If a painted surface is in poor condition and the paint is flaking, you will have to strip it off before repainting. Use a wide scraper to remove the paint. If the paint is stubborn, apply a chemical stripper. When the surface is bare, smooth it with medium-grain sandpaper wrapped around a cork block, lithe surface has been painted with tempera; seal it with a stabilizing solution after you have sanded it down.


It is worth filling even small cracks and holes for a professional result. You can buy filler as ready-mixed paste or as a powder that must be mixed before use. Always check manufacturers’ instructions before preparing the paste. The average drying time is 30 minutes. Fill large holes with several layers of filler if necessary. After filling, sand down the surface. Filler can be difficult to remove from equipment, so if you are mixing your own, line the container with a plastic bag to avoid a messy cleaning job afterward.

1. Stat by brushing away loose debris with a small decorating brush.

2. Wet the hole with a small, damp brush to ensure that the filler stays inside the hole.

3. Press the filler into hole with a putty knife. Allow filler to dry between layers. Wipe off excess.

4. Smooth with the wet blade of a putty knife. Once dry, sand with fine-grain sandpaper.

How to Repair Cracks and Holes in Your Walls

Painting over cracks and holes won’t make them disappear—and may even make them more noticeable—so it is important to fix imperfections before you start painting. Here are some basic steps. If you haven’t done so, cover the furniture and floors with a drop cloth to protect against dust and debris.

Before you add filler to minor or hairline cracks:

1. Use a utility or putty knife to widen the crack and remove any loose material.

2. Create a trench that is deeper and slightly larger than the crack.

3. For long cracks, remove the plaster or sheet rock material at intervals to help the filler hold.

4. For small holes, use a utility or putty knife to dig out the hole and make the inside of the hole bigger than the outside. This is to provide space for the filler and to help prevent it from falling out of the hole or crack.

5. Where sheetrock nails have popped up, countersink the nail pops with a hammer. The indentation left by the hammer head can be easily filled.

6. Brush or vacuum to remove dust and debris, and wipe the area with a damp cloth.
For best results, ALWAYS READ THE PAINT CAN LABEL. Professionals read the paint can labels to get the paint manufacturers’ most up-to-date information and instructions on the use of each specific paint. Every paint is different, and the labels provide important information, such as the average coverage area per gallon, drying times, number of coats needed, and surface preparation requirements. The labels also give specific safety information that should be carefully adhered to.

7. Use spackle or joint compound as filler, applied with a small, flexible putty knife for small areas, or a bigger one for large areas.

8. For a smoother finish, spread thin layers of filler rather than one thick layer.

9. Add as many layers as necessary, making sure that each layer is dry before adding another.

10. After the layers of filler are completely dry, lightly sand as needed with fine-grade sandpaper to smooth and blend the repair with the wall surface.

11. Wipe any dust from the wall with a clean cotton cloth before you start to prime or paint.

12. Prime all repaired areas to help seal the filler and to help prevent the filler from absorbing paint.