Do I Need To Clean & Prep the Walls Before Painting? Yes. 3 Reasons Why 🖌️

Do I Need To Clean & Prep the Walls Before Painting? Yes. 3 Reasons Why 🖌️

Many homeowners think painting their homes only requires picking a colour, buying the paint and supplies and slapping it on the walls. What these homeowners don’t realize is that they are missing a very important part of the process that will help them avoid a world of problems later. My team has over 100 years of professional home painting experience collectively, and, believe me…in that time, we’ve seen it all. The #1 question clients and DIYers ask me is: Do I need to clean and prep my walls before you paint? Yes, you do. And here are three of the biggest problems homeowners have when they don’t.


Problem #1: Rocky Road Walls

Sound like a gross ice cream flavour? Lumpy, uneven walls look pretty gross too. There’s nothing better than a fresh coat of paint on a wall to transform a room. But the overall effect is lost if the finish on the walls is patchy and irregular due to a lack of wall preparation. It’s one of the biggest complaints we hear from clients about past DIY or discount paint jobs that weren’t done to their satisfaction. A proper prep job includes repairing holes and scratches, cleaning walls, removing scuff marks, and sanding the walls down. This helps to remove unwanted texture and bumps created by the previous paint job and will result in a smoother finish. The lumpy, bumpy look should only be found on the inside of an ice cream carton, not on your walls. If you’re having a paint job quoted, make sure you ask about what they do to prep walls. If you don’t hear details about cleaning and repairing walls, you’re saving money on the front only to have it cost you later in dissatisfaction.

preparing walls before painting

Problem #2: A Paint Job With Commitment Issues

What am I talking about? A teflon paint job. A paint job that just doesn’t stand the test of time. There are a few important reasons why this happens.

Most paint product labels include a dry time and a cure time. The intent of those parameters is to ensure the paint sticks to the wall and doesn’t peel off…EVER. Your walls are obviously not made of teflon, but they may as well be if you don’t prepare a wall properly and follow the dry and cure guidelines. Normal wear and tear in a home results in marks, grease and dirt on the walls. Most paint products are made to adhere to previous paint but not to dirt and grease. For this reason, a proper cleaning is critical for a long lasting finish.

When walls are prepped and the paint is dried and cured properly, it has several benefits:

  • It increases the paint’s durability, especially when cleaning.
  • It’s more resilient by preventing the normal wear-and-tear from adhering. 
  • It improves the colour consistency for a longer time.



The biggest reward for taking the time to properly prepare your walls is a smooth finish that looks flawless and lasts. Let’s face it, after you put in the time and money to paint, you don’t want to have to do it again in a short time. If you’re having professionals quote on painting your home, make sure you ask about what they do to prepare walls and ensure that it is included in writing in your quote.