How to Prepare a Wall for Painting (Definitive Guide)

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Have you ever wondered how to prepare a wall for painting? We’ve been in your shoes before and want to help you get your next paint job off to the right start. This definitive guide will give you a step by step process to preparing your walls for painting. Helping you achieve a higher quality paint finish with less effort. 

Paint roller painting wall

5 Steps to Prepare a Wall for Painting

Preparing and painting a wall is not as hard as some people may believe. With a little bit of practice and a process to follow anyone can achieve a high quality paint job. To help DIYer’s and homeowners we have outlined some key steps to preparing a wall for painting. Check our steps out below and give your room that new look you’ve been waiting for. 

1. Repair Your Walls

Before you begin painting your walls you will need to make sure they are in good shape. If there are cracks, holes or other issues with your walls you will need to repair them before you start. That may mean you need to patch holes with painters putty, sand over rough patches or clean off any dirt. 

Taking the time to repair your walls and clean up any problem areas ensures that when you start painting the paint adheres well. So if you are striving for a professional, long lasting finish make sure not to skip this step.

2.  Clean Your Walls:

After you have repaired any issues with the respective walls you will need to clean them. This step just like the last is meant to ensure the paint you are applying to the surfaces adheres properly. If you surface has to much dust or areas with baked on grime the paint job will not last as long. 

So take the time to break out a sponge or washcloth, some soap and a wash bucket and give the wall a good scrub before starting to apply any paint. The end results will make the additional step worth it for you. 

3.  Protect Your Trim:

This step is optional and is dependent on whether you intend to paint your trim the same color as the wall or not. If you want to protect your trim then now is the time to utilize your painters tape. This step requires you to tape of all areas of your trim, making sure to press down on the tape as you go so no paint leaks through. Properly applied painters tape is what is used to achieve a clean paint line.

In addition to helping you achieve a nice line, this stage is also goes hand in hand with our next point, as it’s the initial step in preparing your surroundings. 

4.  Paint Proof the Area. 

Have a tarp or canvas drop cloth? While now is the time to take it out if you want to minimize your clean up efforts. We suggest you use canvas drop cloths to protect any items in the surrounding are you are painting. This will help decrease the risk of you getting painting on anything. 

If you have any items you think can be moved out of the room to make your job easier, now is the time to consider doing that. 

5.  Apply Primer:

Utilizing primer in your preparation process is one of the keys to achieving a high quality finish and is something professionals rarely gloss over. So select your favourite roller, paint sprayer or paint brush, plus primer, and give your wall a solid base coat. We suggest you do two to three layers if you are painting over dark paint, and one if you are painting over something lighter. 

Taking the time to prime your wall helps your paint achieve a radiant and rich color when applying on your main paint coat. 

Conclusion: Time to Paint

Now you have a quick process to prepare your walls for painting and you should be well on your way to achieving a high quality interior paint finish. We hope the time it took for you to prepare your walls shows in the end and enables you to give your room the look you have been after. 

If you are curious about whether you should be using a paint brush or paint sprayer to tackle this job we suggest you take the time to read this related article our team published. Now get out there and get painting!

Preparing your surroundings is important but so is protecting yourself. The last thing you want is paint on any of your clean clothes that you can’t take off.  So make sure you have some painters whites on or some old clothes on hand to ensure this doesn’t become a problem. 


Ryan is a writer for He's been a hobbyist and painter for a long time, and now enjoys teaching others. His content primarly focuses on reviews and guides for painters and construction professionals.

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