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How to Prepare Walls for Painting (page 1 of 3)

The key to a successful paint job is in the prep. Learn how to remove wallpaper, strip wood and patch walls to get them ready for a new coat of paint.

Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

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To achieve the best possible finish, all surfaces must be adequately prepared before they are decorated. This section shows you how to get the best results on large areas such as walls and ceilings, as well as techniques for treating wooden surfaces such as doors and smaller areas of exposed decorative woodwork.

Materials and Tools

Shave Hook (Image 1)
Strips paint from a wooden surface, whether flat or ornate.

Wire Brush (Image 2)
Used to remove debris and clean off flaky surfaces, such as a metal pipe.

Wallpaper Scorer (Image 3)
Perforates paper to let steam or water through. Essential for removing vinyl (waterproof) papers.

Heat Gun (Image 4)
Blisters paint and makes it easy to remove from a wooden surface. Must be used with caution.

Steam Wallpaper Stripper (Image 5)
Electrically operated. Steam flows from a hot-water reservoir to a stripping pad and bubbles the paper, easing its removal. (Place pad against wall to steam paper.)

Sandpaper (Image 1)
Paper with a rough face that smoothes surfaces. Grades vary from the fine to the very rough.

Sanding Block (Image 2)
Easy to grip, with a sanding surface on one or more sides. You can make your own by folding sandpaper around a squared-off block of wood.

Steel Wool (Image 3)
Cleans down metal surfaces and is used to apply wax. Comes in various grades of coarseness.

Ready-mixed fillers are the most popular choice for DIY work. Powder filler is mixed with water into a stiff, creamy paste and used to fill holes in wood, plaster, and masonry surfaces. Once dry, you can sand it to a smooth finish and decorate. Most fillers designed for use with natural wood finishes are ready-mixed; other types accept the color of stains or dyes. The other main type of filler is caulk, which is used along cracks in ceilings, walls, and woodwork.

White-tinted shellac
Applied to knots in wood before primer or further coats of paint, to prevent sap from weeping from the knot.

Powdered soap mixed with water and used to clean down surfaces before they are rinsed. Allow surfaces to dry before decoration.

Spray-on stain block
Blocks out stains that show through normal coats of paint. Can also be bought as a "paint" in cans. May be water-based or solvent-based; water-based versions dry faster.

Mineral spirits
Solvent used for most oil-based paints.

Brush cleaner
Restores brushes.

Hand cleaner
For easy removal of paint, grime and grease.

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Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009