Painting Walls – Prep Tips

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 15,815
    Bill Nunn, Painting Consultant to The Family Handyman Magazine, shows you how to prepare walls for painting.

    Bill Nunn: Hi! I am Bill Nunn, Painting Consultant to The Family Handyman Magazine; the leading magazine for Do-it-Yourselfers. And toady we are painting walls. Right now I am going to show you how to prepare the walls for painting.

    The first thing I am going to do is take the cover plate off or the outlets and switches and I just use my straight blade screwdriver to do that. I'll often just lay the plate facedown on the canvas below me, but it's a good idea to put the screw back in the fixture so it doesn't get lost.

    The next thing we'll do is sand our walls to get rid of a lot of the imperfections that are in the old paint surface and there are quite a few on this wall. I can feel it with my hand. I am going to use a sanding block. The sanding block has 80-grit paper on it; 80 or 100, or 120 works very well for this.

    I am going to put on some safety glasses and a dust-mask just to protect myself and just go over the wall slightly and that will really knock down the high-spots. Now that we've finished sanding the next step is to wash the walls down with some warm water and soap. I put gloves on just because the soap can sometimes be hard on your skin. I use a powdered soap like Soilax or TSP, TSP substitute works great.

    Now, reason for wiping down the walls like this is to get the dust off that we just created by sanding, plus any other water-soluble contaminants that might be on the wall like grease and so on. Usually starting at the bottom and working up is a good idea. In case you get any runs, a run that starts at the top of wall can sometimes streak and leave tracks in the wall. So it's good idea to start low and work your way on up.

    Okay. We've washed down the walls. I can feel they are nice and clean, no dust anymore. And the next thing to do is to fill some holes that we found here and here, and there is quite a large dent here in the wall. I am going to fill these with a lightweight spackling compound which is handy for this sort of thing because for one reason it doesn't shrink very much as it dries. Some of the spackles will shrink more than others, and this one doesn't. Just press it in and blade it off like so. We'll do the nail holes as well; press it down and blade it off and this last one. Okay, we'll let those spots dry out, and then we'll give them a light sanding. I am going to prime these spots where you've repaired just to make sure that they don't dry differently under our new coat of paint and that completes our preparation to the wall for paint.