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Smoothing out textured paint in kitchen

The paint currently on the walls in our kitchen and dining area is textured.  My husband believes that several years ago when the kitchen was painted this was done due to the fact that there was wallpaper on the wall (he doesn't know 100% for sure because it was done on a weekend when he was gone by his ex).  When it was removed some of the wall underneath (the drywall?) was damaged/in bad shape due to having a lot of trouble removing the wallpaper.  So then when the painting was done it was done with a paint with something added to it to texture the wall in order to hid the damage.  The result is a painted surface that almost seems to have a grit to it like the paint was mixed with sand so the texture is not super deep but it is definitely not smooth.

I would really like to repaint the kitchen (also looking to replace cabinets too) but would like it to be smooth because the current walls are pretty much impossible to clean (not a good thing in the kitchen!).  I have read tips online about sanding down the texture and then using different products including joint compound, etc to smooth the walls back out to normal.  I am wondering if this is a good idea though if there is at least some damage underneath the paint (the reason it was done in the first place).  Is there anything you can just do over the current texture to smooth it all out and start with a new surface.  Really don't want to have to go to the time and expense of replacing/fixing all the way down the drywall.

Thanks in advance for your help!

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Posted 2013-01-20T01:03:29+0000  by paige79 paige79




Short of replacing the drywall, you have pretty well identified what has to be done: knock down the high spots with sandpaper and then trowel on one or two thin coats of drywall compound until the texture has been smoothed over. If you don't presently see any wrinkles in the existing drywall, I doubt that the the moisture from the  new drywall compound will cause further damage to the wall. If there are wrinkles, cut around them with a utility knife, remove the top layer of drywall paper and prime the paper with an oil based primer. This will stabilize the paper so that it will not continue to wrinkle when subjected to moisture from the compound.


Before you start, you want to try to isolate the area to control the spred of dust. During the sanding, it is a good idea to shut down the heat or A/C if they are on. Shut the heat registers off in the room so that air does not try to return to the air return vent ( assuming you have forced air heat). Tape plastic over the doorways or from the ceiling if neccessary.


After the first coat of drywall compound has dried, knock down any high spots and ridges you may have made using a sanding block loaded with 100 grit sandpaper or sanding screen. Dust the wall down and then apply a second coat to even out imperfections. When dry, once again sand smooth with the sanding block. Use of sanding block is imperitive. If you merely sand by hand, you are sure to get waves in the wall. A flashlight shone along the surface of the wall will help to highlight any remaining imperfections.


If you are satisfied with the smoothness, proceed with primeing the walls with a drywall primer. After priming, you might once again check the walls for minor smoothing touch-ups. The primer will help make irregularities more obvious. Once satisfied, proceed with your finish coat or coats. It will probably take two finish coats to affect a unifom sheen, especially if  a higher sheen paint is being used.


Hope this has helped.

Posted 2013-01-20T05:52:27+0000  by ordjen

Hi Paige - welcome to the community - I see you have already met Ordjen.


If I could add one more thought...You mentioned possibly replacing the cabinets.  I would consider waiting until those cabinets are removed and then simply attach new drywall over the existing walls.  Of course you would want to do what Ordjen suggested and knock down the high points before installing the new panels, 


Step 1


Installing drywall is just cutting the right size, attaching the panels with drywall screws, taping the seams, and applying a skim coat of drywall compound.  I know it sounds like a lot, but it may in fact be less work (and mess) than trying to make the walls perfect as they are in their present state.

Posted 2013-01-21T16:22:28+0000  by Kevin_HD_ATL
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