sanding down walls in preperation for painting

23 Jan 2007
Reaction score
United Kingdom

I've learnt a lot of DIY tips by visiting this website but tonight i can't find an answer so have 2 ask....

hope someone can advise me...

my walls have been stripped of paper and on the plaster there is a thick green paint that has flaked in places and so the walls will look very uneven if i just paint them.

I don't want to paper and can't afford to have it skimmed so have to fill and sand them...

Would I be best to apply filler to bring the plaster up to the level of the paint or, sand the paint off the wall?

Would appreciate any help...

Sponsored Links
ummm... i have thought about lining paper but really would like to try and get nice smooth walls....

never used a sander b4... any tips?
you could do both.....dont think you will get a good finish just filling and sanding without the lining paper thats the way i would go...maybe someone else can help....!
Sponsored Links
Only one real winning way and you have already said you cant afford to have it done.

If you want a realy crisp looking wall then skimming is the only way. I have seen lined walls and they do look pretty good but for a true finish get a plasterer in.

Alternativly you could also put up a lightly textured blown vinyl then paint it a plain colour. that stuff will hide potholes never find a few blemishes.
sue standley said:
ummm... i have thought about lining paper but really would like to try and get nice smooth walls....

Hi, I think I am in a similar position to you, I was stripping wallpaper from the walls, and in places, the thick green/pink paint came away (I think it is more a selant than paint).

Any way, I filled where I could with plaster and then sanded over to remove any rough jagged edges, then I used medium lining paper on the walls. This paper is not textured like the old ones I knew of before (wood chip paper...), but it does have a faint dippled effect, that unless you have your nose touching the wall you don't really notice.

This gave me, fairly smooth walls that hid a lot of the imperfections, and didn't cost the same as skimming ;)

so, from personal expearience, for me any way, it looks quite good.

Hope this helps.
If you really are against lining them give them a damn good rub down first (before filling) then put a coat of Dulux super grip on them (good for previously papered walls). It's alot easier to see where you need to fill when the walls are more uniform in colour and finish. Then fill them and rub down, then a coat of emulsion then check for any filling required and fill again. Then two further coats of emulsion. It's time consuming and labourious but is the best way to get the walls looking good without lining them.
What he said...but id really consider lining if I were you after all the pprep work..remember you have a few different types of surface there..each surface will reflect the light differenty and will stand out...its easy for us to say...we can paper, but I honestly wouldnt bother to attept to do all that filling...the only way to youl know if it has been successful is when you paint the may end up very dissapointed
Thanks for all your advice..

I was trying to keep away from the lining paper because, firstly I've never done it and it's to go in a childs room which, unless I do a good job, it'll be picked and torn.

so I'm going to try the fill and sand route on just a square metre or so and see what it looks like. If no good then I think I'll go via the lining paper route.


I have had some success in dealing with small areas of flaked paint by using a sloppy Polyfilla mix skimmed on with a plasterer's float. I tried it as an experiment and was surprised at how well it worked. The float actually skimmed over the raised areas leaving a thin layer of filler in the valleys. Once sanded it looked pretty good.

On the whole though I do agree that lining paper covers almost all faults. In bad rooms we have done two layers, one vertical and the second horizontal.
well it's the weekend so I'll give it a go, I don't mind a bit of hard work.

I thought I might look for some sort of a skills swap on a website tonight....I might try and find a plasterer who needed a website....

You don't live any where near tQ13 and need one do you...?
Ha ha...... what a mess I got into sanding down the walls and just as you all told me, I shall now paper them..!

Seemed like a good idea at the time....

Thanks again for all y6ur help and advice :LOL:
We had a very similar problem in our house but had already decided that we really did not want to repaper and replastering seemed too drastic.

I bought one of those "sand paper holder" thingies - basically a flat sanding panel with a handle on the back and screw clamps at each end to hold the paper in place. I got hold of some rough P40 sandpaper and gave the walls a good going over to remove any loose bits. Then, I filled the obvious cracks and dips with small amounts of patching plaster.

I bought some bulk containers of cheap matt emulsion from my local decorators merchant and gave the walls 3-4 coats. It dried quite quickly and so I managed this in the space of 24 hours with a big roller.

For finishing off any bits of flaked paint that did still show through I used Red Devil One Time (fantastic filling product and not that expensive) and a sharp, clean wide filling knife to leave the fine filler in the "valleys". This stuff dries in less than an hour when put on thin.

Then a final sand down with some P160 or thereabouts gets the walls feeling like glass ready for the final coat.

It did take a while to do though :confused:
Well believe it or not i purchased a steamer from the local DIY store for £15 the steam softens up the old emulsion on the wall and i slowly removed the paint. In fact in places i was able to peal of the paint as it became very elastic under the heat of the steam. It takes time but i managed to get back to the original plaster which i sanded down and painted for a superb job. No skimming required .. Bit long winded but well worth the effort ..

DIYnot Local

Staff member

If you need to find a tradesperson to get your job done, please try our local search below, or if you are doing it yourself you can find suppliers local to you.

Select the supplier or trade you require, enter your location to begin your search.

Are you a trade or supplier? You can create your listing free at DIYnot Local

Sponsored Links