the painted surface
How To Paint Over a Faux Finish
As styles, fads and tastes change there comes a time when updates are needed. What once seemed appealing is no longer attractive. The photo shows a faux finish that is dated and in need of a makeover. The blue faux painting was probably applied with a sponge which left a slightly rough texture on the wall. A metallic paint was used for the faux gold starbursts. Painting over the faux finish completely renewed the look of this bathroom.
The Steps To Paint Over Faux Paint
- The faux finish should be at least two weeks old to ensure the paint is completely dry.
- Determine if the paint you will be using will adhere to the faux painting.
- Remove nails, hooks, switchplates, outlet covers, hardware, etc.
- Scrape the walls using a wide putty knife.
- Sand the walls until the desired smoothness is obtained.
- Prime if using incompatible paints.
- Patch holes, dents, cracks and skim coat any roughness not smoothed from sanding.
- Sand the patching compound and spot prime those areas.
- Paint two coats of the finish paint.
The Faux Finish Should be Completely Cured
Since you will be doing a lot of work on this surface it will be best if it is completely dry, cured and hard. Paint, especially latex or acrylic, does not scrape and sand well because it stays pliable in order to expand and contract with the surface on which it is applied. That is good for durability but not for sanding. In order to have the best surface for the preparation needed the previous paint should be at least a couple of weeks old.
Is the New Paint Compatible With the Faux Paint?
Acrylic and latex paint should not be directly applied over an oil-base paint. The water-base paints will not adhere well to the oil-base paints. So how do you tell if the old finish is an oil-base paint? Water-base paints will soften when exposed to alcohol, oil-base paints will not. Moisten a rag with alcohol and rub a spot on the old paint, if the paint dissolves onto the rag the paint is most likely a water-base paint and can be painted over with either an oil-base or water-base paint. If the paint does not dissolve, it is most likely an oil-base and must be painted over with another oil-base paint.
If you are painting over an oil-base paint but want to use a water-base product then a primer is needed. An "acrylic bonding primer" can be applied over the oil-base paint to prepare it for the water-base paint.
There are water-base paints that some manufacturers say can be applied directly over oil-base paints. These are fairly new to the market and they are mentioned here to inform you of your options. If you choose to go this route make sure the paint is 100% acrylic, not latex, and is stated so on the product label. It will be best to test an area to make sure the new paint will adhere to the old.
Remove the Obstacles
Take anything out of the room and off the walls that can be removed. A clear and clutter free workspace is a safer and easier place to work. Make sure to look closely for and remove nails, hooks and screws. These are sometimes camouflaged by the patterns and textures of the faux finish. Eye protection should always be worn when working. If the faux paint is on fixtures, switchplates and outlet covers they can be removed and placed in some warm soapy water which will usually soften the paint enough to remove it. If new towel racks, toilet paper holders or hardware will be installed now is the time to remove the old anchors and mounting plates.
Scrape the Walls
This may or not be necessary depending on the faux finish you are painting over. If there are bumps or spikes of paint on the walls these can be scaped off using a putty knife. A 4 or 6 inch wide blade does a pretty good job of shaving off the bumps. If the knife has been used much in the past it may have a sharp edge which is good for the scraping but be very careful as to not slip and cut yourself. Wear hand and eye protection and scrape in the direction away from your body. You just want to remove the roughest areas with this method, sanding may also be required.