How to Apply Flat Paint over Satin


Painting can be a tricky process, especially when it comes to applying flat paint over a surface that was previously painted in satin. Since satin finishes are highly reflective and smooth, they require a different set of preparation steps than if you were just painting from the start.

But don’t worry, with some simple preparation and an understanding of the differences between gloss and flat paint, you can have your walls looking fresh in no time.

In this guide, we’ll cover all the important steps on how to apply flat paint over satin so that you can get your room looking amazing quickly and easily.

How to Cover Satin with Flat Paint

Tools you’ll need

  • Paint roller, tray, and cover
  • Drop cloths
  • Cleaning materials
  • Painter’s tape
  • Deglosser
  • Sandpaper
  • Primer
  • Flat paint

Step 1. Clean walls

Before you start painting:

  1. Make sure the room is well-ventilated.
  2. Open all windows and doors to allow for proper air circulation.
  3. Cover any furniture with drop cloths and use painter’s tape to cover trim, walls, ceilings, etc., that you don’t want to be painted.

Wall washing is an essential step in preparation for painting. It allows you to remove any dust or debris from your walls, which will help keep paint from getting stuck on them when applied later.

Before starting this process, ensure all decorations have been removed. This includes pictures, mirrors, and curtains. When ready, start by wiping down the walls with a damp cloth and soapy water to remove any surface dirt. Next, rinse off with clean water from a separate bucket or container.

Step 2. Repair any imperfections

Inspect your walls for any damage. Keep an eye out for any dents, chips, or cracks. These can all be easily fixed with a bit of spackling paste. Apply the paste to the hole, using a putty knife to spread it evenly.

Once the paste is in place, allow it to dry for the recommended time before sanding it down. Be sure to use fine-grit sandpaper, so you don’t damage the wall. When you’re finished, vacuum up any dust.

Step 3. Sand

The next step is to sand the walls with 150-grit sandpaper. This will help to remove any gloss or sheen from the satin paint and make it easier for the flat paint to adhere.

Start at one of the corners and work your way across in even strokes. As you move along, ensure not to press too hard, as this can leave behind scratches on the wall. Instead, take your time and review every inch of the wall, paying close attention to corners and edges.

Can you paint over satin without sanding?

Yes, you can paint over satin without sanding if you use a deglosser as the first step. A deglosser is a chemical solution that helps to remove any gloss or sheen from the painted surface.

Sanding is very effective at creating a smooth, even surface for painting. However, it’s also time-consuming and physically demanding, especially working in a large area. Even if you use tools like an orbital sander, it can still take an hour to sand down an entire surface.

Deglossing is a quicker process and only requires applying the deglosser with a soft cloth and letting it dry for 30 minutes before painting. However, this method is more dangerous as it’s rated harmful to your health if inhaled.

In the end, sanding is still the best option for most people as it’s more thorough and doesn’t come with the same health risks as deglossing.

Can TSP be used to degloss before painting?

TSP, or trisodium phosphate, is a powerful cleaning agent that removes grease and grime from surfaces. However, TSP should only be used as a deglosser after painting. While it will remove any existing gloss from the surface, it will also leave behind a residue that can interfere with the new paint job.

In addition, TSP is highly caustic and dangerous to work with. For these reasons, it is best to avoid using TSP as a deglosser and instead opt for a safer and more effective product.

Step 4. Wash the walls

Once the walls have been sanded, they must be washed. This will help to remove any dust or dirt particles that may have been left behind during sanding.

Mix a solution of warm water and dishwashing liquid in a bucket, then use a clean rag to wipe down the walls. Make sure to review all surfaces and rinse with clean water afterwards thoroughly. Allow the walls to dry for at least two hours before proceeding.

Step 5. Cover baseboards and trim

Before you begin painting, take the time to cover any baseboards and trim with painter’s tape and a drop cloth. This will help to ensure that you avoid accidentally getting paint on them during the process.

Step 6. Prime

Before painting a new wall or ceiling, it’s important to prime the surface first. This will help to ensure that the paint adheres properly and that the finished product has an even appearance.

Polyvinyl acetate primer, also known as PVA or drywall primer, is a good option for priming. The primer contains the same adhesive that’s used in carpenter’s glue, which gives it a strong bond to the surface.

In addition, PVA primer provides a smooth foundation for new paint, helping to create a professional-looking finish. To apply the primer, brush or roller evenly coat the surface. Once the primer is dry, you’re ready to begin painting.

Step 7. Paint

Now that your walls are prepared, it’s time to start painting. For best results, use high-quality paint and a quality brush or roller. Start at the top of the wall and work your way down in even strokes. Make sure not to press too hard, as this can leave scratches on the wall. Instead, take your time and review every inch of the wall, paying close attention to corners and edges.

Once the first coat is dry, apply a second coat if necessary. This will ensure that you get an even, finished look. Allow the paint to dry before removing any painter’s tape or drop cloths.

One coat or two?

Whether you need one coat or two of paint depends on a few factors. For example, the color and type of paint, the condition of the wall, and how much light is shined on the wall affect how many coats are needed for even coverage.

You may get away with one coat for lighter colors and satin finishes. However, two coats are usually preferred for darker colors and higher sheen levels. As a rule of thumb, applying more than one coat when painting over satin paint is always better, as this helps ensure that your walls look even and polished when finished.

Graham Walsh

I want to share everything I know about home improvement in order to help you. Whether you're a home enthusiast or an industry professional, I have the information that you need.

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