles? Then use a putty knife to smooth it out. The pressure of the putty knife will even out all of those pesky bubbles and ensure that your tape will effectively protect it.

Step 6: Test The Colour

Step 6: Test the Colour

As simple as this step is, you don’t want to skip it. The last thing anyone wants is to dedicate their time to painting their home and then discover that they hate the colour. Not to mention that avoiding the disappointment of hating your chosen colour is as simple as testing it out beforehand.

The most simple way to do this is to paint a board and then place it at different spots in your room. This will allow you to view the paint in different lighting. Plus, by painting a board you also avoid painting a patch of your wall in a colour you dislike and then ending up with an uneven coat because you changed colours later.

Step 7: Clean and Dust

Step 7: Clean and Dust

It is all too easy for dirt, grime and dust to collect on your walls over time. This is especially true if you sanded the wall in order to even it out. While the sanding is helpful for smoothing out the wall’s surface it will create a substantial amount of dust. If left untouched, you will trap all of this under the paint.

So, before you pick up your paint brush grab a vacuum and sponge. A broom can also help you to clear off any dust or cobwebs, but a vacuum is generally the most effective. Then, grab a sponge and some water to give the walls a good wipe. This will capture any dust that still stubbornly clings to the walls.

If you are going to be painting your kitchen, pay special attention to the walls around your primary cooking area. These spots can get especially grimy as they accumulate oils from your cooking. However, some soapy water should still do the trick.

Then, once your walls are spic and span you can move on to the next step!

Step 8 - Prime

Step 8: Prime

Before you paint you almost always need to prime your walls. Primer is a special type of paint which is applied to the walls before your actual paint. This substance helps the paint to effectively adhere. It also helps to cover the old paint so that when you go to apply the new coat, the old colour doesn’t seep through.

Some paints do come pre-mixed with a priming substance. So, be sure to check the instructions on your particular paint before you go and purchase a primer as well.

When you do tackle the priming process, the technique is essentially the same as painting. You will want to apply an even layer which covers the entirety of the wall. Depending on the primer and the previous paint colour you may need to apply multiple coats of this.

However, the good news is, that once you have primed your walls, you are done preparing your walls for painting!

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