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Clarification of order of preparation

Hi all,

After many hours/days/weeks research on the forum and tips I’ve found a few methods of prepping walls for emulsion.

  1. Sand - fill - sand - prime - paint
  2. Sand - prime - fill - sand - paint


  1. Sand - fill - sand - spot prime - prime whole wall - paint

If it makes a difference I’ll be using using LG intel Matt emulsion and I’m not scared of grafting. Which method would you recommend to get the very best finish???

Thanks in advance,


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It depends on what’s already on the walls Dave. Are they new plaster or previously painted and how good are they? The reason you find so many different methods is probably because there are so many variables.

New plaster - don’t sand it. Give it a wipe down with a slightly damp (not wet) cloth and then mist coat or prime. Once you have the first coat you will be able to see dents and blemishes more easily so sand them and fill, spot prime where you fill. Then top coats.

If it’s previously painted go ahead and sand the walls. Personally I would then get a coat of something on them to highlight areas that need to be tidied up before you spot prime and then top coat.

Really what you need to do is consider the condition of the walls and work out the most efficient way to deal with them. i.e. minimum waste of paint and time.

Good point, I like the idea of a coat to see what the problems are then make good…

Generally the walls I have to paint in the future are previously painted, brush marks everywhere, well adhered - not flaky.

Thanks for the advice and sorry for the late reply, phone problems…


Good advice, all I would add, make sure you have 2 coats over any filler.

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Novice question here, so apologies if it sounds bonkers.
As light makes a massive difference to how textured a surface looks, do any of you work with an oblique light on purpose, to effectively throw the harshest of shadows onto your work, to highlight any suspect areas, or do you just rely in your expert eye and years of experience ?
Not that I’m at that level yet of course.

Working on site with no lighting, halogens are commonplace, especially in winter with short daylight days. They are brutal for showing defects. if you take them into private homes where you want a really good shot at finding all the defects in a wall, it is absolutely a good idea to have the halogens blaring too.

Some of the kitchen painters do carry a light for final inspections after filling or before final coats.

Not a bad idea to maybe run a halogen over the walls at the start of a wall painting job, to see if there is anything wrong with the walls that may show up that one day a year when the sun is shining at a certain angle.

Came across this recently, a beautifully prepped and lined and painted wall, apparently you could see ripples in plasterwork or studding at a certain hour on a certain day of the year. It all felt smooth and was ding free, nothing more a decorator could have done with the wall, but letting the client know that the wall was badly built from the kick-off may have managed expectations.

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I think I might have to invest in some Halogen lights then, will definitely help with the current awkward small bathroom job, thanks Andy.

the upright tube lights are good as I find them more robust than the halogens and the light projected is not as harsh, so its easier to work with
Brewers supply, also screwfix

You can’t beat sweating under a couple of 800W halogens though :slight_smile:

Was looking today at some military headamps,thought they would come in useful.