Man sanding a wall

How to prep walls for painting

As we always say, preparation is key! Behind every good paint job is good preparation.

Today we are going to share our top 5 tips on how we recommend you prep your walls for painting.

1) Removing wallpaper

Removing wallpaper with a scraper

If you are planning to remove wallpaper and instead paint your walls, there are a couple of ways you can do it. Some opt to use a steamer whilst others use a wallpaper removing solution sprayed onto the surface. It depends on what you are more comfortable with and also the state of the wallpaper.

You may find that if the wallpaper has been on the wall for many many years that it will come away with very little effort.

After the paper has been removed, make sure you fully remove any wallpaper paste left on the walls. If there is any residue, you will find that the paint will be more difficult to apply and will have a poor-looking finish.

To remove the paste residue, you can use dish soap and hot water. Or if the glue is extremely stubborn, you could use vinegar and hot water instead. Use a plastic scraper to help shift the glue but be cautious not to gouge into the wall. Unfortunately, sometimes when you remove the wallpaper you’ll discover some horrors below and may need to consider a re-skim of the walls. We’d recommend getting a professional to advise you on this if you think it’s necessary.

2) Wash your walls

Wall being washed of mould and mildew

This may seem like an odd thing to do as you will be painting over anything that is there, however, you will find your paint will adhere a lot better if you clean your walls first. This is especially true in areas where grease and grime can quickly build up such as kitchens and bathrooms.

Simply use a little detergent in some clean fresh water and give the surface a light clean. Try not to make the wall too wet as it will affect the drying time and potentially cause damage to the wall.

We also recommend dealing with any mould or mildew that is present before painting. You can use Mould Action Spray to kill and remove both the physical mould and spores before painting. Then to take further precautions, you could use VC175 Mould Killer in your paint before applying it. This will prevent the mould/mildew from recurring.

3) Fill in any holes or cracks

Hole in wall being filled in

How to prep walls for painting 101: fill in any holes or cracks before painting. This will give a smooth and professional-looking finish that will last. If there are any cracks that seem to follow up the wall to the ceiling, you may wish to investigate further before starting.

There could potentially be an issue with the piping causing moisture to build up. This could mean you will have a reoccurring issue and will have to be constantly refilling the cracks and repainting.

Depending on the size of the hole and the type of surface will depend on what product you will need. Some are quick-drying whilst others take quite some time to dry – something to take into consideration when deciding which one to purchase.

4) Sand your walls

Man sanding a wall

For obvious reasons, once you have filled any holes or scuffs in your walls you will want to sand the filler down to make it smooth with the rest of the wall. We recommend starting with coarse sandpaper and slowly working your way towards lighter sandpaper as you get closer to the finished result.

Be careful not to remove too much as you will be right back to square one!

Even if you have not filled in your walls, we recommend giving your walls a light sanding anyway. This will ensure that the entire surface is smooth and so will allow for a neat and professional-looking finish.

You don’t want to use anything too coarse, just a very light sanding to get rid of any small imperfections.

5) Tape off door frames etc

Door frames and skirting boards taped off for protection

With your walls nice and clean and smooth you may think you are ready to dive in! But, before you do, we recommend you tape off any surface you do not want to paint. Protecting door and window frames, window sills, flooring, plug sockets etc will ensure for a professional-looking finish.

There are so many types of tape out there, some made for specific surfaces and some with only a very light adhesive. Make sure you read the packaging and purchase one that is suitable for what you will be applying it to.

We also recommend you don’t purchase the cheapest tape possible. Sadly there is a reason they are so cheap and you may find yourself scraping the tape off the surface after! A timely and unnecessary step.


We hope you found this post helpful. If you have any further tips or advice on how to prep walls for painting, please leave them in the comments below! We love hearing from you!

For more handy tips and advice, why not follow us on our social media pages? We are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest! You can find us at @owatroluk or use the hashtag #owatroluk

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Owatrol Team
About Owatrol Team

Our team are ready and willing to support you with your requirements whether it is protecting your newly laid deck or renovating a luxury yacht, whatever the application Owatrol has the solution you are looking for.

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