Preparing A Wall For Painting: 7 Steps To A Better Looking Finish

Help The Paint Last Longer And Look Better For Your Home In Westchester, Putnam, Or Duchess County

Preparing a wall for painting helps the paint stick to the wall better, meaning it’ll last longer and look better. It involves 7 steps: moving objects off of and away from the walls, putting down drop cloths & applying painter’s tape, repairing any damages, identifying the wall paint type, cleaning the wall with TSP, rinsing with water, and then priming if necessary.

Let’s follow Tony as he preps his walls for painting.

“Aaannnddd that’s the last of it,” Tony grunts as he gives the couch one last push.

The couch, chairs, and other bits of furniture are now all in the middle of the room, away from the walls. He wipes the film of sweat building on his forehead as he catches his breath.

“Alright, now where’s that steps list for preparing a wall for painting…ah, here it is.”

Preparing A Wall For Painting In 7 Steps

  1. Move objects off of and away from the walls
  2. Lay down drop cloths and apply painter’s tape
  3. Repair any damages to the wall
  4. Identify the type of paint on your wall (oil or latex)
  5. Clean the wall with a damp rag, dipped in a mixture of water and TSP, and a vacuum
  6. Rinse with water and let dry
  7. Prime if walls are bare drywall, have stained or repaired area, is painted with a high gloss finish, or if you’re doing a drastic color change
Priming a wall in preparation to paint it

“Furniture is away from the walls, pictures are taken down, screws are out too, so that’s it for step 1,” Tony says, crossing off step 1 with his pen. 

“…drop cloths…painter’s tape…” he mutters under his breath. “At least I’m still in the easier stages in preparing a wall for painting,” he thinks to himself. Tony grabs some drop cloths and lays them right at the base of the walls. He then takes painter’s tape and tapes off the trim, door frames, and window frames. “Less mess means less cleaning,” he says aloud, remembering what his mother always used to say.

Now he’s about to start messing with the actual walls.

Prepping The Actual Walls

“There are a couple of dings and marks on the wall I’ll need to repair,” Tony groans.

“Those kids, running into things, knocking them over, not taking care of our stuff,” he complains inwardly. He gets out his tools and some spackle and makes the wall repairs.

“Now I need to identify the type of wall paint? How’s that a step in preparing a wall for painting?” 

Well, you need to make slightly different surface preparations if you have an oil or latex painted wall. Wet a cotton swab with alcohol and rub it gently on the paint. If it comes off then it’s latex and if it doesn’t then it’s oil. If it’s oil paint, lightly sand the surface and apply bonding primer on it so the new paint sticks to it better.

Sanding a wall to prepare it for painting

“Whelp looks like this’s latex paint,” Tony says happily. “Means less work for me,” he thinks as he washes the walls with a water and TSP (trisodium phosphate) mixture. He also uses a hose vacuum to clean the trim.

Tony finishes the wall cleaning with a rinse of warm water and then lets it dry.

“Now, do I have to prime it?” Tony says to himself. “Yep,” says a loud voice behind Tony, making him jump in surprise. It’s his best friend who also happens to be a house painter. “Looks like you finally patched up those dings in the wall and your wife is asking for a pretty big color change, so you’ll definitely want to prime first,” his friend finishes.

“Well don’t just stand there smiling at me, grab a brush and a bucket and let’s knock this out before the game starts,” Tony says in irritation. “We only have a few hours, so let’s go.” They both grab their tools and start priming the walls in preparation for painting them.