How to paint over previously dark painted walls? Please help!

song98September 26, 2009

My husband and I just bought a 7 year old house in which several rooms have been painted very dark colors. One is bright, deep red, another one purple (like the color of an eggplant), another maroon/wine color and another navy blue. We plan on filling in nail holes and sanding and then washing the walls. I figured if we paint over these walls with a lighter color, they will need to be primed and one or two coats of paint used? Is that right? But my question is, if we want to paint over these dark colors, like for instance the red, with another color equally as dark such as brown, or dark blue-green over the maroon wine colored walls, would we still have to use primer? Could we get away with just one coat of paint? We are thinking about using either ACE Royal or 2nd. highest grade of Valspar or 2nd highest of S/W. In this instance, is one paint better than others? We need to watch our budget as the whole house was badly neglected and needs to be done before move-in, however we want to do it right.

Really appreciate any advice, as the last time we painted was years ago and that was with pastel colors covering white walls! Thank you in advance.

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It's actually easier to cover a dark color with a light shade than the other way around. My painting contractor client taught me this years ago.
That said, I think that to go ahead with one coat of primer all over the whole house makes sense. You will get a better feel for the rooms and the lighting and it will be much easier to get a nice smooth painted finish when you choose your colors. I've recently painted both my kitchen and my long entry with Ace Sensations flat matte finish. It went on so nice and is supposed to be a washable finish. I loved the look. And my kitchen was red. Put on one coat of white primer and started painting. Keep in mind that even if you use one of the better quality one-coat paints, you will still save money by using primer first. It's less expensive than paint, and if you wanted to skip the primer step, you would for sure need two coats of paint.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2009 at 10:45PM
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BenMoore's Aura is self priming and covers most colors in one coat, never more than two. It is available to sample in 2 ounce jars in the "Affinity" color palette. That would be an inexpensive to way to try this high end paint on your dark colors and see if it will cover well. And it provides a beautiful depth of color unlike other paints.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2009 at 12:11PM
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Don't think of primer as a tool used to help with coverage over dark colors. This is like one of those old wives tales that just isn't true, but somehow everyone thinks it is. Primer is a sealer and using it will mean your topcoats will perform better. But, primer covers terribly. Also, wash your walls first before patching. You don't want to wash off your patchwork.

If you want to do it right, one coat of paint is hardly ever enough, unless you are using flat paint. If you are using anything washable (eggshell, satin, semi-gloss) then two coats is needed for sheen uniformity and that second coat is what gives the paint that film build that is required for the paint to be really durable and washable.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2009 at 12:16PM
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Years ago we had a dark navy blue dining room and I had primed it with two coats of BIN primer before painting it Antique White. The results were beautiful and created a nice clean base. As for painting your color, I have always heard that two coats are necessary to achieve the best color results.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2009 at 8:55AM
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