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Old 11-09-2009, 10:44 AM   #1
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Repainting over flat white latex paint on drywall.


So I just bought a house (my first!). It's two years old, and has drywall walls that were painted with flat white latex paint. I'm pretty sure it was primed, as there is some leftover primer in the basement. I've never painted before, so I've been doing a ton of research on how to do it, but I have a few questions about the specifics of painting over my specific walls.

1) Do I need to sand the walls? If so, do I need to sand hard to get everything off or just lightly to scuff it up and let the paint stick better? Is 220 grit the right stuff?

2) What should I wash the walls with? Hot water? Hot water with dishsoap? TSP? Hot water with Lysol? Do I need to really scrub them or just well enough to get the sanding dust off the wall?

3) There are a few places where the previous paint cracked at the border between the metal corner caps and the drywall... should I just spackle over this, or should I dig it out a bit so that there's more room for the spackle to get in there? Some of the inside corners also have seams/cracks in the paint. How should I fix those? Is there a good way to do that?

4) We have our colors chosen, most of which are medium to light neutral colors, which I think should cover fine without priming. However, we have a deep red for one wall and a cornflower blue for one room. Will I definitely need to get a dark primer for these, or should I just try putting a coat or two of the color and hope for the best, with adding a third coat being my last resort?

5) We have ceiling fans in some of the rooms... Assuming we wash the walls well, completely cover the floors with tarps and dust them first, would leaving the fans on help the walls dry faster, or am I asking for trouble?

Thanks for the help!

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Old 11-09-2009, 11:20 AM   #2
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Repainting over flat white latex paint on drywall.


1. no you should not need to sand the walls prior to painting them, as long as they are already painted once and feel farely smooth and in good shape
2. do not wash your walls, if there is dust on the walls then you should wipe with a barely damp rag or just use a feather duster
3.for most of these cracks you can simply go over the crack with a lightweight spackle, if the cracks are really large then you will need to dig them out a bit and use drywall patching compound and a wider blade putty knife. After doing any of this make sure to allow the product to dry then sand smooth.
4. for the red get a medium grey tinted primer (the blue depending on it's depth of tone may not need primer). I know getting a grey primer sounds weird but trust me that it will help the final coat (it will still take 2-3 coats over the primer) really have a nice finish and give you the truest color
5. leave the fans off until you are finished painting then turn them on. if the fans are on while you are painting dust might be flung around the room, however, I love using fans to help the room dry after I am done painting.
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Old 11-09-2009, 01:15 PM   #3
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Repainting over flat white latex paint on drywall.


1. You need to sand anything you do not like about the walls.

2. Only an psychotic idiot would suggest a feather dusting as a reasonable approach to paint prep. Wash them TSP or something like Purple Power from the auto store if you have had smokers in the house or if it is greasy. Use any nice, strong, non-residual detergent. Rinse again with water.

3. Spackle was a godless concept for students wanting to get their parent's security deposits back. It is useful only for small holes. It can be painted over immediately which is nice in only those circumstances. You need to get yourself on a 1-5 gallon bucket of drywall mud. And buy a 4" and 12" drywall knife and pan when at it.

If the cracks on your exterior seams are minor you might be able to get away with compound and blending things in. If there is major separation between the drywall and metal strips you will have to add nails to them that should have been there in the first place or start over from my experience. Either way expect a temporary mess as you put force on the strip and seem to chip even more drywall compound off.

As for the interior corners, if they are coming loose? They were probably not taped well in the first place. You may have to take them off and start over too. Otherwise you can try that 12" knife I told you to buy and see if you can buy time. First time the walls shift again though? If never taped properly in the first place? It will pop up again and you will be back at it.

Good news is drywall compound is cheap. The basic tools I suggested will be yours for life if you keep them clean and will set you back under $50 at your paint store. Get good ones!

4. You need to plan on two finish coats of good, paint store paint (not box store crap), especially for your dark walls. I find using a primer easier to help making the bridge from light colors to dark. Have the paint store mix in up to 60 percent of the same color formula you have in mind into the primer and you will be good to go.

5. Unless your place is a filthy mess leaving the ceiling fans on should not hurt anything and the added ventilation is always a good idea when available.

Prep is the hardest for DIYers to get their head around but makes it all worthwhile when it comes to painting. Not only will making your space as clean and dust free as possible it will make the work go so much faster and you will really like the end result more.
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Old 11-09-2009, 01:19 PM   #4
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Repainting over flat white latex paint on drywall.


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2. do not wash your walls, if there is dust on the walls then you should wipe with a barely damp rag or just use a feather duster
3.for most of these cracks you can simply go over the crack with a lightweight spackle,
You are a comedy act just abusing DIYs right?
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Old 11-09-2009, 01:31 PM   #5
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Repainting over flat white latex paint on drywall.


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2. Only an psychotic idiot would suggest a feather dusting as a reasonable approach to paint prep. Wash them TSP or something like Purple Power from the auto store if you have had smokers in the house or if it is greasy. Use any nice, strong, non-residual detergent. Rinse again with water.
Sounds like a plan... I'll pick up a detergent today...

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3. Spackle was a godless concept for students wanting to get their parent's security deposits back. It is useful only for small holes. It can be painted over immediately which is nice in only those circumstances. You need to get yourself on a 1-5 gallon bucket of drywall mud. And buy a 4" and 12" drywall knife and pan when at it.
There are no large holes, and the seams I'm talking about are no thicker than a few strands of hair. Just enough to be visible. I have drywall mud and knives already, should I use that or spackle? (I assume not spackle as you seem to have a hatred of it).


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As for the interior corners, if they are coming loose? They were probably not taped well in the first place. You may have to take them off and start over too. Otherwise you can try that 12" knife I told you to buy and see if you can buy time. First time the walls shift again though? If never taped properly in the first place? It will pop up again and you will be back at it.
They're not loose. Again, these are very thin lines right at the joint. I've read on This Old House that a small bead of latex caulk pushed into the crack with a wet finger or paint brush is a good solutions to this... thoughts? I really don't want ot have to remove the old tape, since that would set me back an extra day for it to dry, but if I have to do it, I guess that's what I'll do.

Quote:
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4. You need to plan on two finish coats of good, paint store paint (not box store crap), especially for your dark walls. I find using a primer easier to help making the bridge from light colors to dark. Have the paint store mix in up to 60 percent of the same color formula you have in mind into the primer and you will be good to go.
I went with Valspar premium paint, which consumer reports rated highly. It's availble at paint stored, but I bought it at lowe's because it was cheaper for the same valspar premium... Hopefully that won't come back to bite me.

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5. Unless your place is a filthy mess leaving the ceiling fans on should not hurt anything and the added ventilation is always a good idea when available.
Awesome, I will do that. The place is pretty clean, and I'll make sure to dust the tops of the fans because I use them.

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Prep is the hardest for DIYers to get their head around but makes it all worthwhile when it comes to painting. Not only will making your space as clean and dust free as possible it will make the work go so much faster and you will really like the end result more.
Thanks for the suggestions!
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Old 11-09-2009, 02:21 PM   #6
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Repainting over flat white latex paint on drywall.


DO NOT USE A DETERGEANT ON THE WALLS- Very bad idea. Completely needless and will most likely harm your walls. Spackle used correctly is extremely effective as I said unless you need major repairs done. Sdsester obviously has not idea what they are talking about. I have probably painted more high end homes then he has ever seen with results he/she could ever dream of obtaining. Why the heck would you WASH your walls. I have been in the industry for a long time and no professional in their right mind would agree with them. Obviously sdsester likes to think they are cute and smart, however they are wrong on both accounts. Featherdusting will work fine as long as the dust is not ridiculous. If so then a damp rag is recommended. NEVER use a heavy duty soap or cleaner of any type on an interior wall. That is painting 101.
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Old 11-09-2009, 02:28 PM   #7
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Repainting over flat white latex paint on drywall.


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DO NOT USE A DETERGEANT ON THE WALLS- Very bad idea. Completely needless and will most likely harm your walls. Spackle used correctly is extremely effective as I said unless you need major repairs done. Sdsester obviously has not idea what they are talking about. I have probably painted more high end homes then he has ever seen with results he/she could ever dream of obtaining. Why the heck would you WASH your walls. I have been in the industry for a long time and no professional in their right mind would agree with them. Obviously sdsester likes to think they are cute and smart, however they are wrong on both accounts. Featherdusting will work fine as long as the dust is not ridiculous. If so then a damp rag is recommended. NEVER use a heavy duty soap or cleaner of any type on an interior wall. That is painting 101.
This Old House recommends:

Using a wet/dry vacuum, clear all the dust from the walls and trim. Wash the walls with a sponge, using warm water and dish soap. Scrub greasy or waxy spots. Wipe everything down one last time with clean water

I'll trust take their advice... thanks for help on the rest everyone! I'll post before and after shots. Project is starting in 2 hours : )
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Old 11-09-2009, 02:36 PM   #8
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Repainting over flat white latex paint on drywall.


Yes if you have grease or wax spots you will have to use a light dish detergeant, but don't use a powerful soap. From the original post it appeared the walls were in overall decent condition and I would not expect there to be much dust on them unless you choose to sand them. A shop vac is fine to use, just try to make sure not to damage the wall with the vacuum head and try not to scuff up the walls too much. These scuff marks can be difficult to cover with a light colored paint.

When I worked in the retail environment in a specialty paint store many years ago it was because of advice like that of the other poster that kept us busy advising people on how to repair the damage that had been done. This old house is also more of a construction show and not a painting show. I have probably painted more than whoever is on their show suggesting this. Keep in mind, that no two painters are going to give you the same advice and you ultimately have to weigh your options and do what you think is best. Good luck.
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Old 11-09-2009, 07:04 PM   #9
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Nothing quite like the smell of Behr Ultra premium in the morning!
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Old 11-10-2009, 04:06 AM   #10
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Repainting over flat white latex paint on drywall.


"propainter" quotes NEVER use a heavy duty soap or cleaner of any type on an interior wall. That is painting 101.

I am wondering where you have read painting 101,I would like to see that version. Also this infamous quote"Spackle used correctly is extremely effective" Lightweight spackle in only good for filling nail holes and even that it is not so good, worthless material.

" I have been in the industry for a long time and no professional in their right mind would agree with them."

I have also been in this industry a very long time and must be wacko
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Old 11-10-2009, 10:23 AM   #11
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I have also been in this industry a very long time and must be wacko
Yes, Chris but you never worked at the counter of a "specialty" paint store! I am sure you are wacko though.
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Old 11-10-2009, 10:27 AM   #12
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Repainting over flat white latex paint on drywall.


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Nothing quite like the smell of Behr Ultra premium in the morning!
Read the poor guy's response to my posting. He got paint at Lowe's disguised for Halloween as real paint under the name brand Valspar! He was not lucky enough to have the Home Depot crap near him.
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Old 11-10-2009, 10:35 AM   #13
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Repainting over flat white latex paint on drywall.


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Featherdusting will work fine.
Love it, just absolutely love it!

Last edited by user1007; 11-10-2009 at 10:46 AM.
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Old 11-10-2009, 05:52 PM   #14
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Repainting over flat white latex paint on drywall.


Yea, the feather duster is the first thing I pack into the job site, that and the spackle and lets not forget that specialty paint.
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Old 11-10-2009, 07:19 PM   #15
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Repainting over flat white latex paint on drywall.


Anyone that has cleaned surely realizes a feather duster DOES NOT remove all the dust, but a damp cloth will.
Personally, I wanted my walls as clean as possible before painting. I washed the walls before repairs and after each layer of mud and sanding. By doing so, I knew each application of joint compound and/or paint was being applied to a very clean, dry surface. End result is quite beautiful.

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