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How to prep your walls | Masking hero image | Tikkurila UK

The more time you spend prepping your walls for painting, the smoother the finish you will end up with. This includes cleaning, sanding and priming your walls and can be a lengthy process – but trust us, it will be worth it!

Continue treading to follow our guide on how to prep like a pro, with unique tips depending on the surface condition of your walls prior to painting.

Top tip: Make sure to move as much furniture out of the room before getting started, or alternatively move everything to the middle of the room and cover with a protective sheet.

How to prep your walls | Painting products | Tikkurila UK

Assess your surface

Freshly plastered, previously painted or wallpapered? Preparation can vary depending on what you are dealing with.

A freshly plastered wall is the easiest to paint, as there are no visible blemishes or cracks. Steps like sanding and filling won’t be necessary. You will need a coat of primer before the topcoat for an opaque, vibrant colour. Do not skip this step, as the plaster will soak up the paint and more coats will be necessary.

Previously painted wall? Here’s where a sanding block and filler will come in handy. For a smooth and seamless finish, use a filler to fill any cracks in the wall and tackle any peeling paint with a sanding block as seen in our video.

Previously wallpapered wall is the most time-consuming to prepare, as we advise not to paint on top of wallpaper. Remove the wallpaper before applying your topcoat with a stripping knife and be careful not to damage the plaster underneath. For any tricky patches of wallpaper that are hard to remove, use a damp sponge on the area to soften it and sand away any remaining pieces.


Select the right primer for the job

Whether the surface is freshly plastered and porous or stained and in need of good coverage, a primer will help you achieve a clean and smooth base for your paint. Optiva Primer is our go-to product when it comes to painting interior walls and ceilings. For priming kitchen or bathroom, we recommend our Luja Universal Primer. It is perfect for treating humid areas before painting, providing a moisture-blocking film, suitable for repeated scrubbing.


Get set up

Once you have all your tools ready, it’s time to set up your working area. Move all your furniture out of the room or move it to the centre making sure all is covered with a protective sheet. We also recommend covering your floors to protect the surface from dirt, dust and splashes.


How to prep your walls | Masking | Tikkurila UK

How to prepare your walls for painting

How to prep your walls | Cleaning | Tikkurila UK


Use a sponge and our Maalipesu cleaning agent to remove any dirt and mildew from the surface. This is especially important in humid areas like kitchens and bathrooms. Top tip: never paint over mildew! It will eventually grow through your topcoat. Next, clean the walls with water and leave them to dry thoroughly. Do not rush the drying time - your surface will blister if you apply your primer or paint to a damp surface.

How to prep your walls | Filling | Tikkurila UK


Sanding ensures a smooth base for your topcoat. Use a sanding block to remove any wall blemishes, bumps and flakes. Do not skip this step if you are working with a previously painted or wallpapered wall - layering paint on top of a flaky surface never looks good. Use a damp sponge or cloth to remove any dust.


Cracks and holes in the wall? No problem. Just use our Hole-in-one to fill them. Next, gently sand down the surface for a smooth finish. Once again, remove any dust with a damp cloth and leave to dry.

How to prep your walls | Masking | Tikkurila UK


Now onto masking. Use masking tape along the wall's edges and skirting boards for a sharp, straight line. Apply the tape firmly, and if needed, use a putty knife to seal it. Not putting enough pressure can cause the paint to get underneath the tape.

How to prep your walls | Priming | Tikkurila UK


Finally, apply one coat of your primer. Remember to tint your primer to the same or similar colour as your topcoat, especially if you have chosen a bold shade or you are working on a freshly plastered wall. Start painting along the edges with a paintbrush, and apply an even coat to the remaining area by using a roller. Leave to dry for 2 hours before applying your topcoat and keep the room well-ventilated.

Colour used


Next step - painting!

Want to paint your walls but don't know where to start? Not to worry, we've got you covered. Whether you’re an expert or totally new to this DIY thing, we'll show you how to paint a wall in our quick guided video, full of tips and advice, for a seamless finish. Watch our handy guide to painting interior walls here.

How to prep your walls | Pouring paint | Tikkurila UK
How to prep your walls | Removing masking tape | Tikkurila UK
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Use this calculator to work out your requirements, if you have any question please get in touch with one of our team who will be more than willing to help you.

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Disclaimer: Tikkurila UK Paint Calculator is provided as a guide only. The coverage rates will vary depending on surface being coated and the particular product range being used. More information on these products can be found on the cans, on the technical data sheets on individual product pages, by using our live chat service or by calling our technical team on 0131 334 4999.

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the estimate, however paint requirements may vary depending on the surface, type of paint, sheen level and colour chosen.