dulux last longer roller

Ask Dr Dulux: “How should I prep my walls so that my paint job lasts longer?”

Welcome to Ask Dr Dulux*. In this series, we answer your burning decorating questions and give you all the practical advice you need to take on your next painting project, big or small. Got a question you’d like to ask? Share it on social using #AskDrDulux and we could be answering your question next in the series.


This week, Stephanie Archer from West Sussex asked: “How should I prep my walls so that my paint job lasts longer?”

It’s a good question. Skipping the prep before painting your walls can mean you’re left with an uneven finish, unsightly paint bubbles and obvious imperfections, such as holes and cracks. Taking the time to prep before you roll paint onto a wall helps you get a flawless finish that stays that way for years to come.

To help you prep like a pro, we’ve pulled this video together along with a detailed step-by-step below. And don’t forget to make sure you have the right tools for the job – check out our ultimate decorating toolkit for advice on everything you need.

Step 1: Clean the wall

Dulux last longer clean the walls

Even if a wall looks pristine, it probably isn’t. To be sure of a really successful paint job, it’s a good idea to give the surface you’re planning to paint a good clean before you begin to eliminate dust, cobwebs and any greasy stains. Simply wash down with sugar soap, rinse well with clean water and allow to dry.

Step 2: Remove old paint

Dulux last longer remove old paint

Before you start painting, it’s important to scrape off any old bits of peeling paint. When you’ve removed as much as you can with a scraper, it’s time for sanding. Use 80-grit sandpaper to remove any big, stubborn areas of paint, then switch to 150-grit sandpaper to get a smooth finish. Once the wall is smooth, give it a wipe-down using a dry cloth.

Step 3: Fill holes & cracks

Dulux last longer fill holes and cracks

Next up, it’s time to fix imperfections, like holes and cracks, to make sure you get an even result. You can fill both using Polycell Polyfilla multipurpose filler. Use a scraper to apply the filler and, for any holes that are more than 10mm deep, build up the filler in layers. Allow to dry for 1-2 hours, sand until smooth and then give the wall a final once-over with a duster. 

Step 4: Mask

Run masking tape along your skirting boards to keep them paint-free. You can also mask around sockets and switches, as well as any edges where you want to achieve a crisp, straight line. Once that’s done, you’re ready for painting.

dulux last longer mask

Step 5: Paint!

dulux last longer paint

Prepare your chosen paint colour by stirring and pouring into a tray. Then, using a clean 2-inch synthetic brush, tackle the details first – cutting in around the skirting boards, sockets and light switches.

Once that’s finished, load a medium-pile microfibre roller with paint and apply to the wall using V and W motions for a smooth finish. Leave to dry for 2-4 hours… et voila!

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