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HANDYMAN Q&A

Remove Stain Before You Repaint Wall

August 13, 2000|POPULAR MECHANICS | FOR AP SPECIAL FEATURES

Question: My 4-year-old son decided to use the living room wall as a canvas for his new crayon set. I've had problems in the past trying to repaint over stains when I was unable to completely remove them. What's the best procedure for dealing with this problem?

Answer: Your first impulse may be to try to paint over the stain, but many stains cannot be covered with paint alone. Rust, grease or oil, crayon wax and magic marker ink may be activated by the solvent (water or oil) in the paint, and bleed back through the new paint. This is true regardless of how many coats of paint you apply. You must either seal over the stain or remove the offending material from the wall before painting.

The best approach is to try to remove the stain material. Check with your local paint dealer for products containing solvents that will remove splattered latex paints, grease, crayons and other stains. Pour some cleaner on a clean cloth, wet the stain and let the cleaner work for a couple of minutes. If you just try to scrub the stain away, you may also remove some wall paint.

If the stain comes off the paint, spot-prime the stain area and then repaint the wall. If the stain proves difficult to remove, you can seal in almost any stain with a shellac sealer. The shellac is fast-drying so it does not activate the stain material, but covers it over.

To avoid the shiny spots due to higher sheen over the sealer, seal the entire wall with shellac.

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