Do I Need to Whitewash Walls Before Painting?

You might have wondered if you need to whitewash walls before painting. Painting and whitewashing are popular projects that beginner DIYers and veterans enjoy doing. While both are easy to do, there are a few steps that you need to follow to make sure that you are doing the right job. Read on to learn if you need to whitewash walls before painting and determine the steps you need to follow to make sure that your project will be a success.

Do I need to whitewash walls before painting? You do not need to whitewash walls before painting. You might need to remove the whitewash before you paint the wall. Take note that there are preparations that you need to do before painting which includes cleaning the wall, sanding, removing existing paint, finish, wallpaper, and other covering, and priming.

What are the different wall preparations that need to be done before painting? How do you paint over a whitewashed wall? What is the difference between paint and whitewashing? Can you just paint over old paint? These are some of the questions that we will discuss. Read the rest of the article below for more tips and ideas.

Do I need to whitewash walls before painting
Photo by Rene Asmussen from Pexels

Difference between Paint and Whitewash

The main difference between paint and whitewash is that unlike paint, whitewash is made using a few ingredients and the process of creating it is simple. You can easily make whitewash mixture at home using warm water, masonry lime, and table salt. You can also add color into the whitewash by mixing powdered pigments into it. Moreover, whitewash is made from natural ingredients that have many benefits for your home. For instance, it can prevent the growth of mold when applied on walls. It is also antibacterial.

Wall Preparation before Painting

Preparing the wall is an important step when it comes to painting. You need to clean, sand, and prime the wall before painting. This also means that you need to remove any old wall covering that you have which includes old paint, wallpaper, and whitewash. Take note that not every surface will need multi-step preparation. However, you need to thoroughly check the surface so that you can make sure that it is ready for painting. Below are the steps that you need to follow when preparing the wall before painting.

Step 1 – Clean the Walls

The first thing that you need to do is to clean the walls. You can use a sponge and warm water. If the surface of the wall has grime or oil, you will need to make a solution of detergent and water to remove them. Make sure to wipe the walls with clean water afterwards to get rid of any detergent residue. Make sure that the wall is thoroughly dry. Do not apply primer, finish, or paint in a wall that is still wet. It can cause a lot of problems like blistering. Aside from that, paint applied on damp walls can easily peel off.

Step 2 – Sanding Walls

The next step that you need to do is to sand the walls. Sanding is not needed for every painting project, but it should be done if the walls are rough or uneven. Moreover, walls that have been previously painted should be sanded to make sure that the new paint adheres properly to it. You can use sandpaper or a sanding block to even out rough surfaces. Use a damp cloth to wipe away dust and allow the walls to thoroughly dry. Furthermore, you need to sand walls that have been previously painted with gloss or high-gloss paint.

✅ Video – How to Prep for Painting

Lowe’s Home Improvement shared the video below on YouTube. It discusses how to prep for painting. In the video, the process of preparing the walls before painting is discussed. Preparing a wall is important to make sure that the painting job is a success. Watch the video below for more tips and information.

How to Paint over a Whitewashed Wall

To paint over a whitewashed wall, you need to follow steps which include preparing the wall, scraping off whitewash, filling cracks and holes, cleaning the wall, and adding primer. Make sure that you follow the necessary steps so you can rest assured that all traces of whitewash are removed and your painting job will be a success.

Prepare the Walls

First, you need to prepare the walls. This is important for any painting job. Make sure to clear the area and remove all furniture. Cover the floor with newspaper or cloth to protect it from any paint drip. If the walls have power sockets, use tape to cover them. Wipe the wall with a damp sponge or rag to remove dirt, dust, and debris.

Scrape Off Whitewash

Next, you need to scrape off the whitewash from the walls. While it may be tempting to simply cover the whitewash with paint, this is not a good idea. If the paint from the whitewash is starting to peel or flake, use a scraper to remove them. Make sure that you thoroughly scrape off the whitewash from the walls. By doing so, you can prevent the new paint from easily flaking and avoid costly maintenance. We have also written this article titled, can I make my whitewash? Check out the article for steps on how to make whitewash at home.

Fill Holes and Cracks

Once you have scraped off the whitewash from the wall, you need to fill any holes and cracks that you can find. This will make sure that the walls are smooth and have a consistent surface for the new paint. Fill holes and cracks using filler and a filling knife, or a scraper. If the walls have deeper holes, you need to fill them more than once. Wait for the filling to dry and start sanding to smooth the wall.

Clean the Wall

The next step is to clean the wall. After sanding the wall, use a vacuum to remove the debris. You also need to wipe the walls with cloth and water. Use a detergent if there are any stains on the wall. Removing dirt and grease from the wall makes it easier to paint. It will also make sure that the paint will adhere to the wall properly.

Add Primer

Wait for the wall to thoroughly dry and add primer. If the wall has a dark color and you would like to use lighter paint, you need to use a primer. The primer is a light coat of paint that helps make it easier to retain the color of the paint. When covering a dark-colored wall, you will need multiple coats of paint. It is more cost-efficient to use a primer before you paint the wall especially if you are using lighter paint color than the color of the wall. Apply another layer of primer if you can still see the original wall color after the first layer.

Allow Wall to Dry

The last step before painting is to allow the wall to dry. Then, start painting. For a flawless result, apply two coats of the new paint. Make sure that you let each coat dry thoroughly before you add another coat. If you add another coat of paint before the existing one dries, it can lead to poor color pay-off. Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to wait for the paint to dry.

Can I Just Paint over Old Paint?

It is okay to paint over old paint but there are a few things that you need to consider. First, you need to find out what type of paint is used on the existing paint. This will determine if the existing paint can be painted over or not. For instance, you cannot use oil paint over latex paint. Aside from that, you need also need to consider the condition of the existing paint on the wall. Is it peeling or flaking? Take note that old paint can flake and peel which can lead to cracks and small holes. This can cause problems if it is painted over. Make sure to remove any existing paints that are peeling or chipping.

What to Wash Walls with before Painting?

Use lukewarm water and mild soap to wash the walls before painting. If the walls are oily, dilute dishwashing detergent into lukewarm water and use a sponge to apply it on the wall. This will remove grease or oil on the walls. Wipe the walls in a circular motion and rinse them afterward with clean water to remove any soap residue. You can also check out this article that discusses if whitewash washes off. We have shared an in-depth discussion about the topic.

Is Primer Necessary for Repainting?

Primer is recommended for almost all painting projects. Regardless of the type of surface that needs to be repainted, it is ideal to use a primer so that the new paint will thoroughly adhere to the wall. Primer is a sticky and flat paint that is created to provide a consistent base for paint. You can also check out this article that we have shared that discusses if you need to prime before whitewashing. We have shared the importance of priming walls before painting.


We hope you’ve found this article that discusses if you need to whitewash walls before painting helpful. Above, we have shared tips and information on how to prepare walls before painting. We have also discussed the difference between whitewash and painting. Follow the proper steps in painting walls to guarantee that it will be a success. Thank you for reading!

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