How to repair chipped paint on a wall

“Even castles in the sky can do with a fresh coat of paint” – Haruki Murakami

No coat of paint lasts forever. Maybe it’s the humidity, maybe it’s direct sunlight, or maybe it’s a careless swing of a ladder that makes the first chip, but eventually, all walls could do with a fresh coat of colour.

When the paint on your walls starts chipping or flaking away, dealing with the problem head-on and proactively really is the way to go. Not only will you avoid looking at an unattractive eyesore, but it will also increase your property value and give you a chance to identify problems like moisture damage that could end up costing thousands to fix down the line.

Paint can chip for a wide variety of reasons. While many of these reasons are unavoidable and just a part of life –think the passage of time and temperate changes–, many can be avoided or delayed with a solid understanding of how paint works and how to apply it. This article will help you understand how to apply a fresh coat of paint to a wall where moisture damage is not the cause of flaking. Moisture-damaged walls are best left to the professionals, but in most other cases, repainting a chipped wall takes nothing more than some free time, readily available supplies, and some elbow grease. 

Step 1: Assess the damage and gather supplies

Inspect the wall to determine the extent of the chipping. If you’re lucky and it’s only a single chip or the chipping is restricted to a small area (this could be due to physical or chemical damage to a localised area), you’ll most likely get away with sanding down the area and simply repainting that spot.

Another thing to think about in step 1 is whether or not to clear and strip the old paint. If the chipping is extensive, if multiple layers of old paint are causing an uneven surface, or if you’re unsure about the compatibility of the old and new paint – strip it! There’s no point in repairing chipped paint if you just have to do it again a few months later because you didn’t prepare the surface correctly the first time around.

At this point, we also recommend measuring the dimensions of the wall and taking photos of it. This will help the assistant at your local hardware shop determine how much paint you need and which paint is best for that particular wall, as well as advise on what equipment will make the job easier. Depending on the damage to your wall, you will most likely need to get/buy the following tools and supplies.

● Paint stripper: This could include a combination of chemical paint stripper, wire brush, or paint scraper.

● Cleaning supplies: A bucket and an old oil- and solvent-free rag will do.

● Surface repair kit with applicator: This will depend on whether or not the wall itself is damaged and needs filling up.

● Painting supplies: This includes the primer, wall paint, brushes and/or rollers, and paint buckets.

● Protective materials: Large pieces of cloth, plastic sheeting, or newspaper to cover anything that you don’t want to be covered in paint.


2. Strip the paint and prepare the area

After covering your floors and moving the furniture away, strip down as many layers of the old paint as you can being careful not to damage or chip the plaster in the process. If you’re using a chemical paint stripper, please be sure to read the instructions and follow all the safety measures, including ensuring that you work in a well-ventilated area. It’s important to strip away as much old paint as possible to avoid it interfering with the new coats. Once this is done, fill any holes or deep scratches with the plaster filler if necessary, then proceed to clean the prepared wall with a damp cloth free of oil or solvents. It’s important to clear all the dust off the wall to ensure that the new paint sticks and continues to do so. Allow the wall to properly dry before moving on step 3.


3. Apply new primer, undercoat, and paint


There are a number of ways to apply primers and paint to a wall. In most cases, however, a good old-fashioned brush or roller is still the go-to, although spray-on options are becoming increasingly popular. We recommend watching a YouTube video or two to learn more about the right techniques and tips for each method based on what equipment you have.

While it’s not absolutely necessary to use a primer, we still strongly recommend it. A primer will promote adhesion, fill small imperfections, and help the topcoat appear more uniform. Wait for the primer to dry completely before applying the paint. This typically takes up to 3 hours, depending on the temperature and humidity.

Finally, apply two coats of paint, waiting a period of 4 to 6 hours between applications. Make sure you apply the paint as evenly as possible, don’t leave any gaps, and cut in the edges. And that’s about that! All that’s left to do is clean up, properly clean your brushes or roller (making sure to dispose of wastewater or solvents responsibly and in accordance with local regulations), and admire your newly chip-free wall.

When to leave it to the pros

As we just saw, unchipping a painted wall isn’t all that complex, but it can take some time. Big or many chipped walls take even more. If you have multiple walls that need a new, fresh coat and you’re worried about how long it’ll take, or if your walls are suffering from water damage, getting professional and experienced surface repairmen like the ones at WeRestoreSurfaces to do it for you can make the whole process much faster and stress-free.



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