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How to Prepare Drywall for Painting: 7 Easy Steps!

How to Prepare Drywall for Painting: 7 Easy Steps!

Drywall is the perfect choice for budget-friendly construction. Apart from being low-cost, these paperboard walls are non-combustible and lightweight, proofing your house from fire hazards.

Drywall can be prepared for painting by filling in any gaps, sanding the wall, cleaning it with a solution, removing dust from the wall surface, and then priming it before getting onto the painting job.

Keep reading to learn more about the 7 key steps to prepare your drywall for painting!

What Is Drywall?

Drywall is comprised of two paperboards sandwiching a gypsum layer in between. Apart from being lightweight and non-combustible, drywall can also be quickly and easily repaired for damages. 

One drawback that comes with drywall is that it lacks the smooth finish of a plaster wall. However, because drywall is a common building block for many homes, here are 7 easy steps to prepare drywall for painting. 

We’ll even tell you how to have it match the high-end finished result of a painted plastered wall!

7 Steps To Prepare A Drywall For Painting

1. Purchase Supplies

The first step to preparing your drywall for painting is making sure you have the supplies ready to you.

Here is a list of supplies you will need for getting your wall paint ready:

  • Drywall mud
  • Sandpaper or pole sander
  • Microfiber cloth
  • White vinegar
  • Sponge
  • High-end primer

2. Fill and Smoothen the Drywall

After you have the supplies at your disposal, it is time to get moving! You should first inspect your drywall for any holes, dings, or gouges. Fill in the imperfections with the drywall mud.

Once you’ve filled in the holes, take a pole sander and sand the wall uniformly so you have an even and smooth canvas to work with.

3.  Remove Dust from the Drywall

There will be a lot of debris on the wall after your sanding procedure.

You can use the suction attachment on your vacuum to clean off this dust and debris before wiping the wall with a microfiber cloth to make sure it’s spotless.

4.   Wash the Wall

Mix a cup of white vinegar in a gallon of water. Dip a sponge into the mixture and begin to wash the drywall. This will get rid of any residual debris that may impact the stickiness of the paint.

If the water solution turns dark before you are done with the wall, it’s time to make another one to make sure that the effectiveness of the solution remains intact for the entirety of the wall.

5.  Allow Everything to Dry

Direct a fan towards the drywall to let the water evaporate completely. You can only start painting once the wall is completely dry.

6. Remove the Dust Again

Because the moist wall can get debris and dust to collect over it again, you have to use a completely dry microfiber cloth to wipe the dust off the wall again before the next step.

7. Paint a Coat of Primer

Primer makes sure that your drywall has a smooth canvas to paint over. The paint will also stick to the surface longer with the use of a primer.

A high-quality primer coat also allows an even coating of paint over the wall.

Since drywall comprises three layers (paperboards, gypsum, and drywall mud), the absorption capacity of these surfaces can vary and may result in an uneven patched look if the primer is not applied properly.

What Happens If You Don’t Prepare Drywall Before Painting

If you don’t prepare the drywall before painting, your paint will begin peeling sooner than it would with prepared drywall. Also, if your walls are lined with plumbing or have moisture seeping in from above or below the ground, unprepared drywall is quick to mold.

It is advised that you prepare the wall thoroughly following the steps listed above for the longevity of the paint job.

What Kind Of Paint Do You Use For Drywall?

An acrylic latex primer is best for drywall, as it gives the wall that smooth and polished look. This should be followed by a thick coat of acrylic latex paint.

If your wall is stained or requires the use of a lot of drywall mud to remove the imperfections, it is recommended that you use a stain-blocking primer before the acrylic latex paint. 

A stain-blocking primer will make sure that the unevenness of the wall doesn’t reflect through the paint in the form of patches.

Wall painting

Tips For Painting A New Drywall

Painting drywall to look as good as new can be tricky, especially because many of the flaws in the drywall emerge after the prime coat.

So, getting the job right is an important process.

However, here are some tips from our experts that will leave your drywall looking as good as new:

  • After using the latex primer, look out for any defects that may have become visible after the primer coat. Seal these imperfections with drywall clay and primer again before doing the final paint job.
  • You may want to coat the wall with paint with an intermediate coat followed by a final coat. Make sure you don’t make significant repairs to the wall after the intermediate coat has been applied, otherwise it will ruin the finish of the wall.
  • In construction projects, lighting systems are installed during the process of wall preparation as well. The lighting can cause a shift in temperature which may cause movement in the seams and walls, causing additional defects to emerge. It’s best to be aware of this so you know what other imperfections may have to be fixed!

Summing Up How to Properly Prepare Drywall

Painting drywall may seem like a long and tiresome process. However, with the right strategy and following these steps to the tee, you can get a smooth, plastered wall-like finish with your drywall.

Don’t hurry the process, otherwise, all the effort and money will go down the drain.

Best of luck with your home maintenance!

Lindsay Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! I created this website to be a resource for everyone who wants to make the best home possible.