How to Prepare Walls & Ceilings for Painting with Wickes

It's vital that all surfaces are properly prepared before painting to ensure that the finish is long lasting and looks professional. Learn how to prepare a room for painting with this step by step guide from one of our Wickes experts.

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Before you begin painting ensure:

- All surfaces are completely free of grease and dust.
- Any cracks or holes that need to be filled are filled (for more info on how to repair cracks and holes, see our tutorial
- Flaky plaster, peeling paint and wallpaper are removed.
- All furniture is removed from the room if possible, or moved into the centre of the room and covered to protect them from paint.
- Floors are protected with suitable protective sheets.

How to prepare plastered walls:

- If the surface you’re planning to paint is freshly plastered, ensure that it’s completely dry before you begin preparing the surface.
- Fresh plaster needs priming before you can paint on it, this enables paint to cover the wall properly.
- Buy specialist paint for new plaster, check manufacturer's instructions for the amount of coats, or else you can do two coats of ‘mist coat’ – which is watered down emulsion. 60% paint to 40% water. After the mist coats you will need two top coats.

How to prepare painted walls:

- Ensure any holes, cracks or gaps are filled.
- For hairline cracks you can use Wickes base coat to fill in these kinds of blemishes.
- If there are larger cracks you will need to do the following:

1. Wash the area with sugar soap.
2. Apply Wickes Quick Drying Filler to your scraper then work it into the hole or crack to make sure that it fills the hole completely (scrape off any excess as you go). 
3. Allow the filler to dry completely.
4. Sand down the surface with fine grade sandpaper (once you’ve filled all the holes and sanded the filler, sand any areas where the paint is flaking).
5. Brush all surfaces clean of dust and residue from the sanding process.

How to remove wallpaper:

Although you can paint over wallpaper, the best finish is obtained by stripping the paper back either manually or with chemicals to the plaster before re-painting.

Score, Soak and Strip

1. Lightly score the paper, being careful not to damage the underlying plaster.
2. Soak the paper using a sponge and hot water.
3. Leave it to soak for five minutes, then start working your wallpaper stripper into the scores and scrape the paper off the plaster wall behind.

Chemical Stripper

If the wallpaper is not peeling off easily, you can use a chemical wall paper remover. Check manufacturer's instructions for mixing. Allow time for the chemical to soak in following the manufacturer's instructions. Then strip the wallpaper.

Steam Stripper

If you are working on a large area, you could try using a steam stripper:

1. Fill the tank with water, switch it on, and hold the plate against the area of the wallpaper that you’re trying to strip.
2. Once the steam has penetrated the paper, strip the paper using a wall paper stripper and the paper should come off easily (don’t leave it on one area for too long as it can damage the underlying plaster). If any areas are still not stripping easily, re-steam and try again.

Bear in mind that this device uses scalding hot steam, so wear appropriate clothing and take sensible precautions to prevent yourself getting scalded.

With the paper removed, clean the area with sugar soap.

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Watch more helpful DIY videos from Wickes below;

How to Home Maintenance with Wickes:
How to Kitchens with Wickes:
How to Garden and Landscape with Wickes:
How to Tile a Bathroom with Wickes:
How to Paint and Decorate with Wickes:

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In addition to our video, we recommend you read our 'How To Guide - How to create storage space'. Use this guide to find out how to choose and calculate your materials, tools and safety equipment.

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