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First Time Painting

Just recently purchased our first home; a 1940s bungalow which we are about to start updating. First order of business will be painting the bedroom we are currently using. Below are some of the basics:

  • Walls are plaster
  • Currently has numerous layers of paint
  • Some cracks and small holes are noticeable
  • Looks like there are some nails that have been painted over
  • Will be focusing only on the walls (ceiling and baseboards will come later)

We are hoping to smooth out the walls and apply a fresh layer of paint within the weekend. What do people recommend?

Should we just sand the walls? Would there be any advantage to removing the layers of paint?

Any suggestions for repairing the cracks and small holes?

Any other basic tips anyone would like to share? I know it's pretty open ended, but just wanted to hear some basic painting suggestions from others. Thanks for all the tips.

Re: First Time Painting


The first advice I would give is to not just paint the walls. If you go through all the trouble of covering up the room and raising all that dust, why not do the whole job once and for all!
It is much easier to paint the ceiling and woodwork before the walls. You will get a much sharper cut in line cutting in the wallpaint to the finished woodwork, especially when using blue tape to tape off the woodwork..

Removing paint from interior walls is not worth the effort. It would be very labor intensive and messy. If they appear to be rough with old brush and roller marks and other wear and tear, I would consider putting a skim coat of drywall topping compound over the entire wall surface. Follow buy sanding and re-sealing with a good acrylic sealer. This should also help take care of minor cracks and nail holes etc. Deeper structural cracks should be raked out first and filled with spackling compound ( not the pre-mixed)or patching plaster before the general skim coat.

Don't sckimp on the paint quality. Make sure that if you are using on of the major national brands, that you are using their top of the line. Good quality paints can be had in the $20 to $35dollar range. Make sure that they are 100% acrylic resin based and that the pigment is entirely titanium oxide. Cheap paints will not be able to claim this. As a rule, the more sheen a paint has, the more washable and scuff resistant it is. However, for an adult bedroom, flat or eggshell is fine. As a rule of thumb, a gallon of paint will cover about 300 square feet.

If you are a young couple with many years of painting ahead, invest in some good professional equipment. DON'T buy cheap brushes! Buy enough canvas drop cloths to cover up the entire room. Either empty the room, or pile all the furniture in the middle and cover it with sheet plastic. Then cover the perimeter of the room with "runners". These are longer, narrow dropcloths. Three or four will cover the entire room. Remember, you will have these for years, so spend the money! Also, don't buy cheap roller covers. Cheap covers don't hold as much paint and they will not lay out a nice even layer of paint on the walls.

Lastly, pick the brains of the employees of your local paint store for their advice. They will gladly show you quality paint and equipment and explain why it is really a good value. Remember, if you go to Walmart and buy a $2.79 painting kit, expect a $2.79 paint job! Likewise if you buy the $7.99 gallon of paint!

Re: First Time Painting


Thanks for the tips. The baseboards and trim may receive a paint treatment, but the ceiling will still wait. We have a very ornate ceiling that I'm not ready to touch quite yet.

Would you be able to give more suggestions on the drywall compound topping? Any other suggestions for smoothing out "rough" walls? You can definitely tell previous owners weren't too concerned with making the walls smooth.

For digging out cracks, what would you suggest for completing this task? With the age of the house, we have quite a few and they are currently quite noticeable.

Thanks again for the tips!

Re: First Time Painting


Not having seen how much texture you have to deal with, I assume it is only years of heavy gobbed on paint. The easiest is to use about a 12inch drywall knife and pre-mixed drywall topping compound. Topping compoundis generally used for the final coat on drywall, as it sands much easier than the general joint compound.

Structural cracks are raked out using the edge of a putty knife. You try to cut an inverted "v" groove into the plaster so that the patcing plaster has more grip. After raking it out, take an old paint brush and wet the groove down. This will allow the patching plaster or "Spackle" to bond better. Spackle is actually a trade name for a general dry mix patching compound.These dry chemically. DO NOT use one of the pre-mixed vinyl patching compounds for this. They air dry and are prone to schrinking.

Remember that low sheen paints tend to not highlight the wall irregularities.

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