Tag Archives: fixer upper

How to Prep Older Walls

If your dream house has character and charm it is most likely moe than five years old. And it is most likely full of not so charming problems. While every episode of Property Brothers goes over the internal problems that need professional attention there are plenty of cosmetic ones that add days to your prep work.

Yes, days.

I recently painted my room after a long lead up and I was excited to get into it but once I moved all the furniture out and took down the wallpaper I realized the walls were in terrible shape. So began nearly 72 hours of wall prep.

1. Wash the walls. You’ll be amazed at the grime and glue that will come up. Don’t use too much water, this is more like an exfoliation. The sponge will snag on uneven surfaces, clumps of dust won’t get in your paint, and you’ll get an idea where you need to spackle.

2. Sand down bumpy areas and scrape places the wallboard is peeling. You want to be very careful not to punch a hole in the board, the goal is just to stop the peeling. 

3. Spackle every hole and even out dips around bolts (these often settle and jutt out through the paint). You may need to even the areas you sanded as well depending on how bad your peeling was. 

4. Wash your walls again so your paint adheres well.

5. Keep these materials handy while you paint – you’ll probably find more holes and rough patches (particularly if you’ve ever had the room wallpapered).

These steps are a pain but once the paint goes up it will look much better. If the walls have serious problems (like holes) a painter or handyman can usually fix these for you. You can also cover some damage by choosing a light color in a matte that will hide damage. High gloss and eggshell will show off any wall damage.

Embrace a little “damage”. You have an older house with charm and this means some bolts will show like the house of Frankenstein. You can hide bolts behind art or furniture or you can leave it front and center as signifiers of age like the rings of a tree.