The Easy Way to Prep a Wall for Painting

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Today I am going into the one step that is often forgotten in painting, how to prep a wall for painting. This step most is the least fun and the most important in having a new paint job turn out right.

What you will need:

Painters tape like this. First off this tape comes in several widths. I like the two inch best because when you tape off the ceiling or floor it is wide enough to catch the whole width of the roller. With this width, if you roll to the top or bottom of the wall no paint will get on the ceiling or the floor.

Spackle. I really like the Crawfords brand but it can be hard to find. It is low VOC so less toxic than most spackle. It also goes on well and seemed to me like it didn’t shrink as much as other spackles.

5 in one painter’s tool. This tool will help with lots of paint jobs. Watch this quick little video from Dunn Edwards paint about what it can do.

A putty knife and a paint scraper. You will need both, so might as well get a set.

Primer I was hesitant to buy this at first because it had one good review and one bad one, but I needed the No VOC so I tried it. I am happy to say that I had a great experience with this primer. I will never go back to any other.  It was thick and went on well. I used it to prime cabinets in my laundry room makeover and they are holding up well.

Sanding sponge like this one.  I would use a medium grit. 

The Steps

  1. The first step in wall prep is to remove all nails, screws, switch plates and outlet plates.   You should now be looking at empty walls.
  2. Take your sanding sponge and sand down the rough edges on any holes in the wall.
  3. Now open the spackle, and using your painters’ tool press the spackle into the nail and screw holes. Let dry following the directions on the can. If the spackle shrinks and there is still a divet in the wall fill it with more spackle and let dry again.
  4. After the spackle is dry sand it so it is smooth.
  5. If there is any bubbling or peeling paint use your sanding sponge to sand it smooth, spackle over it, let it dry. Now sand gently over it again.
  6. Now wash the walls. You can just use vinegar and water, or your favorite cleaner. I would avoid anything that requires a rinse after the wash unless you don’t mind the extra work. Be careful on the newly spackled areas as you may wipe the spackle off.  Let dry.
  7. Now that we have clean walls you can start putting the tape around the ceiling and floor, and anything else that touches the wall like cabinets that you don’t want to get paint on, door jambs, and the like.
  8. The final step is to prime over the spots that you have spackled.

That’s it! Now you will have beautiful walls when you paint them.

Picture of a door and ceiling taped off to paint

Want to see how this room turned out? Click here for my finished room in the One Room Challenge.  Go ahead and try doing this yourself. You will be painting like a pro in no time.

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