How To Paint Over Semi-Gloss Walls

If you are looking to update your walls, you may choose a semi-gloss paint. Semi-gloss paint is a popular choice for walls because it's tougher than latex and gives a moderate sheen. 

However, painting over walls already painted with semi-gloss can be tricky, since new paint won't adhere to the shiny surface, and it runs easier. However, it is still possible to repaint the walls with semi-gloss paint by following these steps.

Prepare to Paint the Wall

To paint semi-gloss walls, gather:

  • work gloves
  • eye goggles
  • a tarp or plastic sheets
  • a broom or rags
  • painter's tape 
  • a screwdriver
  • tack cloths or a HEPA vacuum 
  • a putty knife
  • spackling compound or wood filler
  • 150-grit sandpaper 
  • paint rollers with a nap between 3/16 and ¼ inch and disposable brushes
  • a paint pail 
  • primer and semi-gloss paint

Detach outlet cover screws with the screwdriver, and remove wall hangings. Cover the outlet openings, door trim, and window trim with painter's tape, and spread plastic or tarp on the floor. 

Clean and Sand

Keep a window raised or run a fan to ventilate the area. Use the broom to remove cobwebs and dust, then run a damp rag or sponge over the wall, and let it dry. If the wall is stained or extra dirty, clean it using trisodium phosphate.

Inspect the wall for scratches, cracks or holes, then use a putty knife to spread spackling compound or wood putty on them. Let the repair dry, gently sand the repair area, and clear away sanding dust with the cloth. 

Sand the entire wall, applying smooth strokes in one direction until the shine has been removed, and vacuum the dust. Use a sanding block to make the job easier, or wrap the sandpaper around a wooden block.  

Prime and Paint

Roll a coat of primer on the wall, starting at the top and cutting in corners and around trims or edges with the brush. Let the first primer layer dry, then add another coat, if needed. 

Small roller naps work best with semi-gloss. Using a small pail will help control the amount of paint on the bristles, or nap, which reduces brush strokes on the wall. Stir the paint to mix the additives and pigments, and coat the roller, tapping  away excess paint. 

Apply the paint working in small two feet sections working in an "M" or "W" shape, then go back over the wall. Let the first coat dry, and add a second coat, since semi-gloss paint is thinner. Avoid applying thicker coats to prevent peeling and runs.

For more tips on updating your walls and paint, work with an experienced interior designer