Essential Preparation for Painting and Decorating

Whatever you do, don’t paint an unprepared surface. Drastic preparation work isn’t always necessary, but the area must be clean, smooth and dry otherwise the paint may not adhere or last very long.




Walls in good condition may only need washing down, using sugar soap or another strong degreasing agent. Scrape away any loose plaster and fill small holes and cracks with a proprietary filler and sand down. Large holes may need replastering. Give new plaster time to dry out.

To strip off old paper, work on one wall at a time. A hired steam stripper will make this work easier. Once stripped, seal the walls with a watery solution of wallpaper adhesive and leave overnight. Rub and wipe away dust with a damp sponge.

Lining paper applied to a wall before painting will improve the surface and mask any minor imperfections, giving a better final result.


Sound, previously painted wood will just need a wash down and light sanding to give the new paint a ‘key’ to adhere to. Remove flaking paint or varnish with a hot air stripper (take care not to singe the wood) or chemical stripper. Cut out and replace damaged wood, then sand the entire surface in the direction of the grain. Wash oily woods with solvent.

On bare wood, use a primer first. Quick-drying acrylic is suitable for most purposes, but use an oil-based primer for areas of heavy wear. Once dry, apply an undercoat (two coats for extra coverage). Lightly sand down between coats and remove all dust.


Rub down previously painted metal with emery paper. Remove rust with a wire brush and use a filler (the type used for car bodywork) to fill chips and dents. Apply a coat of metal primer. Unpainted metal should only need cleaning and priming (radiators often come ready-primed). Follow with an undercoat.

13. June 2011 by admin
Categories: Decorating, Painting | Tags: , | Comments Off on Essential Preparation for Painting and Decorating


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