Prepare to paint

You can use the best paint you like, but if it’s applied to a surface that hasn’t been sanded, filled, gapped and dusted off, it’s going to look unprofessional.

Professional painters who guarantee and take pride in their work will always prepare surfaces prior to painting, and then they will paint using not only quality paints but also quality brushes and rollers. If you want to get that successful, professional finish for yourself, and yes, it is possible, just follow these handy painting tips gained from years “on the tools.”

Preparing to paint


If your walls appear dirty, feel oily or greasy, then you will need to wash them down with sugar soap. Make sure you rinse them with clean water to remove any soapy residue. Then rub the surfaces with sandpaper (usually 120 grit fine grade) to make them nice and smooth.


You may need to fill imperfections with a suitable filler, and then after the filler is dry, sand and undercoat these areas. The undercoat is to seal over them to stop them from being extremely porous when top-coating. This prevents noticeable “flat” patches on your walls or surfaces where filler was applied.


Apply a caulking compound (like MONARCH MINI Gap Filler) to areas where surfaces meet if there is a “gap”, i.e. where walls meet doorframes etc. Standard fillers that you use to repair holes or dents in the middle of walls have no flexibility, and if used in these areas would simply fall out over time.

After applying MONARCH MINI Gap Filler, smooth it over using the MONARCH caulking tool, and then wipe it over with a damp cloth to make the caulking solution smooth.

paint preparation

Using drop sheets

Quality drop sheets protect your surfaces when painting, there are different types so be sure to check out available options before you start.

Make sure you buy ones that won’t allow the paint to soak through them onto your cherished furnishings – fabric drop sheets with plastic or rubber backing on them have two key benefits.

  1. They provide secondary protection from paint spills due to the extra backing which virtually guarantees no paint will soak through them.
  2. They provide good grip when placed on timber floors, which will eliminate any risk of slipping, sliding or falling whilst painting.

Use quality masking tape

If you want to avoid getting paint onto surfaces you don’t want to paint, use quality masking tapes to “mask off” these areas. Quality masking tape ensures paint won’t penetrate through to your protected surface, will give a straight, crisp line when removed wand won’t peel away from already applied surfaces.

When you have finished painting, peel the masking tape off while the paint is still “wet” to avoid getting a dry film between the two surfaces.

Water or oil-based paint

Most of the technology these days is all about making water-based paints better and more durable, and the world is slowly phasing out oil-based paints due to the harm they can cause the environment.

WATER-BASED are always best for ceilings, walls, weatherboards and even woodwork, like doors, door frames, windows and skirting boards. The technology on water-based enamels is fantastic, and these products often have the hard-wearing benefits of traditional oil-based paints, with the added convenience of being quicker drying, having less odour, and being able to apply two coats in one day.

OIL-BASED paints (prefered by traditional builders and painters) may be required in some situations such as on doors, windows and trims as they believe it is the toughest, hardest wearing product of all. In exterior situations, it is very well known now that water-based paints are much better because they can expand and contract in the harsh hot and cold weather extremes we experience in Australia.

prepare to paint

Stirring the paint

Use a broad, flat stick to stir the paint, as this will ensure the tint in the paint is dispersed properly so your colour will be accurate and consistent. When stirring the paint, make sure you use an up and down “scooping action” to ensure you are stirring the paint right through from the bottom to the top of the can. Do NOT try to stir the paint with a screwdriver or skinny stick.

If you have poured your paint into a roller tray and small paint pot, and you paint for a while and then need more paint, stir the paint again before you add more to your tray and paint pot.

Before you start the job

grab all you need with our detailed equipment checklist.

Download here