How Do You Prepare Drywall For Painting? Follow Step by Step

How Do You Prepare Drywall For Painting

A well-prepared drywall is easy to paint, nicer to appear and longer to go.  The paint will appear rough, cracky, fade and uneven over an unprepared drywall surface. No matter if it’s a new drywall board or an old one, you can never skip the prep part.

The preparation procedure is not as easy as it might sound. It’s a little bit trickier than that.

You better stay careful and not make any mess here. Which types of products you’re using and what procedure you’re following will determine the painting outcome. Even in the long run, the paint will get better reliability and durability. 

There are a lot of drywall primers available in the market.

But the most common question here is,

“how do you prepare drywall before painting?”

Choosing a rich primer is not enough. You’ve to maintain some other tips and suggestions for expected shine and pigment.

Why Do You Need To Prep Drywall Before Painting?

You already know that priming drywall ensures a smoother paint outcome.

But “what other things make the preparation procedure so important?”

This might not sound very clear.

Well, not every surface will require priming. When you’re painting over drywall boards, priming is unskippable. Not only the primer but cleaning is also a must to prep drywall boards.

Drywall consists of a glue-like base. This glue texture makes the surface rough to paint. This uneven surface won’t allow the paint to adhere nicely. This rough adhesion makes the cleansing procedure difficult as well.

If you don’t prep the drywall well, it will lose reliability and can be easily pulled off. Especially during humidity, the paint can get off the surface. You might not notice any faults initially. After a few days of painting, the paint will get damped.

A good priming base can connect the compound and solve all these issues. This primer application and preparation get you the ideal drywall paint base.

Drywall will soak the paint right after applying without primer. This might make you use a lot of extra coating to cover a tiny surface. It will be such a waste to make. You better spend 2/ 3 coats of primer to save all this extra paint.

The drywall will get a smooth, shiny and polished outcome by using some good quality primer. You need to take proper care of the surface as well.

Preparing the drywall before painting will save a lot of money as well as your time. And indeed, the outcome will be noticeably exotic with well-prepared drywall.

Regarding all these facts and points, you can’t ignore the drywall board preparation needed anyhow. 

What Is Drywall Made Of?

Have you ever wondered why is drywall so crucial to prime before painting?

The reason is quite straightforward. It’s the drywall texture. You must know what drywall is made of to understand the texture.

Drywall works to deduct sound transmission in the room. They are generally installed in house ceilings and walls. How much drywall one should use will depend on the thickness of the drywall. People generally use two layers of 10 mm Drills for adequate sound protection.

Drywall is also known as custard board, gypsum, wallboard, gypsum board, and plasterboard. They are made of powdery sulfate and mineral gypsum. These are sandwiched between two layers.

Drywall has a core layer of gypsum plaster. This gypsum core is wet and made of glass wool, foaming elements and fiber. These are pressed between a couple of thick paper sheets.

All these elements can reduce flammability and water soaking power. Drywalls are sensitive to water damages and mold growth. The organic additives and gypsum mixture over drywall are the perfect food for mold.

The wet core sandwiched gypsum gets ready to use after drying. The manufacturers use a massive separate drying chamber to make them rigid and dry enough. It takes 1,750,000 and 2,490,000 BTU to dry one 1000 sq. feet drywall.

Read More : Top Metalic Paint for your walls

How Do You Prepare Drywall For Painting? : Step By Step

Do you think applying a drywall timer is enough? If “yes”, then you’re wrong. Drywall preparation is not just a single step. It takes everything from cleaning to polishing.

Each of these steps needs your attention. After all, the paint finishing relies on this procedure. Drywall surface preparation will work as a base before painting.

Keep your patience and get started with the following steps. Learn how to prep drywall before painting:

Step 1:

First of all, check and assess all the drywall boards. If you find any dings, cracks, holes or gouges, you need to use some compound filler.

You’ll find various drywall paste solutions to fill these compounds.

Once you patch it all over the uneven surface, it will get easier to paint. You will find both pre-mixed and raw drywall compound filler. Use any of these over the rough surfaces and fill these gaps.

You can use a painting putty for tiny holes over the drywall.

Step 2:

If you’re painting some old drywall and it has any imperfections, repair them first. Consider all the cracks, holes or damages for a better outcome. 

Step 3:

Now, it’s time to smooth the drywall surface. You can use 150 grit sandpaper for sanding the entire surface.

You should use around three coats of drywall compound and sand the surface with light pressure. You better cover all the areas in a circular motion where you’ve applied compound.

By the third coating, all these uneven textures should be gone.

Step 4:

Once you’re done with the uneven surface, you should concentrate on the dust. Here it would help if you used a vacuum and suctioning cup.

Keep the vacuum power medium and clean the entire drywall surface. Now, you can take a black piece of cloth/ sponge to check if there is any extra debris left or not.

If any dust is left, vacuum the surface again.

Step 5:

Now, you need to prepare a mixture. Use one cup of white vinegar in one gallon of water. Now grab a sponge/ rag and soak it into the mix.

Now, you can start mopping the drywall till all the specks of dust are gone. Make a new mixture if the previous one gets taken.

This amount of dust can only come out of older drywalls. Make sure you’ve cleaned it correctly for an even outcome. You can skip this part if only dusting/ brooming cleans all the dirt out of the drywall.

Step 6:

You can take a fan to dry the surface after cleaning. Leaving the drywall wet for a long time is never a good idea.

Drywall is sensitive to water and grows mildew if you don’t dry them properly.

Step 7:

Now, you can use a good-quality drywall primer over the surface. You’ll find them available in different sizes and prices.

Whichever product you pick, make sure it has all safe elements. Make sure you’re following the direction on the product label correctly while applying it.

Step 8:

You can try caulking the drywall for a better paint outcome. You must use a caulk that is paintable and easy to use. Don’t forget to dry it thoroughly before you start painting.


  • If your drywall has any wallpaper, you must remove it before painting. Here you can use warm water for pulling it off easily. A steamer can also make the process easy. Don’t forget to use some oil-based primer after pulling the wallpaper over your drywall.
  • Even when you’re painting drywall, make sure you’re concerned with the cleaning process.
  • For better cleaning, you can use some drywall dust masks. These work as amazing chemical filters and remove all the extra debris.
  •  You should never use any regular paint as a drywall primer. It will highlight the seams with every coating.
  • You should apply the primer in small strokes in the initial level. Using a lot at first will make it messier.
  • You should never leave the drywall wet. Use a high-speed fan to dry the surface after cleaning soon.

Tips For Preparing Old Drywall For Paint:

Preparing old drywall before painting will need some more of your concern. Old drywalls include some issues that new drywalls don’t. So, give a quick check over here before you make any mess while painting your old drywall.

Tips you should know:

  • Old drywalls can include more debris. Especially the kitchen, storeroom drywalls get dirtier. Drywall dirt can cause skin allergy and health issues. Moreover, the paint will not settle properly. So, make sure you’re cleaning it thoroughly.
  • If the old drywall has any extra grease over it, make them explicit. For this, you can use some grease remover on a damp cloth.
  • If your old drywall is water damaged and puffy, fix it first.
  • Consider covering mold stains from the drywall boards. You can use primers to make such stains less visible.
  • Fix if there are any holes over your drywall board. A drywall patch kit and paint scraper can do an adequate job here.
  • If the drywall has got any loose/ torn paper, seal that first. Sanding without sealing this tiny, it will get challenging to paint. Even the paint won’t get absorbed over such a surface. You’ll end up having visible spots from that.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: When can you start painting after priming the new drywall?

Answer: Make sure the primer coats are thoroughly dried before you start painting. And this can take around 3 hours. The exact time will depend on the humidity and weather temperature.

Question: Can I use paint and primer (2 in 1) good for new drywall?

Answer: Two-in-one drywall paint works well for the shiny outcomes. But it can’t stand as a perfect substitute for primer. You must prime the drywall and seal all the uneven areas before painting.

Question: Can I use white paint as a primer?

Answer: No, white paint doesn’t work as a primer. You won’t get the expected durability and reliability by priming the drywall with regular white paint. This might create the surface more cracky and challenging to paint.


Painting directly over drywall is never a good idea. It will be such a waste of both time and paint.

Hopefully, now you know, “how to prepare drywall for painting”. Things will seem easier if you follow all these tips and suggestions.

You better save some time and prep the drywall properly before painting. In the long run, the paint will stay nicer and go longer. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top