Question about interior painting

Michael_K_Sr

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In a momentary lapse of sanity, I offered to paint the inside of my mom's place in the next month. The painting itself I don't mind. It's the prep work and cleanup that are a major pain. Anyhow, her walls haven't been painted in about ten years and I know they are probably dirty and dusty. Even though I'm going to prime the walls, I know they need to be cleaned. What's the best way to do this? Should I just use dry cloths or do I need to use soap and water? Or do I need to use something else?
 

andrew markworthy

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It depends very much on: (1) the surface you're painting; (2) what you're going to paint it with; and (3) how dirty they are.

If you are putting paint on paint, then the chances are that all you will need to do is wipe down the walls with soapy water. Probably the best thing to do is to find the paint you want and check the instructions on surface preparation on the container.

If the walls are very dirty, then you may need to consider stronger cleaners. In the UK, something called 'sugar soap' is often recommended [I don't know if you use the same term in the USA - it's a granular substance that dissolves in water - hence the name]. I've used it and it worked on the job I was doing, but I found it really went for my skin and eyes, so be careful (I ended up using goggles and gloves). And of course, make sure the room you're working in is well-ventilated.

One final thing (and apologies if this is stating the obvious). If you need more than one tin of the same paint colour (sorry, color) try to ensure they come from the same batch (in the UK at least you can check this by looking at the time and date they were prepared and/or are 'best before' printed on the container). I was recently painting my parents' house and we got two tins of the same colour but from different batches, and the shades were slightly different but just sufficiently different to be annoyingly different.

Hope this helps.
 

Dennis Nicholls

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Andrew, is that stuff you were calling 'sugar soap' what we Yanks call TSP (tri-sodium phosphate)?


A further point of confusion is that in the US there's a powdered brand-name cleaner called "TSP" that says on the box that it "contains NO tri-sodium phosphate".
 

Brian Perry

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If you do get cans (sorry, tins
) from different batches, you should mix them togehter in a 5-gallon pail. That way, any slight differences in shade would be eliminated.
 

Michael_K_Sr

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I've already bought the paint and primer and I bought both in five gallon containers so the tint difference should not be a problem. A question or two about cleaning with this TSP. Is it sufficient to use an oversized sponge or do I need to use a scrub brush with it? Also, does a second pass need to be made with clean water to "rinse" the residue from the walls or can I just start priming after the stuff dries?
 

Brian Perry

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A sponge should be fine (unless you've got caked on gunk). I would make a quick pass with clean water to rinse.

Can I ask why you are going to prime the walls? My experience is that priming is necessary only if:

1. You are switching from oil to latex (or vice versa).
2. You are dramatically changing the color from light to dark (or vice versa).
3. You are repairing nail pops or other areas requiring drywall compound, in which case I recommend at least two passes of "spot" priming. (This will prevent "shiners," a telltale sign of a poor paint job). If you have many repair areas on the wall, then go ahead and prime the whole thing.

Otherwise, I would just put the paint right over the previous paint, but be sure to use two coats. In my opinion, there is no such thing as one-coat paint, no matter the manufacturer claims.
 

Michael_K_Sr

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I'm priming the walls because she previously had some water damage that caused a few dark spots on the ceiling. In addition, there's a 2-3 foot long section of drywall paper that bubbled out from the same water damage. I'm planning on cutting that bubbled section out and skimming the area with drywall compound.
 

LewB

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I had a similar situation (spots from water damage) in my laundry room. I used Kilz primer and was very pleased with the results. I believe that Kilz is just tinted shellac (so you can use a substitute if you like). I've never had a problem with the spots re-appearing after using the Kilz.
 

Mike OConnell

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One thing that works well is to get the primer tinted to 75% color of the paint you are using. This will result in a very uniform color application, allow you to see where you have painted, and definitely require only one final coat.

I use this technique whenever priming is required.
 

LewB

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I've heard this before and have a question about the primer tinting ...
A while back I painted an off-white wall with a red shade of paint, the folks at the local mega home improvement place suggested I prime the wall with primer that was tinted grey. It worked quite well.
 

Mike OConnell

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Grey primer works well with the application of a dark color and also allows one-coat for the final coat. It will tend to make the color look richer. If you were to paint several rooms a darker color this would allow you to use the same primer in all the rooms.
 

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