Prepping Your Walls For Painting

Yes, you’re dying to COAT your walls but you’ve bought the good stuff so let’s do it justice.

An artist isn’t going to start a masterpiece using a ripped canvas. So why should you paint on a surface that’s lumpy, dirty and uneven? 

You’re your own Picasso here. Which means fixing up your walls before you start painting. Damp or greasy patches, flaky plaster or rogue scraps of wallpaper will all guarantee a poorly painted wall. Bit boring, but worth it…

Painting a previously painted wall

  1. If there are gaps in the wall, first clean your walls down.
  2. Push some quick-dry wall filler into the gap (Polyfilla or similar) until you can smooth it across the surface of the wall. 
  3. Get it as smooth to the wall as you can then, once dry, sandpaper the filler to make it completely smooth, then clean any dust with a damp cloth. You can also lightly sand areas of the wall to remove any lumps and bumps.
  4. It’s a good idea to clean fingerprints from hallways, grease from kitchen walls etc. Use a sugar soap solution for this. Rinse the walls with warm water and leave to dry. Don’t paint wet walls – it’ll cause blistering.
  5. For mildew, wipe walls with one part bleach to three parts water. Make sure the room’s well ventilated. Leave for a few minutes and scrub off with a brush. Rinse and leave to dry. Wear gloves and goggles to avoid the ‘fungal spores’ (ugh).

Painting a papered wall

Ideally, don’t do this. Painting wallpaper can make it wet, and that looseness causes it to bubble up. You’re better off stripping it off first. Sorry.

Word of warning - the walls might be a dog’s dinner underneath the paper, but you can’t really tell until it’s off. Sometimes a bit of filler and sanding can do the trick. For worse walls you might need to get a plasterer in or use lining paper (that goes on like wallpaper but is designed to be painted).

If you strip...

  1. Cut slits in the wallpaper using a stripping tool. Wet the wallpaper with hot soapy water and a sponge. Sounds basic, but be careful when near electrical switches and outlets!
  2. Only wet the paper a metre or two at a time and leave to soften for 3-4 minutes before starting to strip. Then slip the stripper into a cut in the paper and remove. 
  1. If the wallpaper is proving difficult to remove then make life easier with a steamer or stripping solution. 
  2. Start at the base of the wall when using a steamer. Place it over the wallpaper until damp and then remove the wallpaper using a stripper. Careful to avoid blistering by leaving it on the one spot for too long.
  3. Use sandpaper to remove any little pieces of wallpaper still stuck to the wall.

 Painting a newly-plastered wall

  1. Wait until the plaster has dried – it’ll be a light pink/grey colour. 
  2. Use an undercoat. Always. Otherwise all the paint will sink into the fresh plaster and you’ll literally see your money being sucked into the wall. You can use a mix of 50/50 plain white emulsion and water first, a couple of times, or you can use COAT paint and add 10% water for one undercoat.
  3. Lots of people talk about Primer. You don't need it with COAT Paints. All our paints are self-priming, meaning you can go straight onto the surface without needing it. So that answers that question.

 Prepping your walls for painting - top tips:

COAT paint is top-quality, so it’s worth a bit of effort up-front to get the best finish at the end: 

  1. If you’ve got wallpaper, ideally take it off
  2. Fill any cracks or holes with wall filler, and sand once dry
  3. Give the walls a light sand all over, to take off any roughness
  4. Use warm water to wipe over and clean the walls
  5. Undercoat on new plaster
  6. Get started. COAT paint is self-priming so no need to buy anything else

We know this seems long, but it's gotta be done. So time to crack on with it!



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