Best way to remove textured paint?
March 25, 2010 12:49 PM   Subscribe

What are your top tips for removing textured paint from a plastered wall?

I *think* the wall is plastered (it's not drywall). It's in very bad shape, and part of it is painted in a sand-textured paint (ie it's like someone dumped a bunch of sand into the paint). Complete replastering/getting a professional in is not really an option at this stage, as we need to move in in a month and have a limited budget. But I really don't want to just paint over a wall that is partly textured, and partly not.

Google can't tell me whether sanding is a good option, or whether we should just go for a paint remover gel. Have you ever removed textured paint? Which method would you recommend?
posted by different to Home & Garden (12 answers total)
I'm facing a similar problem in house that I'm hoping to buy. One person suggested wetting it and seeing if it scrapes off. Sanding will make a terrible mess, if you try it be sure to wear a mask and open the windows.
posted by mareli at 12:52 PM on March 25, 2010

Seconding the "terrible mess" observation. This is going to be awful. Anything you can do to avoid sanding this down is almost certainly going to be worth it.

I'd stick your head into your local paint/hardware store and see what they can do to help. They're almost certainly bound to have a number of products you can try. Test a small spot in a corner near the floor and see how it works before you buy a ton.
posted by valkyryn at 1:00 PM on March 25, 2010

I just read your question to my wife, a former professional house painter. She laughed and said, "C-4."

That's gonna be a helluva job.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:08 PM on March 25, 2010

I feel your pain. Most of our house was textured (even the woodwork!) when we bought it. Days, days, days of sanding. I really only recommend that as a last resort.
posted by something something at 1:10 PM on March 25, 2010

This might be totally off the wall ( pun intended), but we have friends who covered their plaster-disaster walls with tightly stretched fabric. It actually looks pretty damn good, and they found some bargain fabric that did two rooms for under $100.
posted by lobstah at 1:14 PM on March 25, 2010

I would skimcoat with wallboard compound. See pro's answer to similar question here.
posted by beagle at 1:44 PM on March 25, 2010

Put up with the nastiness until you can afford to get a plasterer to skim it. This may take less long than trying to get it off.

Or maybe you could wallpaper over it?
posted by emilyw at 1:50 PM on March 25, 2010

I wouldn't even mess with it. I'd tear it out and put drywall in. Drywall is cheap and easy. Plaster repair is a complete pain in the ass.

As a last resort I'd even rather go out and buy 1/4" drywall and screw that in over the top of the existing wall and mud that up than try resurfacing plaster.
posted by sanka at 2:19 PM on March 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Speaking as someone who bought a house with aging lath-and-plaster walls: if you were to try to sand, soak, or chemical-soften the paint off, it's quite possible you'd take some of your underlying wall with it. The "untextured" surface you're revealing may have unintentional chunky cracked texture. Make sure of what you're getting into before you start scraping/sanding/etc.
posted by aimedwander at 2:32 PM on March 25, 2010

We had a living room with similarly crappy and uneven sanded texture all over. We got a couple of gallons of Behr Texture Paint and rolled it on with the looped roller, per instructions. Then we basically scraped it down with a large drywall knife. The result is quite good for the time put in--it took some time to get the technique down, but it looks a lot better--almost like an intentional plaster effect.
posted by tybstar at 3:50 PM on March 25, 2010

nth-ing either skim-coating over it or ripping out and drywalling it.
posted by jferg at 7:51 PM on March 25, 2010

Thanks for all your experiences. Just knowing that there was no good way to do it was really helpful! We ended up scraping it off with a putty knife (luckily the plaster was in pretty poor condition so it all came off fairly easily) and papering over the wall, which came up looking pretty good.
posted by different at 12:39 PM on May 1, 2010

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