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How to Prep Your Walls for Painting

There’s no doubt about it. Prepping your walls before painting is the least exciting part of the painting project. We all want to get to the exciting part of the new paint color, and it’s so tempting to skip over the tedious steps of paint prep. But a proper prep job is vital to a beautiful end result. Don’t make the mistake of skipping these crucial steps. Follow these guidelines to prep your walls for painting.

1. Move the Furniture. Protect Fixtures.

A good rule of thumb is to assume you will spill paint (or you’ll at least get paint splatter in parts of the room that are not the walls). Don’t take chances. Move your furniture out of the room if you can. If this isn’t possible, move all pieces to the center of the room and cover them with plastic drop cloths.

It’s all too easy to paint over outlet covers, and that’s really not a good look. Be sure to remove the cover plates from your light switches and outlets. Cover ceiling fans and pendant lights with plastic.

And don’t forget doorknobs or other door hardware. Cover them with painter’s tape — or even plastic bags, secured with painter’s tape.

partially painted wall
Photo by Pat Freling of Paint Strategies

2. Repair Imperfections

Look closely at your wall for imperfections. Taking care of them now will ensure your paint rolls on smoothly and evenly, leaving you with a polished end result.

If you find flaking paint, scrape it off with a putty knife.

Patch small holes by applying a spackling product with a putty knife. Smooth and let dry. Once dry, sand the area smooth. Apply primer to the area.

If you have a bigger hole, use a patch kit to repair it. Don’t leave any of these imperfections unresolved. New paint won’t cover them up; it will highlight them.

freshly painted california kitchen

3. Clean the Walls

Painting over dirty walls will lead to visible imperfections in your finished product. Begin cleaning the walls by vacuuming the baseboards and moldings. Dust the whole wall with a damp towel, working in a circular motion. If you’re painting your kitchen, you may need to use soapy water to remove food splatters before painting.

4. Tape

Once your walls are completely dry, apply painter’s tape around the trim. Try to use longer pieces of tape. Shorter pieces create gaps that paint can leak through. With a clean putty knife, press the edge of the tape to your trim so it sticks firmly.

5. Prime

This step helps your finished product to look as beautiful as it possibly can. Primer covers up imperfections, while allowing your chosen paint to show forth as its true color and sheen. First, paint primer around your trim and in the corners of the room with a 2-inch brush. Then, use a roller to apply primer to the rest of your walls.

New Life Painting can handle the whole project for you — from prep to paint to cleanup. Give us a call at (805) 937-9836, or contact us online for a painting estimate in the Central Coast.

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