I hope someone here can help as the more I search the internet for advice on this, the more confused I get...
We've just moved in to a newly constructed house.
The plaster on the walls is, of course, all new. It's white (we're in Belgiuim - apparently they don't use the pink stuff here) and has been dry for weeks.
At the moment there is a very fine coating of white dust on the walls.
There are also the usual marks (splashes and various calculations and lines in pencil).
As a new house I'm supposing that we should wait for perhaps one year before doing a final (coloured coat) of paint to allow for any settling and cracks to appear.
However, it's a bit depressing to see all the chalky white walls (and dusty!) so we'd like to at least put a coat of something on the walls. I'm assuming that white is the best option (so that it can be covered easier when we put our final coloured paint on and to make it easier to fill any cracks)?
I'd be grateful for any comments on my above assumptions (but be gentle if they're widely wrong).
I'd also be grateful for any advice on what we can/should paint the walls with now, how many coats we're likely to need and whether we need to treat or prepare the walls first (and how to do that).
Finally, is it worth using special "bathroom/kitchen" paint in the bathroom and kitchen? In our old (rented) appartment the paint was peeling off the walls in the bathroom which leads me to think the wrong stuff was used. But maybe this is just a gimmick?
Hi, once the walls have dried out there is nothing stopping you painting them whatever colour you want. As it's a new house there will most probably be some settling with the walls so expect some small cracks to appear in say the first 12 months. You say the walls have not been painted at all which is strange, usually they are given a couple of coats of something. Maybe it's different in Belgium. Just make sure that you prepare them well first as any marks will show. On the first coat make sure that you thin it well as the walls will be very porous and this will seal them. If you put the first coat on too thickly it will dry too fast to paint it properly and it wont adhere to the walls properly which may cause it to peel. As they should be nice and flat a matt finish will probably be best.
Kitchen and bathroom paint is best in these rooms as they take in the moisture when the rooms are damp then release it when they are drier so you dont get mould. This paint is not a gimmick it does work. Before using it though I would seal the walls with couple of coats of thinned down ordinary emulsion. Good luck.
Hi, yes just a very light sanding to get rid of any little bits that may be on the walls. The more of the marks that you can get rid of at this stage will mean that you will get a better finish and it will be easier to decorate in the future. You may find that the splashes are just that and if you run a scraper on them they will go. As for thinning the emulsion, as they are bare walls they will be very porous so I would go for at least 20% water and see how it goes. If it dries in too quickly put a little more water in otherwise you may get the problems I said about in last posting. Good luck with it.
Hi, forgot to put that the cracks that appear in the first 12 months should only be hairline cracks and if you want to touch them up it shouldn't stand out too much if you use a matt finish. If you think they need more then you could just give the walls another coat. If you do do the latter try putting some masking tape on the top of all skirting boards so emulsion wont spit or splash onto that. That way you shouldn't need to redo the gloss work.
Just one thing - and sorry if this sounds dense - when you say "touch up" the hairline cracks I assume you mean with "filler"? If so then I suppose we should stick with white/off-white emulsion for now until those cracks appear?
Or there as many filler colours these days as paint colours?
Hi Matteo, when I said to touch up the hairline cracks I meant to put filler in them rub them down and then put more paint on them. It doesn't matter what colour you use as it will have only been up for a short time so it shouldn't show too much. If the cracks are quite deep run a putty knife in them to open them up a bit first. Then put the filler in so that's it's just a little bit proud, then once it has dried just rub the filler down so that it's flat then put a little thinned down emulsion on as it will dry out quickly on the filler then put some of your finish colour on top and it should cover it up. If you find that you can see the difference in the colour and you don't like it then just do as I said in my last post. If you want any more help don't be afraid to ask, I don't bite LOL. Good luck.
Once again, thanks! I'm pretty sure I have it now...
My original thought was that after I'd prepared the walls (using light sandpaper to get rid of marks and even out the surface) that it would better to use white paint (like the plaster). Then, when I later filled in any settlement cracks with (white) filler this would not show up so much against the existing white paint and would also mean that our coats of coloured paint (our final colour) would be more even.
However, it seems that we should be able to go ahead with a "final" colour? (after the preparation and thinned out first coats). I should be able to smooth out any later filler enough so that a subsequent coat of paint (which in any case we would need to do if we started off with white) would cover without showing through.
If this is correct then fantastic. Looking at clean white walls for a year is a damn sight better then looking at dirty white plaster but looking at our final colour scheme would be even better!
Hi Matteo, sounds like you have got it now. If you do have settlement cracks which I'm sure you will have some they will need seeing to whichever paint you use so why not carry on and use your prefered colour. Just remember what I said about matt and silk finishes. A matt finish wont show up as much as a silk one if you try to cover up the filler with it and also a matt finish will hide blemishes better.