How to Paint Over Existing Paint

A collection of painting supplies.

Q. I would like to paint over a hallway that I have. When we bought the place it was some kind of a shade of orange — not a bright orange but a dull color. I don't even have a name for it. But I would like to paint it in a lighter color. I do believe that it is at best a semi-gloss, but it really could be a full gloss as it's so shiny. It makes the hallway seem so dark and dingy, especially at night. I was thinking of a green, maybe a pastel green, really nice and light, but I'm not sure if I have to prime the walls first or if I could paint right over it. I'm a busy lady and don't have a heck of a lot of time so I don't want to waste my time and paint it this light color and have to go over it three or four times. Would priming it first be the way to go?

A. Yes, in short, you should prime the walls. This will make your new paint adhere to the glossy surface much better and keep it from peeling and flaking as well as cover what would be a difficult shade to cover without priming. If the orange is deep, you'll want a tint-able primer, which can be tinted to, more closely match your topcoat cover than white would. You'll need to make sure the walls are clean and free of any loose or peeling paint if any is there.

Usually glossy surfaces need to be lightly sanded to help paint adhere through neutralizing the gloss however if this isn't practical then prime them well. If there are any stains or anything such as ink, crayon, etc. on the walls, use a stain blocking primer. Lightly sand the walls. To make this task easier, buy a sanding pole from the local big box. Don't use coarse grit. All you want to do is knock a little of the shine off. Make sure all the dust is gone. Prime with a quality primer and topcoat with a quality paint.

Visit our Community Forums for more answers to your home improvement questions.