Tips for reviving and repairing interior paint starting with prep work



Have the children moved? Is it time to paint their rooms the colors you want? Are empty walls full of pinholes from their Justin Bieber, Beyonce and Vans posters?

Before you cover their questionable paint colors with your finer choices, you may need to do some repair work.

Clean the walls. The quality of any paint job depends on how you prepare the walls. Start by putting on a pair of big, thick rubber gloves and eye protection, then wash your walls with the TSP (trisodium phosphate) cleaner and rinse them with clean water. It will be the start of the best paint job your home has ever seen.

Inspect for defects. Once the walls are sparkling clean, examine their surface inch by inch. Check if there are any scratches in the texture of the drywall (maybe from moving furniture) or ink stains left by a super creative kid. Move a light across the surface. When you find a hole or chip, stick a piece of tape next to it so that it can be easily found when repairing. Use duct tape. A pencil or a pen can go through the paint.

Repair damaged walls

Ink stains: Seal ink stains by spraying a primer called KILZ, just on those stains. Cover drywall texture imperfections with a simple application of drywall mud.

Pinholes: Paint alone will not cover pinholes or nail holes. Fill the pinholes with patching compound. Apply it with a putty knife, spreading it thinly on the wall. Allow to dry before sanding lightly with fine-grit sandpaper.

Torn drywall

To repair torn drywall, cut any loose paper. Seal the exposed drywall with a stain resistant primer. This prevents the drywall from absorbing moisture from the soon to be applied joint compound. Wait for the primer to dry, then sand the exposed edges of the drywall to remove any paper bumps. Cover the gouge with a thin layer of joint compound, spreading it along the wall. If necessary, apply a second coat while plucking it as well. Wait for it to dry and sand it gently.

Tip: When using joint compound, cover it with a primer before painting to avoid the “flickering” that occurs when joint compound absorbs paint and dulls the finish.

Scuffs: Use a cloth or microfiber cloth to remove dust and debris that has marred the appearance of the paint. Dusting will make cleaning more efficient.

Joe Campbell, Arizona Painting Company, a Rosie Certified Partner, suggests removing scuff marks with a damp cloth or wipe. Depending on the paint finish, some marks will come off easily. Otherwise, use mild dish soap. For stubborn stains, ammonia, vinegar, or baking soda diluted with water will work in most cases.

Never mix ammonia with bleach. The fumes are toxic and the mixture will destroy the paint. Avoid using bleach or coarse scrub brushes. Open windows during and after cleaning to ventilate.

If you encounter mold, don’t worry. Hire a professional mold repairer to remove it.


Apply a colored primer. If the walls are already painted, spray the primer on the holes and scratches you are repairing. However, if you are painting walls that have never been painted, you will need to prime them.

Most paint primers are white, so ask your paint store to add some shadow (a clay pigment) until the primer turns a slightly gray color.

Once the gray-tinted primer is on the wall, it will accentuate imperfections. This will give you another chance to make it perfectly smooth before applying the paint. And once you’ve painted over the primer, you’ll be able to clearly see any areas where the paint has rolled too thinly.


Before painting, hold a large spotlight about a foot from the wall. Place your nose the same distance from the wall and let the light show you the last little imperfections in the texture. Rub a diluted mixture of drywall joint compound over the blemishes, using an eight- or 10-inch drywall knife. Let it dry. Then, re-prime only those spots before painting.

Touch-up Paint: “One of the biggest and most common mistakes in touching up paint is selecting a shade that is different from the original paint,” said Campbell. “It could make the situation worse by painting over an imperfection with mismatched paint. “

Campbell recommends using the original paint color and the tool used to apply the original paint coat. If a roller was used, use it for touch-up. The same goes for brushes, sprayers, etc. This will help the paint mix.

Another tip is to thin the paint slightly with water for a homogeneous mixture. This will make the touch-up less noticeable because a thinner paint looks better than a thick paint stain.

Stir the paint thoroughly, especially if it has been in the garage or other unconditioned storage cupboard for a long time. You want the paint to be as smooth as possible for a nice, clean look when dry.

Applying a New Coat: Select a flat paint for the repaired walls. It hides imperfections like coated nail holes, better than gloss.

Use high quality painter’s tape to protect the ceiling when painting the edges of the walls, and vice versa. It will also help keep paint out of windows, woodwork, trim, and anything else you don’t want the paint to apply on.

Do not paint straight, vertical lines. You’ll end up with visible lines that show where one stroke left off and the other started, and the glow on the wall won’t be consistent.

Instead, using a roller, paint a large “W” on the blank wall, then paint a few large “X’s on top of it. Fill in the gaps by rolling paint in vertical lines.

Use a cheap roller, get cheap results. Invest in a good roller that will apply the paint evenly and last beyond that job.

If children return and tow with their children, let them repair any further damage.

Join Rosie on the House every Saturday morning from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KTAR News 92.3 FM. If you would like to send us questions or comments, send an email to mailto: [email protected] Follow us on Twitter and “Like us” on Facebook. For more DIY tips, visit An expert in the Arizona home construction and remodeling industry since 1988, Rosie Romero is the host of the syndicated radio show Rosie Saturday Morning on House Radio. Call 888-767-4348 with questions and comments.


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