Painting is considered to be one of the simplest and most affordable ways to transform a space. And while painting is certainly simple and affordable, it does require some prep work. And the trick is, painting prep can look a bit different depending on the situation. So, let’s first take a look at the different reasons you might need to prep your walls before painting them.

Painting Prep: Is it really necessary?

The short answer? Yes. We would argue that at least some painting prep is necessary no matter the circumstance. But some situations demand more prep than others. Wondering if you need to prep in your specific situation? Here’s how to know:

  • If your walls have previously been painted with a gloss or high gloss paint, you’ll definitely want to do some sanding before painting.
  • If you’re painting a room where you cook or your bathe, we wouldn’t recommend skipping the painting prep step.
  • Your walls are pretty beat up.
  • The walls are visibly dirty.

Why bother with the painting prep?

The primary reason we recommend preparing your walls for paint is so that you’re happy with the overall end result. We know it’s exciting and you’re eager to see some big change, but we promise you won’t regret taking the time and making the extra effort. The effort is fairly minimal considering how big of a difference it can make.

Paint ultimately won’t adhere as nicely to dirty, grimey walls. It’s especially finicky with oils and greases that are often found in kitchens and bathrooms. Scratches, dents and blemishes will peek through even the most thorough paint job.

It’d be a real bummer to put in the effort and investment, though fairly minimal, to be left with a result that’s less than stellar when just a little prep work could have made a big difference.

How to prep old walls for new paint:

  1. Use a fine sandpaper or sanding block to dull any uneven or rough surfaces. You’ll always want to sand if you’re painting over a gloss or high gloss paint so everything goes on smooth. Be sure to wear a mask and protective eyewear.
  2. Wash the walls with sugar soap. If you’re unable to find sugar soap in a store near you, you can create your own mixture by adding 3 tablespoons of a mild laundry detergent to a gallon of water. For especially stubborn grime, add some white vinegar to the solution.
  3. Rinse walls with a damp cloth after washing.
  4. Let the walls dry completely.
  5. Either invest in a high quality primer or select a paint that has a nice primer built in.

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