How to paint an uneven wall

How to paint an uneven wall

Anne, Painter, Cambridge

Guide written by:

Anne, Painter, Cambridge

35 guides

If you want to paint an uneven wall, you'll have to use a special type of very thick paint designed to fill in hairline cracks and surface holes. As long as your wall only has superficial faults, a high-build paint will be able to give you a good result without you having to fill in and sand down the wall first.

Important features

  • Composition
  • Applications
  • Alternatives
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Paints for uneven surfaces


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Paint designed for uneven surfaces may be sold under a range of names including elastomeric paint, high-build paint, crack-free paint or smoothover paint (which is basically a filler and undercoat in one). These paints are much thicker than ordinary paints which gives them much better coverage. The first coat can be applied using a roller or a trowel.

High-build or smoothover paint applications


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A high-build paint is ideal for covering:

  • hairline cracks;
  • minor bumps;
  • surface scratches.

A smoothover paint, which is essentially a paint and filler in one, also has its advantages: it will save you time and is relatively cheap. However, if your wall is very uneven, this paint will not be enough to cover up any major imperfections.

Please note: you should never apply this type of paint directly onto old, flaking paint. You will need to start by removing the layer of damaged paint by sanding.

Alternatives to high-build paint

If you are in the process of redecorating, there are a few different alternatives to high-build or smoothover paint. Your choice will depend on the condition of your walls and the type of decorative finish you want.

Stucco


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Stucco is an inexpensive way to cover up a wall and offers a range of different finishes from smooth to textured. While usually white or stone-coloured in tone, stucco can be mixed with a colourant or painted over. The main advantage of stucco is that it can be applied to very uneven walls.

Decorative plaster


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Decorative plaster is thinner than stucco and offers a range of different finishes including concrete effect, sand texture and tadelakt. However, it is more expensive than other options.

Wallpaper


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Wallpaper is a great alternative to high-build paint. Depending on the state of your surface, you can choose between thin or thick wallpapers, all of which can be very affordable. Wallpaper also comes in an endless range of designs from solid colours to glittery or trompe-l’œil effects so you can really let your inner decorator shine!

Glass fibre wall covering and skim coats


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A glass fibre wall covering can be an excellent solution if your wall has a lot of cracks. It can even help to support and strengthen your wall! While glass fibre wallpaper now offers more designs than it used to, your choice will still be fairly limited. That said, you will have to paint over the wallpaper after application anyway. A skim coat offers the same advantages as a glass fibre wall covering and provides a smooth finish to boot!

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Guide written by:

Anne, Painter, Cambridge, 35 guides

Anne, Painter, Cambridge

After 8 years of trade, I turned professional: I trained myself to be a painter and carpet layer either solo or with 16 years old comrades. 9 months later, following vocational school, my registration in Trades Directory, and the label ‘Artisan’ in hand, I created my company. And since then, I don’t even touch my brushes. I’m a self-taught DIYer and decoration enthusiast, I love to find and restore furniture and to create unique decoration elements. I completed the restoration of my sister’s house, this was last summer, with my niece: electrical, tiling, finishing, plasterboard...we did it all. And today, if I can share my experience I'm happy to do it. A total DIY enthusiast joke: ‘What’s the difference between a clown and a DIY enthusiast? A sense of humor.’ Good Luck.  

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