The Complete Guide to Painting Eggshell Over Semi-Gloss

Painting your walls a new color can be an exciting home improvement project to take on, but what if you want to change the finish as well? If you have semi-gloss finish walls and you want to switch to eggshell finish, you may be wondering if it’s possible and what steps you need to take.

You can paint eggshell over semi-gloss, but it requires the correct preparation to ensure proper adhesion of the new paint. The first step is cleaning the surface and then priming. A high-quality primer will create a base coat that helps the eggshell paint stick to the semi-gloss surface.

In this article, you will learn:

  • Why painting eggshell over semi-gloss can be challenging
  • How to paint over semi-gloss with eggshell paint
  • Tips for achieving a smooth and even finish

Why Painting Eggshell Over Semi-Gloss Can Be Challenging

Painting eggshell over semi-gloss can be more challenging than painting eggshell over other finishes. This is due to the slick surface of semi-gloss, which makes it difficult for the eggshell paint to adhere properly.

Proper surface preparation is one of the biggest challenges when painting over semi-gloss. Proper surface preparation ensures the eggshell paint sticks and doesn’t peel or flake off over time. This may require sanding or a deglosser to rough the surface and create a better bond.

Another challenge is achieving an even finish. Due to the slick surface of semi-gloss paint, eggshell paint can often appear streaky or uneven. To avoid this, applying a thin coat of paint is recommended and waiting for it to dry completely before applying additional coats.

Overall, painting eggshell over semi-gloss can be a bit more challenging than other types of paint jobs. However, with proper preparation and technique, you can achieve professional results.

How to Paint Over Semi-Gloss With Eggshell Paint

Tools and Materials

  • Zinsser’s B-I-N Primer Sealer
  • Eggshell paint
  • Sandpaper
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint roller and tray with liners
  • Painter’s tape
  • Drop cloth or plastic sheeting
  • Tack cloth

Step 1: Cleaning the Surface

The first and most important step is cleaning the surface you will paint. Dust and dirt can disrupt the adhesion of the new paint, so it is important to thoroughly remove all traces of such. Use a clean cloth or a tack cloth to wipe the surface clean.

Can I use TSP to clean the walls?

TSP (trisodium phosphate) is a powerful cleaning agent that can remove tough dirt and grease from almost any surface. However, it contains chemicals that may cause extensive damage if used on painted surfaces. Therefore, using TSP when cleaning walls before painting is not recommended.

Step 2: Remove the Gloss Layer

To achieve a smooth and even finish when applying eggshell paint over a semi-gloss surface, it’s crucial to eliminate the glossy layer to ensure adequate adhesion. There are various ways to remove the gloss layer based on personal preference and requirements:

Option 1: Sandpaper

Sandpaper is a commonly used option, especially for small areas or when dealing with stubborn spots. Sandpaper is used to remove gloss and smooth the surface to prepare it for painting. However, the process can be messy and time-consuming, resulting in a lot of dust.

Option 2: Deglosser

Liquid deglosser is another option perfect for large areas and rooms where sanding can be a pain. It removes the gloss layer effectively by dissolving it, leaving behind a clean, matte surface perfect for painting. It is easy to use, quick, and leaves no mess, making it a favorite for many DIY painters.

Option 3: Paint Stripper

Lastly, a paint stripper is a more aggressive option, usually reserved for surfaces with a thick gloss finish or when the other options have failed.

It chemically dissolves the gloss layer, stripping it off the surface and leaving a matte and clean finish. However, it can be messy and require extra safety precautions, such as proper ventilation and protective clothing.

Step 3: Taping and Covering Surfaces

Use painter’s tape to protect areas you don’t want to paint, such as trim, outlet covers, or baseboards. Use a drop cloth or plastic sheeting to cover floors, furniture, or anything else that needs to be protected from paint.

Step 4: Applying the Primer

Before applying the eggshell paint, it’s important to apply Zinsser’s B-I-N Primer Sealer. The primer will adhere better to the surface and create a smooth surface for the new paint to lay on.

Use a paintbrush to apply the primer to the corners and edges and a roller for larger areas. Allow it to fully dry before moving on to the next step.

Step 5: Applying the Eggshell Paint

Now it’s time to apply the eggshell paint. Pour the paint into the roller tray. Dip the paint roller into the paint and roll it back and forth until it is fully saturated.

Starting at the top of the wall, begin rolling the paint. Be sure to apply even pressure throughout. Use a small brush to paint corners and edges.

Step 6 (Optional): Apply a Second Coat 

Once the first coat is dry, check if you need a second coat. If so, repeat step 5 to apply the second coat.

Step 7: Cleaning Up

After the paint has fully dried, it’s time for cleanup. Remove painter’s tape and plastic sheeting carefully to avoid removing fresh paint. Clean brushes and roller trays with soap and water.

10 Tips for Achieving a Smooth and Even Finish

  • Use a damp cloth to clean dust and debris from the surface before painting.
  • Repair any holes, dents, or cracks in the wall before painting.
  • The right technique can make all the difference in achieving a smooth and even finish. Always use long, straight strokes and paint in the same direction. Start at the top and work your way down to avoid drips or runs.
  • Painting takes time. Rushing will only result in a sloppy paint job. Take your time, and let each coat dry completely before applying the next one.
  • High-quality paint and brushes will make a significant difference in the result. Cheaper paints and brushes may save you money, but you’ll likely have to apply more coats, and the finished product may not be as smooth or even.
  • Use a paint grid or a paint tray to apply the paint. This will prevent a buildup of paint on the edges of the brush, resulting in a smoother finish.
  • Paint in a consistent direction and avoid going back over an area that has already been painted. Continuing to go over an already painted area can cause unevenness.
  • Paint thin layers instead of thicker ones. It’s best to go with multiple thin layers of paint, rather than one thicker layer as it will dry much more evenly.
  • Take advantage of natural lighting to identify any areas that need touch-ups. Direct sunlight is ideal for revealing any unevenness or missed spots.
  • Using a roller can help create a smoother and more even finish, especially for larger surfaces. Make sure to use a high-quality roller that is meant for the type of paint you are using.

Joshua Milton

Joshua Milton is a passionate DIY and home improvement enthusiast. With his expertise in various projects, he provides practical tips, step-by-step guides, and creative ideas for transforming your living space.

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