How To Prep Doors

and Trim for Painting

man sanding skirting board with electric sander in red hoody, jeans and face mask

Do You Need To Sand Woodwork Before Painting?

The answer is yes.

Prior to painting skirting boards, doors and window frames, it is important to ensure that any imperfections in the wood surfaces have been dealt with. Typically, this will require some filling and sanding.

How To Prepare Woodwork For Painting

There are only a few steps necessary, but it will require a little time and the need to break a sweat. So, roll up your sleeves and away we go!

1. Clean the Woodwork 

Use a clean cloth and some Sugar Soap to clean any dirt and grime from painted woodwork. Sugar soap has a degreasing agent which makes it perfect for cleaning painted areas. If you don’t have any Sugar Soap, warm water with a little dish detergent is a good substitute.

2. Repair Damaged Surfaces

Fill in any holes, dents and cracks with Wood Filler (Spackling) using a putty knife. Leave it to dry thoroughly, following the manufacturer’s recommendations for how long to leave it.

3. Sand the Surfaces

Lightly sand the wood surfaces using a 120-grit sandpaper, until the shine disappears. If your wood surface is rough or worn, begin with a coarse grade of sandpaper, 80-grit, and then finish with a less-coarse grade such as 100- or 120-grit.

If you have used any wood filler, lightly sand over the filler with a 120-grit sandpaper until it is level with the surrounding area

4. More Cleaning

Clean the woodwork and the adjacent walls of any dust, to ensure painter’s tape will adhere securely. Begin with a vacuum and then finish with a damp cloth or sponge.

5. Prime The Surfaces

A wood filler may accept the paint differently than the surrounding area. Applying a coat of primer to the woodwork should prevent the colour of the top coat from looking different in the repaired areas.

Different Methods of Sanding


Hand SandingIs really only suitable for small areas and minor imperfections.

man sanding dado rail in long sleeve t-shirt
wire wool

Wire Wool Is a good option for enclosed or tight areas/ corners.

Sanding Large Areasan electric sander is going to be more efficient, it may also be necessary for any deep imperfections. A dust mask is a must.

electric sander

If you plan to install wallpaper after you have painted your woodwork, we recommend using WallpaperBuddy™, the new and more efficient way of hanging wallpaper.

How to use WallpaperBuddy™

We hope you found this article helpful, and we would appreciate it very much if you shared it with someone else you feel might benefit from it.


If you are new to painting and decorating and need some additional advice, please read more of our ‘How To’ articles which we have prepared for you.

Expert Tips On How To Paint A Door

How To Paint Skirting Boards