Context: Renovating my house and would like all walls to have a "Smooth" finish.


  1. Is it possible to sand or mud the orange peel to create a smooth surface?
  2. Should paint be removed before doing so?

Any advice to create smooth surfaces are welcome.

  • 5
    Make smooth. Apply primer. See all the defects that orange peel was hiding. Rip out walls, correct defects to make wall surface perfectly level when the new wallboard goes on. Wonder where all the money went for a "simple change" that turns out not to be so simple, unless you have a high tolerance for smooth but not nearly flat walls. Beware.... You can put a long straightedge on the walls as they are now to get an idea of just how much trouble you might be uncorking.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Jan 15, 2023 at 19:49
  • 1
    @Ecnerwal — that is an answer I’d upvote Commented Jan 15, 2023 at 22:30
  • 1
    @Max One of the main reasons it's "faster and cheaper" is that you don't spend time and money making the wall adequately perfect to not need to hide what orange peel hides. So the odds that a wall finished with orange peel is anywhere near perfect are astronomically low.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Jan 15, 2023 at 23:24
  • 1
    There will be tape joints, usually about 4’ down from the ceiling running horizontally and in all the corners. These can be too thick, too thin, or have ragged edges. Studs bowing in or out can create hollows or bulges. If you go for it, be aware of areas of the room that get sideways natural light at points in the day/year and from installed lighting — these are the areas you’ll notice. Flat paint is more forgiving of irregularities. Commented Jan 16, 2023 at 3:08
  • 2
    Before sanding anything, be aware of how old your paint is. Prior to 1978, it was legal to sell lead paint in most locations in the US. (Some locations banned it as early as 1960.) If your house is older than '78 and you're not 100% certain that the old paint was removed (not just covered), test for lead before sanding. I'm reasonably certain you can pick up a home lead test kit at most hardware stores for a reasonable price. If there is lead in the paint, do NOT sand it. Either live with what you've got or hire someone to remove it for you.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jan 16, 2023 at 16:42

2 Answers 2


If you are very good with large trowel, you can apply a thin layer of mud over it. Then gently sand it to make it perfectly flat.

Alternatively just sand with 80 grid to remove the orange peel effect and the old paint. Followed by fine grid for smother surface. That would create a lots of dust so use sander with vacuum hose attachment.

  • Sanding off the paint and op is going to produce a surface that requires a complete skim coat. Commented Jan 15, 2023 at 22:29
  • @AloysiusDefenestrate see my option 1
    – Traveler
    Commented Jan 15, 2023 at 22:45
  • some paint can be deeply sanded, some cannot, option 1 veneer plaster will work, clean and sand lightly first to help the plaster stick. also use veneer plaster, not joint compound.
    – Jasen
    Commented Jan 16, 2023 at 10:20

Depending on how deep the orange peel is, I would partially power sand it down with 40-80 grit, then skim with all purpose and sand smooth. This is a lot of work however, I'm going to guess its going to cost as much or more than the original tape job cost on the house if you hire it done.

One issue with mud over paint is that paint does not absorb the micro bubbles in the mud like unpainted drywall, so it is probably going to take at least 3 passes to get these filled in.

Definitely don't plan on Semi-gloss paint on top of this.

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