Tips For Painting Drywall

Painting drywall is a fairly specialized task but with the right equipment, tools and preparation it is one that can be achieved by nearly anyone. The following steps apply:

(1) Drywalling jobs are best done when the weather is fairly warm and not too humid. Make certain that the surface to be painted is dry, clean, and free from oil and grease. Three coats of a joint compound should be applied to the drywall, then the joints between panels need to be taped with paper or fiberglass-mesh tape. This ensures the joint gets surfaced over. Fill in any cracks or marks the same way.

(2) Wiping the dust off walls and ceilings before priming may produce a cleaner finish yet from experience, I would suggest a light sanding with fine grade sandpaper (200 grit) after the prime coat has dried. Any imperfections, raised fibers and rough chips get smoothed off with ease. Wearing goggles and a mask is a good idea when drywalling as gypsum dust can be really irritating and in some people has been known to cause breathing problems and eye infections; always dress in sensible protective clothing.

(3) Before painting get out the vacuum cleaner or hand dust out electrical boxes and take care to remove dust above doorway or window trim. As with any painting job, drop cloths should be used to protect finished floors, doors, windows, taps and any other fixtures, 1-mil plastic or “painter’s plastic” is highly recommended.

(4) Do not let the drywall sit too long after being taped and sanded as sunlight can cause the face paper of the drywall to yellow and fade looking uneven after painting. Use a good-quality latex stain-killing paint before priming to combat yellowing.

(5) Three painting techniques commonly used are to apply with a brush, a roller or by spraying. A brush is fine for cutting in around trim and for fiddly areas like corners. Rollers are great for large areas, the bigger the area to be painted the bigger the roller used should be. Roll the top coat across the direction that the primer coat was applied; this promotes evenness for a great finish. Using a sprayer is a faster technique yet the finish achieved doesn’t always look as uniform and consistent as using a paint roller. A better idea is to use a paint-sprayer followed by a second person who rolls the finish. Makes quick work

(6) Two coats of paint should be adequate. One trick when it comes to priming drywall is to paint the first coat with a low-sheen, latex flat wall paint, tinted to match the color of the top coat. The problem with using standard ‘primers’ or ‘sealers’ or even a good-quality ‘primer-sealer’ is they don’t always adequately cover taped seams and fasteners. You sometimes end up with a bit of a see-through effect which does not look good. It is never a wise idea to skip the first coat as it prepares the surface for the top coat to be applied.

(7) For the top coat, two coatings of a gloss paint (includes satin and eggshell) used for wall surfaces, leaves a finish that is easily washable and not prone to smudges and marks. Bathrooms and kitchens, heavy cleaning areas, are ideal rooms for this. A flat paint is a better option used on the ceiling. A photographing (transparent) effect will be avoided; common with gloss paints.

Take time to prepare your drywall, use good quality painting products and tools and you should end up with an even, impressive-looking finish that will last for years. Consulting a paint specialist at the hardware store before beginning any job will clear up any doubts over which products are the best ones to use. Keep in mind that some jobs may require adjustments to the steps listed in order to achieve the best painting result.


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