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How to Make New Paint Look Good when Previous Paint Was Done Badly

When you invest in putting interior paint on your walls, the last thing you want is for old flaws and problems to show up through the new paint. Cracks, bumps, divots, stains, drips, peeling, flaking… none of these problems will simply go away with a new coat of paint, so what can you do about them? How can you make new paint look fantastic, when the previous paint was done poorly?

The answer depends on the type of flaws and problems you are facing. Let’s look at some of the most common problems, and what can be done about them.

Remediating Uneven Surfaces

If there are divots or holes in the walls, they need to be filled with spackle and sanded smooth. After this, priming is usually a good step.

On the other hand, what if you have bumps, drips, streaks, roller lap-marks, or bits of hair and gunk that were painted on with the previous coat? One option is to use sandpaper or a putty knife to smooth and scrape off these kinds of irregularities in the surface. Be careful, though, since this can lead to the prior paint starting to peel back and ball up. Try it in an inconspicuous area first.

Another possibility is to use a roller with a thick nap (long fibers) and roll your new paint on somewhat thickly. This creates a new roller texture that can mask or reduce flaws from prior painting.

The best solution, however, is skim coating. This is the process of applying a thin layer of drywall compound over the whole wall. When done professionally, this is like a reset button for your wall, giving it a smooth, uniform coating that will look fabulous when painted!

Remediating Cracking, Peeling, Flaking Paint

When your previous interior paint is failing, new paint is doomed to fail likewise unless the problem is remediated. There are a variety of reasons that interior paint can fail, and those causes must be addressed appropriately. For example, if paint failure is caused by moisture in the wall, then the source of the moisture needs remediation prior to applying new paint.

In the case of interior paint that is peeling or flaking, something was not addressed during the surface preparation on the prior coat. All loose paint needs to be scraped off, and whatever problem affects the substrate must be remediated. This may be as simple as washing and priming the surface, or it could require a more technical fix. It is situations like this where the knowledge and experience of a professional painter is indispensable.

Cracked drywall or plaster generally happens as a house settles over time. These cracks will show through the paint, and unless they are very tiny, new paint will not cover them. There is usually not a major “behind the scenes” problem to address here, as house settling is normal. You just need to make sure to fill and/or cover the crack with an effective patch before you paint. Depending on the type of wall and the shape of the crack, a painter might use drywall tape and mud, spackle, caulk, or an elastomeric patching compound.

Hiring a Professional House Painter

In a situation where your previous paint is failing or is poorly done, you are fighting an uphill battle to achieve good results with your next interior paint job. Even if you are normally a do-it-yourself painter, you may want to consider having a professional do this job so you can enjoy clean, fresh, smooth, sound surfaces in your home.

Another reason to think about hiring a quality house painter for the job is that homes built before 1978 are very likely to have lead paint on the walls. If you need to do any scraping, sanding, or repair work on these walls, that can disturb the lead in the walls, allowing it to escape into your home environment. The best plan is to hire a lead-safe certified contractor who can safely perform all the surface preparation and/or remediation.

Southington Painting is a professional painting company based in Plantsville, Connecticut. We offer a full range of interior and exterior painting services, including kitchen cabinet painting, drywall services, wallpaper removal, epoxy floor coatings, deck maintenance, wood staining, and more. Use our online scheduling tool to find a convenient time for your house painting estimate!

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