Sign In to join the community | Help

What to do about the previous owner's bad paint jobs?

We bought an old house from the 50's and there are so many layers of paint on the walls. The previous owners did some quick and sloppy paint jobs and now there are thick paint bubbles and streaks everywhere. I don't want to just put more paint on top of the bad paint job as it will not fix anything.


Should I sand the walls?

Should I try to strip off the paint?

Do something else entirely?


Also, would any of this methods be a really bad idea considering that some of the lower layers of paint could easily be lead-based.


Advice is most welcomed!


Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question
Posted 2013-07-11T16:04:03+0000  by TheatreLover7 TheatreLover7

Hi there TheatreLover7,


Thanks for joining our community!~


Congratulations on the purchase, but my condolences on the paint job. It's good that you've done your homework on the lead based paint issue, as that's one that I would have brought up first and foremost. Being that your house has multiple layers of paint and it is within an age where it still was being produced (pre-1970's), there is certainly a risk that  one of the lower layers has lead in it. More than likely though the first layer or two is a harmless latex paint if it's been painted recently.


One way of being able to tell for sure is to have it tested. We sell a Klean-Strip D-Lead Paint Test Kit that will help give you results in minutes rather than waiting for lengthy labwork. This can either give you reason for caution or put you at ease.


As for the fix-up process, normally I would suggest sanding the bubbles and streaks down, but in this case that is the last thing you want to do. While there are Government EPA mandates on certain lead-based procedures, your area may have a different code for commercial removal in your area.


Just as I suggest to people working with asbestos, it's just not worth the risk doing this DIY. If you do find traces of lead in your paint, I suggest calling a local professional in your area to see what they can do about removal/covering the area, especially given the fact that they would almost have to sand to get it to be flat again.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Be sure to Subscribe to your posts!~ Look for the [Options] drop down at the top right of your post and select [Subscribe] from the list to stay alert to new activity or replies to your questions. = )

Also, if this answer was helpful to you or solved your problem, please hit the Accept As Solution button to let us know!~
Posted 2013-07-11T20:08:10+0000  by Jay_HD_CHI



It appears that you are most concerned about the rough appearance of the old paint jobs, yet you are reluctant to sand. Since most of the paint jobs of past years were undoubtably latex paint, it doesn't sand well anyway. It merely clogs up your sandpaper.


Let me offer an alternative:  use a spackle knife to knock down any high spots. Use a razor knife to cut out any loose tape ( if drywall) and bubbles. Now trowel a thin coat of drywall "topping compound' over the entire wall surface. When dry, sand using a drywall sanding block. When smooth to your satisfaction, prime the entire area followed by a finish coat of paint. If you do this, the sanding will only be of the new drywall mud, not the underlying paint.


A dead flat ceiling paint would go far to hide imperfections on the ceiling. The now smooth walls can have any desired sheen.


This is not fun work. It is time consuming and tedious, but it is not brain surgery. It is far less work than  possible alternatives such as stripping the paint. It does not require that you unduly disturb the past painted surfaces and it will leave you with perfectly flat, none textured walls.


Another possibility would be the spraying of a textured finish over the walls, either a heavy "orange peel" or a "knock-down" texture. These heavier textures should hide the past excessive paint imperfections.


Hope this gives you some ideas as to alternatives.

Posted 2013-07-12T04:48:31+0000  by ordjen
Hello TheatreLover7!

With the advent of paint-and-primer in one coatings, you gain the ability to cover unsightly streaks and thin coats of paint.

Behr Marquee is our newest addition to this popular line of paints and with one of the 372-colors in the Marquee color palette, the manufacturer guarantees one-coat coverage.

Before you apply your new coating, take time to repair your walls, using the skim coat technique describe by Ordjen.

As he indicates, this is not a fun process.

However, if you invest time now, you can expect to enjoy perfectly smooth walls for years to come.

One-quarter inch repair Sheetrock is also available to cover severely damaged walls.

Like skim coating, this process takes time and considerable effort ... but is another option for restoring your walls.

Ask your local Building Materials Associate "How To" cover your existing walls with repair Sheetrock.
Posted 2014-12-04T16:19:03+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL
Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question