If you have grown tired of your home's old, dirty walls, you may decide that a fresh coat of paint would liven them and your room up. Before you start applying the first coat of paint, however, use the following tips to prepare your walls so they will have a better finish when the job is done.
Test the Walls for Old Water- or Oil-Based Paint
If your walls were painted before you moved into your house, you may not know whether or not the paint is water-based. If the paint has a shiny finish, this glossiness may make it more difficult to determine if the paint is actually oil-based.
If the paint is oil-based, more prep work will be needed before you can apply flat, water-based paint. If you try to paint the oily paint with a flat paint, the latter would not adhere very well, leading to peeling and chipping within a short period of time.
To determine which type of paint is currently on your walls, pour an ample amount of alcohol on a clean, white cloth, using enough to saturate it. Then, wipe the wall with the cloth. If color bleeds off onto the fabric, the paint is water-based.
However, if no color bleeds when the alcohol is rubbed on it, you are dealing with oil-based paint. Before you can paint with a water-based paint, the walls will either have to be sanded or stripped, which is a labor-heavy job you may want to save for a professional painter.
Wash the Walls Before Painting
If your walls currently have water-based paint and you are ready to proceed with the task, you should first wash them before you start painting. Since the walls have collected dust, grime, and grease over the years, there is a residual film of dirt on them. If you do not clean the walls first, the paint may not fully adhere to them, leading to flaking.
When washing your walls, use a small amount of dish detergent in a bucket of water. To make the job easier, use a thick sleeve for your paint roller to wipe down the walls. Then, use a second one doused in plain water to rinse them.
Using the above tips to prepare your walls before painting can help ensure a long-lasting, smooth finish. However, if you find problems with your walls or feel the job is too much for you to undertake yourself, contact a company that offers professional painting services to discuss having them do the job for you.