Valspar Prep Overview

A successful paint project starts with prepping right. Although good prep might not show up in photos, it’s key to getting great results that last.

What You'll Need

* Depending on your project, you might not need everything on this list. Find out more about these items in steps 3, 4, and 6. 


Before you get started, make sure to protect your furniture. Cover the bigger items, and remove the smaller ones like artwork, nails, and small furniture. When doing this, take care to give yourself enough space to work. It might be tempting, but don’t skip this step – you want the whole room to look its best, not just the walls.


When painting, the occasional paint splatter or drip on the floor is inevitable. To make cleanup easy, protect your floors with a drop cloth. A quality drop cloth provides good protection by absorbing any paint that may spill on it.

Quick Tip:

Fabric drop cloths offer the most protection.


Over time, imperfections in a wall will turn into imperfections in the paint. The best way to avoid this is by starting with a smooth surface. Take the time to scrape off any loose or flaked paint, and any debris. If you have holes or cracks in the wall, fill them in with a patching compound and sand them down to get a smooth, even surface. Finally, wipe down your walls to remove any dirt, dust, or grime. If the walls are dirty, use a mild detergent with water to clean them.

See our Touch Ups and Problem Solver pages to learn more about fixing common wall issues.

Quick Tip: 

If painting over a smooth, glossy surface, lightly sand it before painting. 


Sometimes, the trim in your home can separate slightly from your walls. While this is common, you’ll want to take care of it before painting. If you see separation, fill in the gaps with paintable caulk – and it should be dry and paintable within the hour.

Quick Tip: 

If the trim is not painted, or if you don’t intend to paint it at this time, we recommend a clear paintable caulk. 


Finally, it’s time to apply painter’s tape to all your trim, and remove any outlet and switch covers. For added protection, you can apply painter’s tape over the switches and outlets. This will save you from having to replace any switches or outlets that might get covered in paint.

Quick Tip: 

Use a putty knife to push the tape down to the trim, it'll prevent paint bleeding. 


If your walls have any stains, make sure you are applying a primer to cover them. If the stains are not treated, they are likely to bleed through the paint – even after applying several coats. For best results, use our Stain Stopper Primer to ensure the stain is completely covered.

Not sure if you need to prime? Visible stains or drastic color changes are the most common reasons to prime, but there are other benefits, too. Check out our Primer How To for more.

Quick Tip: 

Always use primer to cover any stains.

Now, you’re all ready to paint. Painting is the easiest way to transform a room, and prepping right is the easiest way to get great results. So as long as you take the time to do it right, you’ll be painting like a pro before you know it.


WARNING! Removal of old paint by sanding, scraping or other means may generate dust or fumes that contain lead. Exposure to lead dust or fumes may cause brain damage or other adverse health effects, especially in children or pregnant women. Controlling exposure to lead or other hazardous substances requires the use of proper protective equipment, such as a properly fitted respirator (NIOSH approved) and proper containment and cleanup. For more information, call the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD (in US) or contact your local health authority.

Adequate ventilation required when sanding or abrading the dried film. If adequate ventilation cannot be provided wear an approved particulate respirator (NIOSH approved). Follow respirator manufacturer's directions for respirator use.