Learn How To Prepare For Painting

Learn How To Prepare For Painting

A great finish depends on how well you prepare the room.

Give yourself a head start by spending the time to prepare the surfaces. Remember that a quality finish also depends on the tools you use, Use quality products to avoid hours of work and frustration.

Hardware and General Paint centres specialise in many different brand of paint and our specialist team will help you choose which brand of paint is right for your project and how much paint you will need. Today we are working with Dulux interior paints.

Dulux, Taubmans, Wattyl, Berger,  Zinsser, Finesse, Pristine, Colourtrend, Norglass, Murabond, Cabot’s, Intergrain, Sikkens, Porters, Jet-Dry, Miss-tints, Selleys, Fuller, Rota-cota, Unipro, Diggers, 3M, Nortons, Sandpaper, Wagner, Inspirations Paint.

In this article

Materials List

How to prepare a room for painting

How to clean up excess paint

Your helpful links

Preparation Materials List

Before starting, get the basics sorted with:

  • the recommended paint roller sleeve
  • matching roller frame
  • matching paint tray and tray liners
  • synthetic paint brush 60mm
  • synthetic paint edger 38mm
  • drop cloths
  • quality masking tape
  • flat paddle for mixing paints
  • filler and filling knife
  • sand paper

How to prepare a room for painting

Apply maksing tape to give a crisp paint border


Clear out your room to make space for you to work easily.

Remove blinds, curtains, mirrors, pictures, remove lightweight furniture out, cover remaining furniture, remove as much as you can and cover the rest.

Remove any cobwebs and dust from windows sills and architraves above doors and windows. Tape up door handles lights, power-points and switches to ensure paint does not  splatter onto the surfaces.

How to prepare interior surfaces

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success”
– Alexander Graham Bell

Paint is not usually forgiving of lumps and bumps in surfaces and often highlights imperfections in surfaces so the time you spend in preparing will be your reward in the end.

When preparing your room for repainting look for these issues;


No matter the season, mould is not a good look.

Remove it from your walls and ceilings with Selleys Rapid Mould Killer by scrubbing the wall with bleach solution (1 part household bleach with 3 parts water). Ensure your eyes, skin and clothing are well protected then apply the solution to the mould with a thick scouring pad. Leave the solution on the wall for 15 minutes then wash with water. Prime the surface with Dulux PRECISION Stain & Mould Blocker. Follow with Dulux Wash&Wear +Plus Kitchen & Bathroom which offers a 10 year guarantee against mould growth. Improved ventilation will assist with the prevention of future mould growth.

Previously painted or varnished surfaces

The preparation required for previously painted surfaces is determined by the condition of the previous coating. If the surface is intact and in good condition, it can generally be painted with only a little preparation.

Low sheen or matt surfaces in good condition can be painted over after they have been cleaned with Selleys Original Sugar Soap to remove any dirt, grease or grime that may affect adhesion.

Glossy surfaces need to be cleaned with Selleys Original Sugar Soap and then sanded to a dull finish with a medium grit (P80) sandpaper. There’s no need to sand back to bare timber, just enough to rough-up the surface so the next coat of paint will have something to grab onto.

Next, prime the surface with one coat of Dulux 1-Step Prep or two coats of Dulux PRECISION Maximum Strength Adhesion Primer. Your surface is now ready to be painted.

Removing wallpaper

When removing wallpaper, some people choose a remover solution such as Selleys Wallpaper Peel/Stripper, while others choose to hire a steaming machine. Most vinyl wall coverings can be peeled off by hand when dry. They may leave a backing paper residue, simply sponge on a little warm water to soften it. You can then peel or scrape it off with a broad-bladed scraper.

Dealing with some uncooperative wallpaper? Try scratching it with very coarse sandpaper to help the steam or remover solution get through.

Water stains

Before you cover that water stain you need to know where it came from and fix the source. Once the leak is contained, do an adhesion test to check the integrity of the existing paint. If the paint is sound, clean the surface then apply Dulux 1 Step Oil Based Primer Sealer & Undercoat before applying your topcoat.

Filling and patching

Every wall has a story through its cracks, scratches and holes. Before you turn over a new page with a fresh coat of paint, you’ll need to fill them in.

For interior wood, there are a number of fillers you can like Selleys Plastic Wood and Selleys No More Cracks™ Interior Wood Filler.

Before you begin, make sure the area to be filled is clean. Apply the filler with a spatula or putty knife. Flexible filler like Selleys No More Gaps Multipurpose Gap Filler is recommended for places like the joins between architraves and walls, where movement is likely to occur.

Filling holes in plasterboard or hard plaster is easy. Simply scrape away any loose paint and plaster, and fill the hole using Selleys Spakfilla Rapid. If the edges of the hole are cracked and unstable, a self-adhesive patch will make the job easier. Larger plasterboard holes will need a patch inserted. To do this, cut away the damaged section and use contact adhesive to put in wood or plasterboard backing strips, before fixing the patch onto the strips.

TIP: A quick wipe with a damp sponge before the filler sets will smooth out small ridges and save on sanding time later.

Bare plasterboard

Before painting your new plasterboard it’s important to get the base right.

Remove all dust from the surface by wiping it down with a damp cloth. Once dry, prime the surface with Dulux 1 Step Acrylic Primer Sealer Undercoat to provide a sealed and stable base for your top coat.

Bare set plaster

Remove all dust from the surface by wiping it down with a damp cloth, once dry, seal the plaster with Dulux Sealer Binder.

New timber

For woodwork, sand with a medium grade sandpaper in the direction of the grain and then prime with one coat of Dulux 1 Step Acrylic Primer Sealer Undercoat. This prevents tannin staining and provides excellent adhesion for the paint.

Covering dark or bright colours

To cover dark colours with a minimum of fuss, undercoats can provide better hiding power than applying extra coats of the final finish. Apply one coat of Dulux 1 Step Primer Sealer Undercoat to cover dark colours. If you are painting with some light colours, a tinted undercoat will also improve the covering power. The requirement for a tinted undercoat will be identified when tinting the topcoat. Dulux Wash&Wear +Plus Super Hide provides superior hiding power due to concentrated levels of titanium pigment, it is ideal for covering darker walls in as few coats as possible.

A final check

Whatever preparation regime you use, it’s critical that prior to painting, the surface is clean and free from any oils, grease or dust. Brush or vacuum the surface to remove any dust and then clean the walls with Selleys Original Sugar Soap, rinse and allow drying before painting.

Masking tape for preparation

Masking before you paint makes the job faster and cleaner. Push the edges of the tape down firmly to ensure straight edges.

Ensure the masking tape is removed at a 45° angle before the paint dries completely. If the paint is too dry, the masking tape can rip the paint film when it is removed. If the paint dries before the tape is removed, using a sharp blade, score the edge of the tape before removing so that it doesn’t pull paint away from the wall.

Clear out the room

Start with a blank canvas.

Before painting, clear the space. Take down any curtains, mirrors and pictures. Move lightweight furniture out of the room and cover larger items with plastic sheets or drop cloths and tape plastic around pendant light fittings. If you’re painting outside, it’s handy to tie back surrounding plants so you have clear access to the areas you want to paint.

As for fixtures and fittings, always remove as many as you can before painting. Carefully scrape old paint out of screw slots before you try to unscrew them.

Clean walls before painting

Thoroughly washing walls with Selleys Original Sugar Soap will remove grease and dirt, providing a clean surface that ensures the best possible performance from your finish coats

For details on how to paint a room read our next blog.  “Learn How To Paint A Room” detailed blog provided by Dulux Paints.


How to clean up paint


Clean up paints as soon as you have finished

If you are planning to continue your painting project the next day, just keep the paint, brush and/or roller in the paint tray and cover with foil or cling wrap. The next morning, run the brush or roller over a newspaper a few times and it will be ready to use.

After the job is completed wash the rollers and brushes and paint tray with water for water-based paints or mineral turps for solvent-based paints.

TIP: Do not use a spinning tool to clean brushes, as this will make your brush flare.

Wrap the clean brushes and rollers with newspaper and secure with a rubber band. Store the brushes flat or hang them on hooks.

Excess paint can be stored in the can.

Disposing of unwanted paint

Use paint hardener to dry up liquid paint

Never dispose of unwanted paint by pouring it down household or storm water drains.

Water-based paints can be treated with Dulux Envirosolutions® Waste Paint Hardener. This product turns the liquid paint into a solid mass, which can then be disposed of responsibly.

Unwanted solvent-based paints can be disposed of by pouring the excess onto an absorbent material such as kitty litter, cardboard or shredded paper. Allow to dry before disposing. The can, once emptied, can be placed in household recycling bins.

Disposing of large quantities of paint

For the disposal of larger quantities of paint, contact your local council.
Paintback® is an industry initiative to divert architectural and decorative waste paint from landfill by depositing unwanted paint to the local collection points. The scheme enables the collection and treatment of waste paint and waste packaging through participating sites around Australia. For more information on responsible paint disposal, visit www.paintback.com.au.

Materials List – Whole Project

Preparation Checklist

  • Sugar Soap
  • Bucket
  • Sponge & old toothbrush for scrubbing
  • Mould Killer
  • Bleach
  • Displosable Gloves
  • Drop Sheet
  • Extension pole
  • Sand paper & sanding block
  • Putty filler
  • Spatula
  • Ladder
  • Plastic cover sheets
  • Paint masking tape

Tools & Accessories Checklist

  • Ladder
  • Large roller tray
  • Roller covers to fit tray
  • Extension pole (same as used for cleaning & sanding)
  • Cutting edge brush
  • Cornice brush
  • Brush for trims – narrow width
  • Plastic edge guard
  • Paint bucket to decant paint into
  • Bag of rags (catch any drips, clean hands, clean up)
  • Cling film to protect brushes between coats

Paint Checklist

For Ceiling

  • Ceiling undercoat
  • Ceiling Top coat – flat

For Walls

  • Sealer primer for raw plasterboard
  • Undercoat (tinted & non tinted depending on your colours)
  • Top wall coat – low sheen

For Trims

  • Undercoat (if different to walls – check with a H&G Paint Specialist)
  • Enamel Trim Paint

Clean-Up Checklist

  • Turpentine (if using oil based paint)
  • Water bucket
  • Roller Cover spinner
  • Paint Hardener
  •  visit www.paintback.com.au

Your Links

Remember to share  a photo
of your before & after project