The walls in my home have a number of coats of paint, and have lost their
smoothness. Which would be better, skim coat with joint compound, or just
sand them with an orbital disk sander? The latter seems like less work,
although messier. I am concerned about the longterm adhesion of the skim
coat to the existing flat paint.
Appreciate any comments.
Both. But first get a good painter's lamp, so you can easily see the
irregularities on the wall surface. Using a medium-grit (120-180)
disc, use a ROS to remove any old bumps and lightly roughen depressions
you'll be applying joint compound to. I'm assuming you don't have
grease/oil on paint, else you want to use TSP too. (I'm also assuming
your ROS has built-in dust-collection, else you really want that.)
I'd apply compound as little as possible to smooth surface, using lamp
as above to see what you're doing. Too little on a given pass is much
preferable to too much. (Don't insist on one pass.)
Forget the power sander. Painters use these large sanding tools on sticks
to smooth out walls in a few minutes, Vacuum, touch it up with patching
compound, recheck and sand then paint. If the current paint isn't peeling
you should be ok.
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