One of the best things you can do to make sure that your painting project works out as you intended, and becomes a complete success, is to go through a formal process of wall preparation. This involves cleaning the walls, sanding them, and having them primed, all before you ever put a single brush to them.

Not all wall surfaces require every step in the process we have outlined below, but it’s still a good idea for you to conduct a thorough check of any walls you intend to paint, so you know which of the preparation steps are necessary before you begin. That being stated, the steps described below will definitely prepare your wall surfaces adequately for painting, and will give you the very best opportunity for achieving a successful outcome.

Clean the Walls

Cleaning the walls prior to painting is an absolute must if you expect to do a really good job on your painting project. There really isn’t any outstanding or best way to accomplish this cleaning, especially since wall surfaces can be made of many different materials. However, for the most part, you will be safe in washing your walls with warm water and a sponge. Any walls which have been exposed to some type of crime, grease, or oil (for instance your kitchen walls) should be cleansed with some kind of grease-cutting detergent which has been included with water.

Then you should wash that solution off with plain warm water so that any residue can be removed prior to painting. The last step in your cleaning process should be to take a damp cloth and wipe down the entire wall surface, to remove any remaining debris or residue. Then, it becomes very important for you to allow the entire wall surface to dry thoroughly. If you fail to observe this step, and apply a primer or paint to a damp wall, you will be eligible for a number of undesirable possibilities, especially blistering primer or paint.

Eliminate Mold or Mildew

Any room in your house so that you intend to paint should first be inspected for the presence of mold or mildew, because these will have to be removed prior to the beginning of your painting operation. You should never attempt to paint over mold or mildew, because they’ll grow right back through the paint, and that will not only make it more difficult to paint in the future, but it will also allow a health issue to continue in your home.

A good way to clean mildew is with a solution that is three parts water and one part bleach. Once you’ve applied the solution to your wall surfaces, allow it to set for a few minutes, so that the bleach has a chance to take effect. Then you should scrub the area with a soft brush, rinse off the entire wall surface, and use clean water to remove anything left over.

While you’re doing all this, you should be wearing some protective gear such as goggles and gloves, so you don’t inhale or touch anything unhealthy for you. As with the first step when you were cleaning the walls, make sure to allow sufficient time for the surfaces to dry off, and for the same reason.

Sand Down the Wall Surfaces

It might not be necessary on every paint project you do to sand down the walls, but it’s generally a good idea, especially if you have some rough spots anywhere on your wall surfaces. The reason you need to sand down the surfaces is that this will ensure all coats of paint can be applied smoothly and efficiently. Any uneven surfaces should be sanded down with a sanding block or ordinary sandpaper, then you can wipe away any dust or debris with a damp cloth.

Afterwards, you should allow enough time for the wall surfaces to be completely dry before proceeding. It will be necessary for you to sand down walls which have previously been painted with high-gloss paint. Any job which applied a water-based paint to the walls previously should be sanded down with a fine-grit sandpaper. For previous painting jobs which were oil-based, a medium-grit sandpaper is the most effective approach.

As before, make sure to wipe away all dust and debris, and then allow plenty of time for the wall surface to dry off before attempting to paint. If your wall surfaces have cracked or flaking paint from a previous job, this will have to be dealt with as well. Most likely the cracking or flaking was caused by poor preparation of the wall surface before painting. Whatever you do, make sure you don’t paint over cracked paint from a previous job, and take the time to sand down any cracking or flaking before you embark on your own painting job.

Prime the Walls

The coat of primer you apply to your wall surfaces is very much like a foundation for the paint which will come afterward. Primers are used to get the most out of the paint itself, especially when your walls have some kind of surface stains which need to be covered up, or if they happen to be particularly porous. Primers are extremely good at covering up any imperfections, and at creating smooth surfaces which your paint can adhere to powerfully.

The primer also allows you to establish a uniform finish, regardless of the type of paint you’re using. There is a good primer available for every possible painting project, and you’ll have no trouble finding exactly the right primer you need for your painting job. Even if you are attempting a major change in color on your wall surfaces, you’ll be able to find a primer which effectively hides the previous color and prepares the wall for its new identity.

Once you’ve accomplished your priming step, you will finally be ready to paint your wall surfaces, and achieve the brand-new look you had in mind when you embarked on the project.