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Have you ever wondered how expert professional painters, like us right here at New Approach Painting, can achieve such amazing results painting a room in such a short time? Although in large part our quality is due to extensive and diligent practice of painting techniques, we also use a few special techniques that either save time, increase the quality of the resulting finish, or both! We’d love to share some of these tips with you so you can tackle an easy room yourself (and leave the tricky ones for us!).

How do professionals like us at New Approach Painting achieve such incredibly smooth and uniform surfaces on walls? Run your hand along the nearest wall to you, and look sideways down it. Can you see little nubs, blemishes, or hairs? If you can, it’s a good bet that wall wasn’t sanded before it was painted.

Although it looks like hard work, sanding a wall is actually a quick and easy process! At a nice, slow, and steady pace, it’ll only take you about fifteen minutes to sand the walls of a room before painting them. Here are our tips to give your walls that professional smoothness.

1. Choose the right tools.

You’ll need:

  • a painter’s pole (or broom handle with threaded end; solid wood stands up to pressure better than hollow metal)
  • a pole-mounted half-sheet sanding pad ($20 or less at your local paint store)
    the best quality sandpaper available, in the correct grit (220 is appropriate for most tasks)

2. Let those tools do the work for you.

Stand back from the wall at a comfortable distance, and with light pressure, move the sander back and forth across the wall in wide arcs, leading with one corner of the pad and then the other. Apply enough pressure that the whole face of the sanding pad is in contact with the wall at all times, but not so much that the pad stutters or flips (which can mark or scratch the wall, requiring additional spackling preparation). You should hear an even, uniform “ssssshhhh” sound as the paper glides across the flat portions of the wall and evens out surface imperfections.

3. Clean up after yourself.

Wet a painter’s rag or other cloth, and wring it out well. Then mount it over your sanding pad (if your technique is good, you may not have to clamp it on) and repeat your wide arcs to wipe off sanding dust and residue. If you skip this step, the sanding dust on the wall may cause micro-bubbling or uneven drying of your topcoat! Then take a hand-vacuum (we at New Approach Painting love Dyson hand vacuums) and vacuum up the dust that has fallen down the wall to rest at the tops of the baseboards.

4. Cut, roll, repeat!

Now that you’ve smoothed out your wall, let’s keep it that way! Roll your wall with the best quality roller you can afford. We at New Approach Painting prefer lint-free microfibre rollers, as they’re fantastic right out of the package (though you can wet your hand and run it firmly along the roller’s nap to prepare it for the most even paint distribution). Then, once your first coat has dried, repeat steps one through three and sand the wall again! If you’d like the absolute smoothest finish imaginable, you can VERY CAREFULLY sand your final coat with 400-grit paper or higher, then buff it with a clean, dry, microfibre cloth.

Now step back and admire your work! It may take a little elbow grease, but for the best-looking results, it’s worth it. That’s the New Approach Painting way!