I am attempting to paint a tuff wall using a latex paint.

It's actually a repaint, so I stripped the old (water based, possibly whitewash) paint using steam and a scraper, allowed the wall to dry and then sanded it with 120 grit sandpaper where it felt rough, then I applied an acrylic primer and a water based (latex/acrylic) paint. The results? Frustrating!

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As you can see there's litterally voids in the paint, as if it never touched the wall, or the wall itself had holes or cracks! This happens both with a paintbrush and with a roller, both on smooth primed and smooth non primed walls.

The primer is an OK one, the paint is too, but pretty thick and used following the manufacturer's instructions, thinning it doesn't help either.

What could I possibly be doing wrong? This doesn't happen on pine and MDF boards, so there must be something wrong with me, the paint or the wall... the paint I stripped was brushed, I could see brush marks but no holes.

  • Was the paint you stripped possibly wall paper painted over? If it was the adhesive residue from old wallpaper can cause these type problems
    – Kris
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 21:41
  • I've never heard of anyone stripping paint from walls before. Nor is it common to sand walls like you described. I think you might have to skim the walls with joint compound to flatten them back out. Take a look at YouTube for some good videos on that subject.
    – isherwood
    Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 0:30
  • @Kris such an interesting question... I would say no, but will certainly investigate. The color was very even, so I dismissed the idea (why use a one color wallpaper when you can use paint?). Any idea about what I can use to remove this glue residue?
    – Dgm
    Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 2:00
  • @isherwood I've tried that, didn't work very well, bad tool, product or worker (myself) was used and it was an unholy mess. But... the wall is flat, almost perfectly flat, and certainly doesn't have those holes. Also, I took the old paint off because it kept flaking off as I put the new one on... so why not just strip it?
    – Dgm
    Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 2:05
  • What are those photos supposed to be showing? Two of them aren't even in focus. Are they all "after" photos? And what is the exact primer and paint you are using?
    – feetwet
    Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 20:32

1 Answer 1


Paint will not fill holes, voids, etc very well. It CAN do it, but it takes many coats and will still never look right.

If you want a smooth surface when you paint, you need to start with a smooth surface.

For a wall like this, go over the whole wall with medium grit (120ish) sand paper to knock down any high spots and roughen up the surface a bit.

Then, using a very wide blade trowel, apply a very thin "skim coat" of joint compound (light duty will be fine) to the entire wall. You're not looking to build up the wall - instead you're looking to fill in all the voids without adding to the overall thickness. Hold the blade of the scraper at a 45° angle, apply the compound evenly but with a fair amount of pressure where the edge of the blade meets the wall to keep it very thin.

Once the compound is mostly dried (not soft to the touch but not bone dry), take a SLIGHTLY DAMP, LARGE (big as you can find) sponge and go over the wall lightly to -- well think of it kind of like buffing the wall. Only don't do lots of circles... just go over the wall to take down any ridges/lines left behind and get that nice smooth surface.

Finally PRIME the wall, then paint.


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