How to Prep Walls for Paint

We know that prep work is the least exciting part of any home project, but it can make or break your final result. In addition to a bit of know-how and using premium products, proper prep will make your DIY paint job look professional. The paintCLE team has a few easy steps to take that will make all the difference.

First Things First

Nobody likes a “Negative Nancy,” but spilling paint at some point during this adventure is nearly inevitable, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Move all furniture from the room or cover it with drop cloths to protect your investment. It’s a lot harder to remove dried paint from your couch than it is to prevent it from getting there in the first place. You’ll also want to remove the outlet and light switch covers and cover door handles and hardware with painter’s tape.

Fix Any Blemishes

In a perfect world, you could paint over dents or peeling paint, and no one would be the wiser. Paint adheres best to a clean, smooth surface, so if you apply fresh paint over imperfections, it will be evident that you skipped a step. Paint with a higher sheen will draw attention to blemishes rather than conceal them.

  • Scrape any flaking paint with a putty knife.
  • Patch small holes, such as from hanging pictures, with a spackle compound. After dry, smooth it by gently sanding it with 12-grit sandpaper. For larger holes, invest in a patch kit.

Squeaky Clean

A clean surface is vital for a fantastic paint job. Start by vacuuming the trim in a room to remove dust and cobwebs, then wipe the walls in a circular motion with a soft, damp cloth. This will be sufficient to clean most walls, but if you have kids or are painting the kitchen, it’s worth washing them using a solution of water and mild detergent. If you use soap, wipe the area well with clean water and allow the wall to dry thoroughly before moving on.

Things Get a Little Sticky

After your walls dry, cover the trim with painter’s tape. Use a few long pieces rather than several short ones because small gaps between the pieces can let paint sneak through. Press the tape into place gently but firmly with a putty knife.

Primed For Success

Even though most paints are a 2-in-1 paint and primer combination, using a separate primer is always a good idea. Primer will conceal smoke or water damage and allow the most authentic color of the paint to be seen. Switching from a dark color to a much lighter shade is also essential. It will take many coats of white paint to cover black if you don’t prime first adequately, and who has the extra time or money for that?

Contact Us

Now that you know how to prep walls for paint, let the pros at paintCLE help you choose the perfect products for your home. We’re the area’s premier Benjamin Moore paint dealer and carry a wide selection of interior and exterior paint, stain, and Centurion specialty coatings. Visit one of our three locations to get started. paintCLE proudly serves Willoughby Hills, Shaker Heights, Medina, Ohio, and the surrounding area.