Prep to paint

Getting the best finish begins with good prep. With a bit of planning and the right products, you’ll get a pro finish that stays the distance.

Just as ‘location, location, location’ is the catchcry when it comes to buying property, ‘preparation, preparation, preparation’ should be your mantra when you paint. It’s super important to properly prep surfaces before getting busy with your new colour scheme. If you simply slap on the paint, you may well find the colour looks uneven, and the paint doesn’t stick properly, which means it will soon start to peel or crack. It may even have fluffy bits in it from dust particles! Do it right first time, and you’ll be enjoying leisurely weekends for years to come. Well, we can dream. 

1 Clear the room
If you can, take everything out of the room. If you can’t, put the big ticket items in the centre and cover them with a drop sheet. Then take everything off the walls. Remove old hooks, screws and nails. Cover the floor to protect your carpet or flooring. Paint can go through drop sheets if you spill it, so use a plastic sheet and tape it to the skirting in a few places to stop it moving around. Then place canvas drop sheets over the top. 

2 Clean the walls and trims
Unless you’re a cleaning fanatic, your walls will be dirty. Wash them down with water and mild detergent (washing up liquid will do the trick). If you put it in a spray bottle, the walls won’t get too wet. Look out for marks where things have been hanging or pushed up against the wall. Check the corners for cobwebs! It doesn’t have to be totally perfect – paint is great at covering marks. 

3 Repair any damage
Holes, dings, scratches and chips should be banished with flexible filler. Wipe off the excess then, once it’s completely dry, sand with a fine sanding block or paper, in circular motion. You can also sand down any bumps, such as old paint drips. Gaps between walls and skirtings or trims can be filled with an acrylic gap filler. Finally, lightly sand the whole wall, then have another wipe down to get rid of any dust. 

4 Prime, undercoat or seal?
For most paint jobs, you should use a prep coat first to create a smooth base for paint. This is especially important if you’re painting a surface for the first time, but also has huge benefits for a repaint. Undercoats, primers and sealers help the topcoat paint stick, and ensure a nice even colour. (Tip: If you skip this stage, it might actually end up costing you more money in paint to get a decent finish.) Undercoat creates a smooth, even-coloured base, and is vital when going from a dark colour to a lighter one. A primer does a bit more. It will block out stains, smooth a rough surface and create a barrier to stop moisture coming through. A sealer takes things one stage further by creating a water-resistant layer. The simplest way is to use a prep coat that does all these jobs in one. British Paints PREP 4in1 does all this, plus it includes a stain blocker. It’s available in Water Basedfor walls and ceilings and Oil Based for doors and trims. Easy!

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