I'm about to start painting a room in my house as a sort of test to see how
it will go and I'm concerned about the previous owner's attempt at painting.
The walls are all drywall, there is a very thin layer of cheap white latex
on the surface covering the original paint job that was tossed up there in
the 60's. My concern is that the latex is very thin, doesn't seem to be
adhering well, and in some places rubs off in big boils when a wet cloth is
Am I looking at sanding/removing the white paint on the entire wall before
painting it, then applying a primer, then the paint itself?
Sounds like cheap latex with bad prep over an oil based paint. I would be
inclined to get a garden sprayer, get it wet and scrape it off with a 4"
drywall knife. Hint: some parsons sudsy ammonia per label directions mixed
with water will greatly shorten the process. Try a test patch by getting it
wet with Windex to see how easy it will come off.
Then to paint it properly you need to get it clean, use the proper primer
and then you can topcoat with a quality latex paint if you like.
I was afraid you'd say that. I first noticed the crappy paint job when I
wiped my towel against the wall in the bathroom, the slightly damp wall
dropped a 5" spot of white paint, revealing the appalling pink paint
underneath. Would one of those green scrubbing pads attached to a sander do
the same thing as a scraper?
A green scrubbing pad would probably clog up real fast. You may try a black
scrubbing pad, the type with an attached handle, they are coarser and much
more open weave. I have used one to remove wallpaper paste after stripping
the paper off the wall. You will still need a pail of water to rinse it out
every couple of minutes. The pad would also smooth out any bumps and
hardened paint soaked lint from the first bad paint job, and help prep the
wall for your final painting.
You can try a "greenie" if you like. I tend to agree with EXT that will
foul fast. Not sure I would use the sander. I really don't think you are
going to have much trouble with the removal when it is wet with an ammonia
based solution. It should come off as easy as removing warm butter from a
Like a lot of other things in your house, you can put as much or as
little work into this as you want. You have to decide where the point
is when you start getting diminishing returns for an unreasonable
amount of work.
You *coould* go to all the trouble of completely cleaning the old paint
off the wall. Me? I wouldn't bother.
Scrape off what's ready to come off, sand the wall and prime. That's
my preferred technique, and I don't think I've ever actually had to
repaint a room - my paint jobs seem to last as long as any other.
Maybe you're one of those people that goes nuts if you've got one
little bump or chink in your wall. But you've got a house that's at
least 40 years old - your walls are really never gonna be like new
again unless you replace the drywall. In an older house, there's a
certain level of imperfection that I think you just have to learn to
live with. My method won't leave you with perfectly smooth walls;
there will be a bit of a texture to them, though you'll only see or
feel it up close.
I just think that if you spend an inordinate amount of time trying to
keep everything in your house like new, you will never have any time
left to enjoy your house. But it's up to you if you want to go that
Is it possible that the stuff coming off is only primer? Hard to guess.
I would be inclined to wash the walls with household cleaner/water,
rinse, dry very well. If the paint comes off very easy, then scrub it
off; if not, leave it on. Patch and feather edges where paint has come
off, sand, vacuum, prime, paint. If it looks crappy after the first
coat of primer, sand it lightly with fine sand paper, prime again and
paint. Tough scrubbers are likely to tear into the paper layer on the
drywall, and that is tough to fix. You're sure it isn't the paper that
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