5 Tips on How to Prepare Painting a Wall


    Anyone can paint a wall, right? Probably yes, but does the result afterward also correspond to the expectations? The best color, the best tools, and the greatest zeal will not lead to success if the preparation is not right. Therefore, before painting a wall, a few steps and checks are necessary to achieve a perfect and lasting result. In our article, we solve the last riddles about wall painting with tips and hints so that the work will soon be a child’s play!


    The first tip before painting a wall deals with the load-bearing surface – the DIY enthusiast’s dearest friend. After all, the subsurface has to be stable for so many activities. So what’s this all about? The determination of the subsurface is such a small detail that it is often ignored in tips and advice before painting the wall!

    With the “finger test,” it is straightforward to determine whether the surface is roughly stable: for example, chalk paint stains. If you want to paint over this type of wall paint, the pigments of the old paint will dissolve, and painting with emulsion paint would make no sense. If this is the case, the only thing that helps is removing the old wall paint or using it again, for example, chalk paint. Normal wall paints, undercoats, or lacquer paints do not rub off when you wipe them with your finger.

    But even lacquer colors cannot be painted over without any problems, as they do not give the new color any adhesion. However, it is sufficient to roughen the paint coat by briefly sanding it with a sanding pad so that the surface becomes stable.

    The situation is completely different with plasterboard or chipboard and various types of stone. If a color is to be applied here, the surface must first be primed. This is due to the extremely high suction power of these materials. Otherwise, the color pigments would be swallowed by the surface.

    If the surface is stable – in most cases, a bit rough – it is possible to paint the wall with almost any color, no matter whether wall paint or lacquer.


    If the substrate is not stable, it won’t be easy, and the old paint will probably have to go down. But what is the best way to remove old paint? Below are a few examples that show different options depending on the substrate:

    Chalk paints that leave a white film on the hand can be removed with a spatula if they are thick. Common practice, however, is “washing up”, for example with a paste brush. This process inevitably ends in a huge mess, but there is no alternative to this type of underground.

    As a rule, paint colors do not have to be removed – unless the layers are already too thick or there are cracks and chipped areas in the paint. Special paint strippers have proven to be just as effective here as a hot air gun, which literally burns down the layers of paint.

    Real latex paints – usually shiny like a greasy film and a little yellowed over time – can hardly be painted over and should be loosened and removed with hot steam (wallpaper stripper) before painting.


    Nothing speaks against painting wallpaper with wall paint. It does not matter whether simple, smooth wallpaper or woodchip wallpaper is to be painted over, as long as these are glued butt joint, as is usual with woodchip. Overlapping wallpapers do not make a nice sight when painted.

    What is essential, however, is perfect adhesion and strength to the wall. If the wallpaper no longer sticks neatly in all places, if there are air holes or if the seams are slightly open, it is essential to touch up with commercially available wallpaper adhesive before painting the wall.

    Note: Don’t panic if, despite tips, the wallpaper lifts in some places shortly after painting the wall or bubbles! These usually contract again as they dry and disappear.

    TIP 4: BUY ENOUGH COLORDetermine color requirement

    The consumption of paint when painting walls varies widely and basically cannot be quantified across the board. The exact information is always on the respective product but is to be understood as a guide. The consumption depends on many factors, such as the opacity of the paint and the absorbency of the surface. A guideline, however, is 150-200 ml / m².

    The color requirement can be determined very easily: the height times the width of each wall is calculated, then the floor area of ​​the ceiling is added. If a 2.70 m high room with a base area of ​​3 x 4 m is to be painted, the surface of the wall is 37.8 m², plus the ceiling with 12 m². The calculation for this is very simple:

    • Wall areas: (3 + 3 + 4 + 4) * 2.70 = 37.8
    • Ceiling area: (3 x 4) = 12.0

    In total, almost 50 m² have to be painted. If you only want to paint the wall once and, according to the manufacturer, 180 ml / m² of paint is required, this results in 9 liters of paint (50 m² x 180 ml / m²).

    Doors can be removed if necessary. In the case of windows, however, the lintel must also be painted so that it is not necessary to peel off their surfaces. To ensure that there’s enough color available in the end, it is best to add a flat rate of 5% of color.

    For particularly rough surfaces, it is advisable to include an addition of 10-15%, as the manufacturer’s information only applies to smooth surfaces.

    TIP 5: MASKING AND COVERINGMask off the socket

    Door frames, windows, sockets, light switches, and lamps should only be painted in very few cases. Therefore, all of these surfaces must be carefully masked with painter’s tape. Painting walls is even easier if the covers from light switches and socket outlets are completely removed before starting work. But be careful: never stroke (roll) overexposed sockets! Because color also conducts electricity. In addition, color has basically no place inside sockets and switches.

    In order to protect the floors from the wall paint, they are prepared with foil, paper, or tarpaulin. When painting the wall itself, special care is then no longer required, and working with the paint is much faster by hand.

    Even if this work is sometimes found to be very time-consuming and laborious before the actual work, you save yourself the even more laborious removal of wall paint afterward in all those places that should not have been painted. So it pays off to invest this time before painting!

    It is definitely worth paying attention to tips and hints when painting the wall because the time saved through lost trouble is often enormous!


    Finally, a few additional little tips :

    • Wall paint has no place in sockets.
    • Always remove coarse and loose dirt: Even a small spider web is more stubborn than you might think when painting.
    • Apply a brush to the corners and edges.
    • Slightly moisten new ink rollers.
    • Provide good ventilation.

    After the preparations for painting, such as taping and covering sockets, switches, door frames, floors, and cupboards, checking the load-bearing capacity of the walls, removing old paint or touching up peeled wallpaper, have been completed, everything can be done to your heart’s content can be brushed and painted. The floor stays clean, and the walls become colorful. If you pay attention to the tips when painting the wall, nothing stands in the way of a perfect result. Good luck!

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