When it comes to painting, it’s tempting to jump in and see how that new colour looks on your walls. However, spending a few extra minutes on prep work will help you avoid problems and give you better results. The following are the steps for preparing your walls for painting.


  • Sand rough surfaces. Rough spots on walls need to be sanded before they are painted to ensure the paint goes on smoothly. Use 120 grit silicon-carbide sandpaper. Finish with 220 grit sandpaper.
  • Vacuum surfaces to remove excess dust and debris or use a tack cloth.
  • Wipe the walls with a wet rag/sponge and cleaner to remove stains and oils. Wash with mild soap and water when your walls are visibly dusty, dirty or stained. Wash with TSP (trisodium phosphate) when your walls have a lot of grease or oil stains. Use a bleach and water solution (3 parts water to 1 part bleach) when your walls have mildew or mould (bathroom, basement, any humid space). For smoke stains, use a sealing primer such as Blockout.
  • Remove hardened caulking that has become brittle and pulled away from the trim.
  • Apply caulking to seal the gaps between door/window trim and walls, the spaces between baseboards and the wall and the joints in a frame. Control the flow of caulking by adjusting the trigger pressure and the speed at which you pull the tip along. Smooth the fresh caulk with a wet finger.
  • Fill holes: Use a lightweight spackling compound and a putty knife to fill small holes or cracks. Use wood filler for trim work. Let dry and spot prime prior to painting.
  • Tape the edges of trim, floor, carpet, ceiling and windows with painter’s tape. To stop paint bleed, run a putty knife over the tape, firmly pressing down to form a good seal.
  • Prime if necessary.  If you’re doing a simple color change, you may not need to prime, but for more drastic color changes (say, from a dark color to a light) you may need a specialty primer to help your project along.


It’s worth spending time and care to prep your walls before you paint. You’ll get a much better finish and it will last. Make sure your walls are free from grease, dust, peeling paint and bits of wallpaper. Take the time to sand, wash, caulk, fill, tape and prime. You’ll be happy with the results!


Beginning a painting project? Need help choosing the right colour, paint and tools? Call Calgary’s independent paint and blinds store West Hillhurst Paint + Design at (403) 270-9696 or email at kyle@westhillhurstpaint.com. Our knowledgeable professional design associates provide high-quality paint and stain, a wide selection of blinds, advice for home projects and excellent service. Call for a consultation today!

Product Categories

Product Brand

Product Feature

Product Location

Product Room/Location