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Planning on painting? Before you pick up the paintbrush, you need to put some effort into the preparation of your walls. These tips and tricks will ensure perfect results when painting any room in your home!

A large empty room and text that reads how to prep walls for paint

If you’re anything like me, walls in your home get painted and repainted constantly. When we moved in, we painted our entire house Repose Gray with a few rooms in Stonington Gray because I the rooms had to be painted (they were so dirty and gross!) but I wanted to pick colors that I knew would work.

Fast forward five years, Stonington Gray is gone from all but one room and I’ve repainted much of the downstairs in Repose at 50% strength. With all that painting experience under my belt, I’ve learned a few tips and tricks that will ensure your paint job goes smoothly every time!

Time Needed: 1 day

  1. Repair Holes in the Dry Wall

    The first thing to when prepping your walls before paint is to patch and fill any holes or divots with spackle. If you have a large hole, you may need to use a drywall patch and joint compound.

    I’ve used patches in the past and they worked great. For nail holes and such, I just use the spackle that goes on pink and dries clear – that way I know when it’s ready for paint or holes in the drywall

  2. Sand Until The Wall is Smooth

    Once dry, sand the spackle or compound. If you’re just doing a small patch, a sanding sponge or sanding block works fine, although you’ll need the sponge if you need to get into any corners. If you have a larger area to sand, then attach the sanding block to a pole.

    Using your hand, feel to ensure that the patch is completely smooth and level with the surrounding wall. Joint compound can “flash” under paint, so paint over it with primer first.sand the walls to ensure they are smooth for paint

  3. Dull the Surface For Paint

    Light scuff the rest of the wall with a fine grit sandpaper. This will dull the previous paint and ensure adhesion of the new paint.

  4. Ensure Walls are Clean and Dust Free

    Vacuum any dust, then use a tack cloth to ensure the wall is dust-free.

    Wipe down the wall with a damp cloth or paper towel to ensure it is completely clean (just don’t soak the the spackle!).clean the walls before painting for proper paint adhesion

  5. Remove Outlet and Switch Plates

    Remove outlet and switch plates by unscrewing them. Put a strip of painter’s tape right over the outlet so prevent accidentally rolling paint on it.

  6. Apply Painter’s Tape

    If you have a shaky hand, or you’re nervous about your painting abilities, tape off all trim as well as where the wall meets the ceiling. I’ve used FrogTape brand for years, and I swear by it. The regular green version works great but if you’ve painted the ceiling or trim recently, go for the delicate yellow version.
    appy painter's tape to the ceiling and baseboards before painting

  7. Use The Best Painting Supplies

    Once all the prep work is done, it’s important to use the best supplies. Cheap roller covers leave marks on walls. Cheap paintbrushes leave brushstrokes and hairs in paint. I highly recommend using a brand like Purdy.

    If you have to take a break, place your brush and roller in a zip lock bag. This will stop them from drying out for up to 24 hours. And don’t forget to clean your brushes when you are done. All you need is some dish soap and warm water. If you take care of them, they will last for many paint jobs.

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  1. If the walls and ceiling have lumps/high spots, then a good scraper knocks them down without sanding. My next step is to open cracks, tape with mesh fiber tape and then spakle. I also apply a fine skim coat of spakle to scraped areas as well as fill divots and holes. Then I lightly sand and sponge clean with a large sponge and water. Then I prime and paint 2 coats. I use only Benjamin Moore Regal paint and Benjamin Moore primer.

    Do you think this process is correct?

  2. Jenna, you talk about cleaning your brush with dish soap and warm water. If you use 1/2 cup of fabric softener (like Downey) to 1 gallon of water. It cleans the brushes much faster and is much gentler to the brush bristles.

  3. Jenna, you talk about cleaning your brush with dish soap and warm water. If you use 1/2 cup of fabric softener (like Downey) to 1 gallon of water. It cleans the brushes much faster and is much gentler to the brush bristles. I use a brush spinner after cleaning gets the brush completely dry. Also a brush comb helps get all the paint deep in the bristles out when cleaning

  4. Hi, Jenna. We moved into our newest house in July. Most of it is painted Repose Gray, but a few rooms aren’t, so I’ll be painting them soon. And all the trim throughout the house needs to be repainted– the house is only four years old, but the paint the builder used must have been pretty cheap because it looks awful. What surprised me about your tips was when you wrote, “Light scuff the rest of the wall with a fine grit sandpaper.” I’ve never done that before. It seems like it would take forever to sand all the walls. Is that really necessary?
    Thanks for your blog. I get lots of good ideas from it. I know it’s a ton of work, and I really appreciate all the articles you write for us!

    1. If you clean the walls well, you’ll be fine without the scuffing. It helps more when you’re using a cheaper brand of paint…the best brands adhere perfectly without the added step.

  5. Such an informative blog! One thing I would like to say that before starting painting we should keep our project dust-free by using a tack cloth, it will make your work easier. Thank you for sharing! I will share it to all my friends and relatives. Keep Posting! Keep Sharing!