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What do you wash walls with before you paint?

This isn't the fun part of painting a room, but it is the most important part.

Dust and clean the walls. For most surfaces, use a towel or a vacuum cleaner. When painting a bathroom or kitchen, wash the walls with a solution of approximately three teaspoons of laundry detergent to one gallon of water. Scrape any cracked or flaking paint with a paint scraper.

What do I do with cracks?

No paint, regardless of its cost, color, thickness, or manufacturer's claims, will hide a pockmarked or cracked surface.

Fill any holes and cracks with suitable filler, possibly using flexible filler for cracks, sand and prime the filled areas - priming will seal the filler and keep it in place.

How do you fix peeling paint?

Use a wire brush or paint scraper to scrape off all loose paint. Make any necessary repairs. Once the peeling paint is removed, you might be left with cracks or holes; these should be fixed before you repaint. Apply a patching compound with a putty knife; smooth and let dry according to the manufacturer's directions.

What do I need before I start to strip wallpaper?

You'll need a bucket filled with water, a wallpaper steam stripper, a sponge, protective gloves, safety goggles, a stepladder and a stripping knife.

Do I need to wash my walls before wallpapering?

If your wall is in good shape, wallpaper will stay on it better.

Prepare the wall by stripping off any old wallpaper  and washing it down with sugar soap.

Do I need to move all picture hanging hooks?

Yes it makes sense. Unscrew all your wall fixings before you start papering, but leave the wall plugs in place. Mark the position of each one by pushing a matchstick (with the head broken off) into the plug, leaving it slightly proud.

As you hang your paper, bring it over the marked position and press the paper onto the matchstick to pierce the paper.

Then smooth the paper with a paperhanging brush. When the paper is quite dry, remove the matchstick and replace the fitting.

Where will I start to wallpaper?

Ideally begin at the corner and hang your first length of paper on a wall with no doors or windows. That way, you can hang a full length from the ceiling to the top of the skirting-board. 

Choose a wall to the right of the window if you're right-handed or to the left if you're left-handed. Also, it's best to work away from the window, so the paper edges don't cast a shadow if they overlap slightly. And try to avoid having to hang narrow strips against a window or door. If necessary, cut the first length in half vertically along the edge that'll overlap the corner. 

To position your first length of wallpaper, use a plumb line or spirit level to draw a line from ceiling to skirting board, 480mm out from the corner. This allows a 50mm overlap onto the window wall.

Be particularly careful with the first length - it's important to get that one straight.