How do you paint over water stained drywall?

You can't just apply a layer over a water stain, as it will seep; you must first use a water- or oil-based primer. A stained area that is soft or flabby to the touch means that the drywall has suffered an impact and must be replaced before painting it, Lacroix points out. Paint the damaged area with two coats of oil or alcohol-based primer. Use a brush or roller and allow the stain to dry between coats.

This seals in any residual moisture and prevents the stain from penetrating. Before removing the paint, you'll need to thoroughly dry the damp areas. Never apply primer or paint to wet walls. At this stage, it may be tempting to apply a coat of paint directly onto the water stain and end the day.

However, latex interior paints that are commonly applied to ceilings are a poor choice as a base coat rather than a water stain because they are water-soluble. When a water stain comes into contact with latex paint, the stain dissolves in the wet paint layer as the paint dries, causing the discolored mineral content of the stain to reshow through the paint through the paint to the ceiling surface. That's why it's so important to find and repair the cause of the water stain as soon as possible, even if it's no longer wet. The best option for applying a base coat to cover water stains on the ceiling is an oil-based primer that is resistant to mildew and blocks stains, in a shade very similar to that of the existing ceiling.

If you have a smooth ceiling, apply the primer over the water stains with a paint roller with an extension and an 8-inch (2.5 cm) roller cover, then allow the primer to dry for two hours or according to the instructions on the primer package. Painting over the primed area will help match the color to the rest of the ceiling for professional quality coverage. Allow the first coat of paint to dry for up to four hours or according to the instructions on the package, then apply a second coat for more even coverage. If you've looked everywhere and can't find the source of water, it's time to call a contractor to inspect it.

If you have water on the floor, you can use a water vacuum or workshop vacuum to remove it more quickly and efficiently. If you have a textured ceiling, opt for a thicker roll up cover (¾ inch to 1 ¼ inch) or spray onto the primer with a can of primer that blocks stains. Usually, painting directly onto water stains won't work, as the stain will seep through the new paint. Make the necessary repairs or seek the help of a roofer, HVAC professional, or plumber, as needed, and you can prevent future leaks and water stains on the roof.

Oil-based stain-blocking primers (such as KILZ Stainblock ceiling paint, available on Amazon) are insoluble in water, so water stains cannot be filtered. No matter how thorough you are in maintaining your home, you will inevitably discover at one point or another that a leak in the pipes or roof has left signs of water damage on the roof or walls. Choose a paint that matches the color of the ceiling for a uniform appearance, then apply it to the primed area with a roller (choose an 8-inch nap cover for a smooth roof, or a ¾ inch to 1 ¼ inch layer for a textured ceiling). But be careful, as these methods are not guaranteed to reach every corner where water can hide.

Ken Kracke
Ken Kracke

Alcohol fanatic. Unapologetic tv fanatic. Unapologetic zombie lover. Hardcore coffee practitioner. Amateur tv buff. Professional food fanatic.

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