Sanding & Smoothing Walls for Painting

 In Blog, Interior Painting, Painting Tips

Take this quick test:

Run your hand along the nearest wall to you, and look sideways down it. Can you see little nubs, blemishes, or hairs? If you can, it’s a good bet that the wall wasn’t sanded before it was painted.

The question we often hear from our customers is: How do professionals like New Approach Painting achieve such incredibly smooth and uniform surfaces on walls?

We have the answer.

How to get a smooth and uniform surface on your wall

Although it looks like hard work, sanding a wall is actually a quick and easy process — at a nice, slow, and steady pace, it’ll only take you about 15 minutes to sand the walls of a room before painting.

Here are our tips to give your walls that professional smoothness:

1. Choose the right tools.

  • A painter’s pole (or broom handle with threaded end). Tip: solid wood stands up to pressure better than hollow metal pole.
  • A pole-mounted half-sheet sanding pad ($20 or less at your local paint store) and the best quality sandpaper available, in the correct grit (220 is appropriate for most tasks).

2. Let the tools do the work for you.

  • Stand back from the wall, at a comfortable distance, and with light pressure, move the sander back and forth across the wall in wide arcs, leading with one corner of the pad and then the other.

Tip: Apply enough pressure that the whole face of the sanding pad is in contact with the wall at all times, but not so much that the pad stutters or flips (which can mark or scratch the wall, requiring additional spackling preparation). You should hear an even, uniform ‘ssssshhhh’ sound as the paper glides across the flat portions of the wall and evens out surface imperfections.

3. Clean up after yourself.

  • Wet a painter’s rag, or other cloth, and wring it out well. Then mount it over your sanding pad (if your technique is good, you may not have to clamp it on) and repeat your wide arcs to wipe off sanding dust and residue. If you skip this step, the sanding dust on the wall may cause micro-bubbling or uneven drying of your topcoat! Then take a hand-vacuum and vacuum up the dust that has fallen down the wall and is resting on the tops of the baseboard.

Tip: Here’s an optional step that you can take to getting the absolutely perfect finish. After the first coat of paint is applied and dried, carefully and lightly sand the walls once more with 400 grit sandpaper just to scuff the surface and get any missed imperfections. Then clean any debris if necessary and apply one more coat of paint.  

Congratulations! Now that your walls have been sanded and smoothed using the New Approach Method, you are one step closer to achieving that professional looking paint job!

For more helpful tips, or to schedule your next painting project, contact New Approach Painting.

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