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Smoothing a wall textured with 'acoustic' paint


Low Altitude's Avatar
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07-21-14, 06:24 PM   #1  
Smoothing a wall textured with 'acoustic' paint

A room in my home was painted by the previous occupant with what he told me was a special paint intended to reduce and disperse the reflection of sound (he was a music producer and he used the room to make records, apparently).

The texture of the paint is like a very coarse sandpaper, except with the grains of sand somewhat further apart. Maybe it's great for reducing sound reflection, who knows, but it'll give you road rash if you lean against it and slide, and I personally think it looks hideous.

I have put off doing anything about it because I feared it would be an awful job and who knows, I might end up having to replace the drywall, aarghh. But last week I made an interesting discovery: I was patching a few old nail holes in the wall, and just out of habit i suppose, I got out my little electric hand sander and went over my patches with some coarse paper.

I was surprised and delighted to find that the 'sandpaper' texture of the acoustic paint completely disappeared under my sanding in the vicinity of my patches: the wall was rendered completely smooth. Great!

So my discovery emboldens me to sand down the walls with the acoustic paint and re-paint them. Yippee.

Question: how to go about it, and what sander to use. On my patches, I used my little corner-cat detail sander. BUT I've got about 350 square feet of wall to work in total, and if i take it on with the corner-cat, I'll be at it 'till Xmas. After my post earlier today about removing stickers from drywall, you're all going to think I've get belt-sanders on the brain (I don't own one and of course it's always fun to try new tools), but it'd be good to use something that will cope with the sheer area involved in a reasonably short space of time.

If not a belt sander, then what?

Thanks,

 
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07-21-14, 06:51 PM   #2  
A belt sander would tare the wall to pieces in seconds.
I hate to say it but if I had to do it I'd be using my random orbital sander with my shop vac hooked up to it.
I have 4 different types of sanders, 90% of the time I'm using my orbital sander.
Bought two of my Porta Cable factory reconditioned sanders from CPO Tool and they came looking brand new, manual, case, and 1 year warranty and they work perfect and cost less then $40.00 each
I only use Mirka brand sand paper I buy from Amazon.com.
Going to have to use a light touch, keep it moving so the paint does not heat up and ball up.
Over sand and it will fuzz up the drywall paper and you will have a bigger mess.
Once done the right way most likely would be to skim coat the whole wall with drywall to fill in all the low spots, hand sand, wipe it down with a damp sponge to get rid of dust, prime then two coats of paint.
New drywall sounding better now?

 
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07-21-14, 07:39 PM   #3  
>>New drywall sounding better now?<<

Yeah, right? So maybe start with a standard orbital sander and see how long it might take....

Alternatively, what would you use for the skim coat? Regular joint compound?

Thanks,

 
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07-22-14, 03:47 AM   #4  
Sounds like this may just be standard acoustical ceiling spray but put on the walls. You should try wetting the walls first with warm water and perhaps some fabric softener added to it. Give it a chance to soften up the material and then scrape with a standard 4" flexible finishing knife. I believe there is also a special mix designed to facilitate acoustical spray removal, check the paint stores or HD.

If wet removal doesn't work then you can rent the Porter Cable professional drywall sander that uses a large disc. mounted to a vac. hose. It takes a little getting used to but it will remove the material and vac. it up at the same time.

When you get it all sanded off you would of course wash the wall down prior to proceeding with patching or skimming the walls with regular compound.

One final word, some sprays contained asbestos, do you know when this application was done? If within the last 20 years you should be fine but it may be worth having it checked.

 
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07-22-14, 04:04 AM   #5  
Sometimes it's easier to scrape the walls and then apply a skim coat of joint compound.

A pic or two of the walls might help us identify the texture and what would be the best way to get the job done. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...-pictures.html


retired painter/contractor avid DIYer

 
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07-25-14, 06:49 PM   #6  
>>try wetting the walls first with warm water and perhaps some fabric softener added to it.<<

I'm sorry, but that idea is far too sensible. It offers me almost no opportunity to (1) waste time, money and energy, getting and operating unnecessary tools, (2) make a serious mess, or (3) injure myself...

>>If wet removal doesn't work then you can rent the Porter Cable professional drywall sander that uses a large disc. mounted to a vac. hose. <<

Now you're talking. Power tools!!! Vrooom!!!

I'm sorry, I'm such a kid, but aren't we all....?

The soak-off sounds fantastic (i.e. almost free!) if it works and I will give it a go on Sunday. Stay tuned and thank you...!

 
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07-26-14, 03:57 AM   #7  
Almost all textures are water soluble but if there is paint over the texture it will be difficult to get the water in the texture. Sometimes you can scrape the texture a little which removes some of the paint allowing the water to get to the texture.


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07-26-14, 10:42 AM   #8  
I've tried the fabric softener solution solution, and sadly, as you guessed this morning, the paint over the top is preventing me moistening whatever the gritty crud is underneath. Here's what it looks like, including the paint, which as you see is in a shade of slit-your-wrists asylum green-gray:

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So I think it comes down to sand-or-skim.

The Arnold Schwarzenegger wall sander, while I'm sure it would be a lot of fun....

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.... would have to be rented, which would be costly in time and treasure (I live in Manhattan, have no car, and my local Home Depot, within walking distance, doesn't have one to rent).

So skim with a bucket of joint compound? Maybe, but I've never done a skim coat before, so i have some trepidation: if I mess it up as badly as my first attempts as painting, it'll be highly visible and probably a read headache to rectify.

Maybe, the unglamorous solution would be to sand since i know it works, having patch-tested with my tiny corner-cat detail sander but use a regular hand-held orbital sander, probably hosed to my household vacuum cleaner. Yes, it might take a few hours and my arms will get tired, but I don't have to do it all at one stretch.

Alternatively, I could bone up on skim-coating technique on YouTube and try a small area first, maybe one that will be hidden by furniture later, so the consequences won't be catastrophic if i shag it up. Learning by doing, like everything else...

Decisions, decisions....

 
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07-26-14, 01:10 PM   #9  
That looks like it might be a texture paint which would not be water soluble.

Latex coatings don't always sand well, they tend to 'melt' when sanded which plugs up the sandpaper in short order ..... but it's always worth a try. Skim coating isn't overly difficult. Basically you thin the joint compound a little so it slides better and then apply a thin coat with a wide drywall knife. You might find doing small squares helpful until you get it mastered. Try not to apply the mud too thick, it's easier to add more than to have to sand off the excess.


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10-10-15, 06:55 AM   #10  
Hello All,

In the interests of completeness, I did end up sanding the walls. I used my little Corner Cat sander, simply because I already had it. I attached our little vacuum cleaner in place of the Corner Cat's dust bag, and ran the vac on the lowes setting, which was very effective in minimizing dust nuisance.

The two walls were each about 200 sq ft, and each one took about two hours. If I had been doing the whole house, it would have been worth thinking about a bigger sander that would have made the work go more quickly.

Thanks again all.

 
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