How to Paint Bad Walls

Updated July 19, 2017

When getting ready to paint a room it is important that you properly prepare your walls by repairing any damage, such as holes, cracks or stains, before you put on a new coat of paint. While preparing damaged walls for paint can be time consuming, it is well worth the effort to achieve a room with a polished appearance. By taking the extra steps to repair bad or damaged walls, you can greatly enhance the appearance of a room.

Remove any peeling or flaking paint by using a paint scraper to scrape the old paint from the wall. Hold scraper at a 45-degree angle to the wall and use firm and even pressure as you push the scraper along the surface. Continue scraping the wall until all flaking paint is removed.

Fill small holes and cracks by placing surfacing compound on a putty knife and then running it over the damaged surface. Allow the compound to dry and then smooth the surface by sanding the compound with a fine-grit paper.

Cut pieces of self-adhesive mesh slightly larger than needed to cover larger holes. You will need two pieces of mesh for each hole you are repairing. Place the first piece of mesh over the hole and run your finger over the edges to adhere them to the wall. Place the second piece of mesh over the first so that it creates a cross over the hole and pat it down into place. Use a putty knife to cover the mesh with surface compound. Allow to dry and then smooth the surface with sandpaper.

Fill a large bucket with warm water and wall-cleaning solution, diluted according to the directions. Use sponges to wash the entire surface of each wall that will be painted. Wear gloves and safety goggles during this step to prevent any injuries from the chemicals in the wall cleaner. Washing the walls will remove any dust, dirt or other grit from the surface of the walls, helping you get as smooth a finish as possible. Allow the walls to dry completely.

Vacuum the room to remove any dust and dirt that could become stuck in the wet primer and paint.

Cover the walls with a primer using paintbrushes or rollers. Primer will conceal any stains and prevent old finishes from bleeding through to your new paint. Allow to dry completely. You are now ready to paint your room.

Things You'll Need

  • Paint scraper
  • Surfacing compound
  • Putty knife
  • Self-adhesive mesh
  • Sandpaper
  • Bucket
  • Sponges
  • Trisodium phosphaste (TSP) or other wall cleaner
  • Rubber gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Vacuum
  • Primer
  • Paintbrush or roller
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About the Author

Jamie Malone has always been passionate about writing and decided to pursue the craft professionally in 2009. She was published in the 2010 and 2011 "O' Cat Literary Magazine." She is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of California State University, San Marcos as a literature and writing major.