How to prepare walls for painting

Learn how to fill in cracks and patch up holes to give your walls a smooth surface before you pick up your paint brush

fixing cracked wall

The key to an excellent paint or wallpaper finish is in the preparation. Follow our expert advice for preparing your walls for painting, and you’ll be guaranteed a professional outcome every time.

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1. Protect your room

Move furniture out of the way or out of the room entirely and use a dust sheet to protect the floor. Tape the sheet in place using some masking tape.

2. Fill in cracks or holes

Cracks in the walls are a common occurrence in properties of all ages, and most walls will show holes from old picture hooks, fittings or shelves. Painting over these without attempting to repair them will result in an uneven and untidy finish.

Luckily, cracks and holes in the wall are easy to fix yourself. To find out how, check out our guide to repairing a damaged wall.

3. Wash down your walls

Clean away any dust and grease from your door using a sugar soap solution (following the ratio given on the product instructions) and a sponge, making sure you open the windows and allow the walls to dry fully.

4. Block off with masking tape

Use masking tape to block off any sections you don’t want to paint, for example around windows, light fittings, electric sockets, door handles, frames etc. If you only want to paint to the top of your walls and cutting-in isn’t your strong suit, apply several strips of tape around the edges of the ceiling

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5. Get painting!

You should now be ready to get your painting clothes on! Don’t miss our pick of the essential painting tools for every home to make sure you’re fully kitted out. And for those final touches, we’ve got tutorials on painting a skirting board and painting a radiator.