We’ve previously written a brief guide on preparing walls, but here we go into a little more detail on how to smooth the surface by applying filler and sanding walls to help you get that genuine pro-standard finish…
The main thing that separates the average amateur DIYer from the professional decorator is the attention to detail during the essential preparation stage. When it comes to painting or wallpapering a wall, every extra hour spent ensuring that the surface is as perfect as you can make it will increase your overall sense of satisfaction upon completion.
Washing the walls
The first step is to wash away some of the grime and paste left from previous wallpaper by sponging down with a sugar soap solution. This is a good idea even if the walls haven’t been papered before, because any wall in a living space will attract dust and grease over time, so don’t be tempted to skip this step!
Filling in the blemishes
If money is no object it’s always worth having the walls skimmed by a master plasterer before painting or decorating your walls, but this is an expensive solution and unnecessary if your current plaster is in reasonable condition. Fortunately, there are products on the market that make filling smaller to medium holes relatively easy for the layman.
Gyproc Easi-Filler is easy to mix and use, dries quickly and sands down with the lightest of touches, making it ideal for the kind of blemishes you’re likely to find on your walls. It doesn’t shrink and sticks to most dust-free surfaces, but it has a tendency to dry out quite quickly so work fast! Oh, and wear a dust mask during the mixing stage because it’s a very fine powder.
Apply it with a plastering trowel for larger areas or a smaller decorator’s knives/wallpaper scraper for smaller holes. It’s dry to the touch within the hour on smaller areas, but large holes will need to be left overnight.
There are plenty of fillers on the market though, so do have a look in your DIY store to see what’s on offer!
Sanding walls down
This is a satisfying job that will transform a tired old wall if you follow our advice and this is an essential step if you’ve had to fill holes in the plaster:
- It’s important to wear a quality dust mask for this job – please don’t forget this!
- The grade of sandpaper you require will depend on the state of your walls, but a general starting point of 70-grade will quickly remove the worst of the debris from your walls
- Use a sanding block to ensure a flat sand, and work in a circular motion as you move across the surface
- After your first fill and sand, check the walls again and fill any spots you missed
- Repeat the sanding process but with 120-grade paper
- Go over the entire wall, as a quick sand will help create a key for paint of paste
- Once you’re happy that the walls are smooth you can wash them down again
If your wall’s very big, it might be worth using a quality brushless random orbital sander to make this job easier. Make sure that it has the option to plug into a vacuum cleaner unless you want to make a lot of mess!
Follow this simple guide to filling and sanding walls and yours will soon be in perfect condition for your wallpaper or paint – but if you’re unsure or uncomfortable with the process and live in the Leeds or Harrogate area, you can always drop us a line and ask for a quote to do it for you.