'Orange peel' on walls

ArapahoMay 8, 2008

A painter told me that I have what is called "orange peel" on my walls from the walls not being sanded?

I'm guessing the only way to eliminate this is to sand them, then prime?

The house was built in 1954 and I have no idea what's in all the layers.

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You need to be very careful sanding these old walls. There is probably lead under the many layers of paint. Lead was taken out back in the late 1970s because of lead poisoning.
You need to wear a good respirator and get some lead test kits at your local paint or hardware store. You can prime these walls with a high build primer. High build primers are really thick and will give you an even surface. They are intended for spray application, although you might be able to roll the product. Then you can use whatever finish you desire. One painter I know uses satin on the walls after using a high build primer and it really looks great when she is finished.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 7:22PM
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Thanks, richardkittyhawk for your help. Is a high build primer available to homeowners or just for professionals? I would have to roll it on. Do you know what products the painter used for satin/primer?

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 10:35PM
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Lori A. Sawaya

I think we forget about lead all too often. Not sure about you guys, but lead paint just wasn't part of my generation's experience. Kind of like black and white TV or no remotes and having to flip a dial ON the TV! lol!

Lead paints are something we all do need to be aware of and on the look out for.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 4:43PM
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If I'm reading your meaning correctly...

Orange-peel texture is an applied texture. It's supposed to be that way.

Main question:
Do you want the slight texture on the wall?

>>> If not, wash then prime the walls. Have a good skimcoat job applied. This takes a practiced hand!
>>> Then prime again, and re-paint.

>>> If your "keeping" the existing texture...wash, prime, & paint the walls.

Fun-C is right...
If the walls are sound, just clean, prime, & re-paint. NO NEED to sand & risk lead exposure.


    Bookmark   May 10, 2008 at 12:45AM
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The 'orange peel' texture is just from years of paint being applied with the roller - that's my understanding of it. It's not supposed to be there.

What is a high build primer and is there one I can roll on? richardkittyhawk mentioned it.

Would that help to level things? If so, what brands should I look at.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2008 at 10:28AM
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The painters I know use Pratt and Lambert Silver High Build Primer and they topcoat with Pratt and Lambert Gold Satin.
It is available to homeowners and painters. It is a thick product and you can probably roll it. Part of the problem is that many painters try to one coat a project and use heavy nap rollers. Smooth drywall should be rolled with a 3/8 nap roller. One word of advice, do not use the new Avalon roller cover by Wooster because it is specifically designed to create the orange peel effect. Use Wooster SuperFab or ProDooz roller cover. Many homeowners buy high quality paint and then purchase a cheap roller cover or brush to paint the job, thinking it will be okay. The quality of your brush or roller covers greatly impacts your finish.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 3:50AM
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I painted my bedroom walls with benjamin Moore washable flat paint. The first coat went on well but the second has a orange peel texture. Not sure why. The second coat was put on several weeks after the first. I used the same 3/8 nap roller which was a good one that the paint store recommended. Maybe it will be less noticeable once the paint hardens. I will live with it but I'm a litle disapointed especially considering the price of the paint. Maybe I should have thinned it or used a new roller cover. Any thoughts?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 8:38PM
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Brushworks Spectacular Finishes


High quality paint applied with a high quality roller (lint free) should provide quality results over a professionally prepared wall.

What may be wrong?

Re-coated too soon.
Too much pressure on roller.
Rolling over paint that has already *set* up. Easy to do with quality, fast drying waterbornes. That will pull the paint and leave a texture.

Tip: In the future, use high quality, 1/2" nap roller covers. Once you begin to roll, do not pause for anything until you've reached a breaking point; corner, door, etc.

The house was built in 1954 and I have no idea what's in all the layers.

You will be working with the top layer. But, avoid any scraping or dry sanding on any walls in that house.

Lead Paint.

You can work safely with lead paint. Follow the guidelines in the EPA homeowners remodeling guide. Wet surface sanding is a safe method. Follow disposal instructions of wash waters.

There are also guidelines to live by when the dwelling is known to have lead based paint and other products. Weekly maintenance reduces the risk.


Here is a link that might be useful: Protect Your Family

    Bookmark   April 5, 2009 at 10:21AM
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