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How to Paint Untextured Walls

Kittie McCoy

Painting an untextured wall might sound easy, but getting paint to stick to a smooth surface can be a challenge. Most drywall or plaster walls have at least a small amount of texture you can feel when you run your hand over the surface. Wall panels, however, can be perfectly smooth and even slick.

This slick surface can repel the paint and lead to an uneven texture or chips. Fortunately, you can paint an untextured wall with good results as long as you take the time to properly prepare it.

  1. Sand the walls lightly with 220-grit sandpaper. This will create a slight texture on the walls to help the paint adhere.

  2. Clean the walls with a sponge and soapy water made from a mild liquid soap and warm water. Rinse the walls with a sponge dampened in clean water and dry the walls thoroughly with a lint-free towel.

  3. Apply an alcohol-based primer to the walls with a short nap paint roller. These paint rollers are labeled as 1/8 to 1/4 inch and designed for smooth surfaces. Wait for the primer to dry.

  4. Paint the walls with an interior latex paint and a clean short nap paint roller. Wait for the first coat to dry and then apply a second coat of paint.

  5. Tip

    Apply the primer and paint to the walls in a diagonal pattern to create overlapping Ws or Ms. This will help ensure a smooth and even coat of paint.