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How to Repair Walls Before Painting


If you would like to repaint a wall that has been previously painted and has cracks, dings, nail pops, etc., this is the article for you. Today, we will talk about a topic that is closely related to painting – wall repair.

It is obvious that before painting the damaged walls anew, the damage needs to be repaired. You will easily agree with me when it comes to holes in the walls. However, you might not see the need to repair cracks or nail pops. But let me assure you, if those things are not fixed, the result will be a newly painted wall with the damage showing through just the same. Wall cracks will reappear in the matter of hours or days (depending on the crack). Therefore, wall repair is an essential painting preparation step.

It is different from pre-painting surface preparation and actually precedes it, requiring the use of a drywall joint compound and other items depending on the actual problem. Cracks, dings, nail pops, or even holes are very common. Thankfully, they are not too difficult to fix.

So, as you are about to give your walls a fresh new look with paint and are figuring out how to get rid of wall problems, we have prepared this article to help you. Just read on.

Repairing Drywall Cracks

Cracks usually appear at the drywall seams, where two sheets meet. Most of them are surface cracks that do not go deep into the wall. However, sometimes the cracks are caused by settling and structural problems and extend beyond the surface all the way to the studs. To find out what you are dealing with. Carefully open the crack with a flat screwdriver, utility knife or any other similar tool. If the drywall joint tape appears to be intact and is not peeling of, this is a surface crack; otherwise, it is a deep one.

Fixing surface cracks

Simply fill the crack with new compound. When applying the compound, hold the knife at a 70-degree angle and swipe across the crack. Make sure the knife is clean by scraping both sides of it over the edge of the pan or it will leave groves in the surface of compound. Allow the joint compound to dry completely then lightly sand the area (image 3). Wipe away the dust then prime over the area.

Note: priming the freshly repaired area is important to achieve a uniform painted surface. Without priming, such areas will have a slightly different sheen than the rest of the wall and will be visible in brightly lit conditions.

Fixing deep cracks

If the crack extends through the seam’s paper tape, or if the tape has pulled loose from the wall, use a razor knife to cut the tape about 6 to 12 inches from both ends of the damage. Remove the tape but be careful not to tear away the drywall’s paper covering. Scrape away any loose compound. Avoid removing solid, well-adhered compound beyond the crack itself.

Place a strip of fiberglass mesh tape over the seam, bridging the gap between the ends of the existing tape. Fill the crack with new drywall compound, and apply a thin coat of compound to the wall surface where the old tape was removed. Try to smooth it out as much as possible.

After the compound dries, scrape the bumps and ridges created by the first layer. Add a second thin coat of compound over the taped area. Cover the tape and taper or “feather” the edges of the new compound onto the surrounding wall surface. Drywall compound needs to be applied in multiple thin layers because thicker layers are too difficult to smooth out and will eventually cause cracking.

When the second coat is thoroughly dry, sand lightly to smooth out any bumps. Next, use a wide (8- to 12-inch) joint-compound taping knife to completely cover the patch with a third and final coat. Try to blend this coat as seamlessly as possible onto the wall surface.

Sand the area lightly making sure that the edges are feathered and there are no bumps. Remove any dust (with a vaccum cleaner or a brush), then prime the area before painting.

As you can see, dealing with cracks is easy enough. We will tell you how to fix other wall problems for the best painting results in the future articles.

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