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Painting Tips: Preparing Walls for Painting

With our DIY tips, preparing walls for painting is easy and gives your decorating project the perfect finish. Discover easy surface prep and painting tips with Dulux.


You’re just a few easy, DIY tips away from a professional paint job.

Painting is one of those things that looks easier than it is and, unfortunately, you only discover this after trial and error. We’re here to take the ‘error’ part out of it for you, with tips that make preparing walls for painting a breeze. With easy surface prep, the right tools and some insider know-how, you’ll feel like a professional in those painting overalls before you know it.


Choosing your paint brushes


Let’s launch into painting tips with picking up the right brush for the job. It’s important to consider the type of bristle, in terms of the coat that you’re applying and the job that needs completing. The first of two choices, synthetic bristles are hard wearing and last up to five times longer than natural brushes. As they don’t absorb large amounts of water, they don’t swell up and cause tramlines to appear in the paint. Therefore, they produce a fine finish on all water-based paints.

A natural bristle brush has a structure that allows it to take and hold paint. The split ends of natural bristle brushes help towards a fine finish with traditional solvent paints. However, they don’t perform well with water-based paints like Dulux Once or Quick Drying Satinwood. Lastly, choosing the right sized brush is easy. The larger the area, the larger the brush needs to be. For cutting in on walls, use a 2” or 3” brush. A 1” or 2” brush gives you more flexibility for painting doors, skirting boards and architraves.


Using the best type of roller


When you’re painting the ceiling or large wall surfaces, rollers are the ideal choice as they’re quick and easy to use. Just like brushes, it’s best to choose a roller that’s most suited to the type of paint you’re using. Basically, foam, mohair and sheepskin rollers come in short, medium and long-pile.

A short-pile mohair roller is suitable for applying silk emulsion, while a medium-pile sheepskin roller is best for matt emulsion. Short pile is the choice for very fine or flat surfaces. To avoid air bubbles in the paint film, don’t use spongy foam rollers with normal emulsion paints. Before you use it, don’t forget to wash the roller in warm, soapy water to eliminate any fluff.


Picking the right paint


Choosing the right type of paint comes down to the results you’re looking for and the surface you’re painting. To hide imperfections, use velvety matt emulsion. Satin and silk are mid-sheen finishes that look slightly polished and reflect some light. Eggshell sits somewhere between the two, with a surface that looks as its name suggests. For a shiny look that reflects lots of light, choose a gloss finish.

DIY tips include ensuring your paint is suitable for the unique needs of each room. For example, Dulux Easycare Bathroom is moisture, steam and mould resistant. In the kitchen, Dulux Easycare Kitchen combats everyday cooking stains so you can wash them away with ease. Dulux Easycare Washable & Tough Matt repels liquid spills and is strong enough to endure even the messiest of kids’ rooms.


Selecting a filler


Before preparing walls for painting, buy a filler that’s up to the task of covering those cracks in the wall. The Polycell Polyfilla range has a filler for every size of gap. Choose Flexible Gap for around the tops of skirtings, windows and door frames. Quick Drying Polyfilla gets the job done fast and it’s great for walls and woodwork. Multi-Purpose Polyfilla is suitable for all surfaces in your home. You’ll also find specific products for hairline cracks, screw holes and anything else that might get in the way of your perfect finish.


Preparing walls for painting


Now that you’ve got your tools, easy surface prep starts with a clean, blank canvas. Remove any nails or screws. Then, wash the walls thoroughly with sugar soap and rinse them with clean water to remove any residue. Next up, fill holes and cracks with Polycell Polyfilla and let it dry. To achieve a smooth surface, lightly sand the walls using medium or fine grit paper. This ensures your fresh, new paint will adhere to the surface properly.


Painting after wallpaper removal


Once you’ve finished scaping the wallpaper off, it’s important to thoroughly wash the area to remove all the old paste. While the surface is still damp, fill in any holes and cracks with Polycell No Sanding Polyfilla, which will dry in as little as 15 minutes. For particularly damaged walls, Polycell SmoothOver for Cracked & Damaged Walls covers dents, gouges and cracks in one go. Then, go ahead and sand it down.


Painting in the right order


Now it’s time to pick up your brush or roller! To paint in the right order, start at the top of the room and work your way down. For easy ceiling painting tips, use Magic White. It fades from pink to white in under an hour, to ensure that you don’t miss a spot. Apply two coats and move onto the walls, working away from natural light. Paint your windows in the morning, so they have a full day to dry before you close them at night. Lastly, finish off with doors, door frames and skirting.

Though painting isn’t as easy as it looks, all you need to do is follow the right painting tips towards a professional finish to be proud of.

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