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First time interior painter looking for a helping hand.

Hey there, HomeDepotians!


I've been given free reign to repaint the walls here in my apartment and I've run in to quite a situation.


First and foremost, I realize it is totally my fault for not reading up on this beforehand, I figured it would be simple enough - buy paint, pan, roller, go home, paint, let dry, finish.


Well as I am sure many of you are chuckling at this, I've come to find it is not that easy.


The main portion of my apartment that I need to paint is a terribly ugly semi-gloss white finish. In my previous attempt earlier to go over this color, absolutely NO paint stuck from the roller. At all. It was completely confounding.


After doing some reading, it seems semi-gloss finishes are kind of hit or miss in terms of repainting efforts.


Here are a few bits of information about this project that are hopefully helpful in providing me with proper guideance:


- I live in an old (pre 50's...heck..pre 30's?) apartment building that has probably been repainted dozens of times.

- I do smoke although the primary room I am trying to paint should not have been subjected to much smoke

- I attempted painting on the surface straight away. Nothing. The new coat would not stick AT ALL via brush or roller.

- I attempted washing a small portion of the surface with a highly diluted laundry detergent/warm water solution. After the wash dried this actually seemed to help a bit..but not much.

- The rest of the walls are currently painted with a flat beige latex. This surface (I did not attempt to wash it) would also not accept any new color.


What I have currently:


- A seemingly subpar roller set from WalMart

- Glidden Semi-Gloss interior paint from Home Depot


From what I've been reading, I need (AT LEAST)


- TSP for proper washing given the age of the building

-Sandpaper/block for prepping (potentially) damged areas as needed

- Primer/Stain sealer. From what I've read, Rustoleum's Zinsser line is the best stuff around and looks to be affordable

- WAY better rollers as the ones from Walmart seem to be (predictable) cr@p.


Is there anything I am missing here? Are they any steps I can skip? I'd prefer not to have to spend the time/money to wash (and sand) every wall in here with the TSP if it's not necessary. I'd much rather hit the walls quickly with the Zinsser (the odorless spray looked particularly enticing based on price and function), let that dry and roll my new colors accordingly. Is this a reasonable expectation? Am I missing anything here or making any further critical thinking errors?


Admittedly, I am a total novice at this (it's my first time painting indoors). Any assistance/guideance/tips would be greatly appreciated.





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Posted 2012-03-28T23:38:40+0000  by roymcf45202 roymcf45202




That your paint is not sticking to a semi-gloss paint, I do not find all that surprising. That the flat is also giving you trouble is curious?


If you are a smoker, it is definitely a good idea to wash the walls down with TSP. Water soluble paints and primers will immediately show nicotine bleeding through if it is painted over. If you cannot see any nicotine yellowing after washing the walls, you are probably OK using a water soluble primer to seal your walls and give adhesion for the finish coat. Primers such as Glidden's "Gripper" or Behr's #75 Enamel Undercoater should give you great adhesion. They can also be tinted toward your finish color to aid in coverage should you be using a strong color.


The other possibility for priming is the use of an oil based primer such as the Original Kilz (or new low-odor Kilz) or Cover-Stain. Oil based primers will absolutely seal in any nicotine. Oil primer will also have good adhesion to that semi-gloss paint, especially if it is an oil paint. If you want to check for whether it is oil paint or not, merely sand it with fine sandpaper. Oil paints will dust-up, latex paints will just gum up your sandpaper. Also, denatured alcohol will attack latex paint, but not touch oil paint.


Whether oil or latex primer after washing, your bad adhesion and possible nicotine bleed should be solved.



You can use any good acrylic paint as your finish coat. Behr's Ultra is the the superior product, but the conventional Premium Plus would be very good and cost effective, especially since you will have primed the whole area. Your choice of sheens depends on the use of the room. Generally, the more sheen, the better it washes. resists moisture and the better it resists scuffing.


By painting, the old saying "pennywise and pound foolish" is really  appropriate. A cheap roller will rapdily mat down, preventing it from picking up generous amounts of paint, and prevent it from laying the paint out evenly on the wall. A cheap roller will also give off lint from the nap. This is especially unsightly by high sheen paints. It is generally a good idea to pre-wash a new roller several times to assure that no loose nap lint remains. A damp roller will also be a  "primed" to pick-up the paint initially.  Good rollers will also outlast cheap rollers, being far less expensive in the long run. 


Your local Home Depot Associate will be able to direct you to the suitable primers and equipment.


Posted 2012-03-29T04:44:06+0000  by ordjen
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