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How to Prepare Your Drywall for Painting: A Step-by-Step Guide

Prime and Caulk Drywall

How to Prepare Your Drywall for Painting: A Step-by-Step Guide

Have you just installed drywall and want to know how to paint drywall? Although drywall is not overly difficult to work with, it is crucial that you follow the right steps to get the best results from your painting efforts. There’s a lot of prep work that goes into laying a solid foundation for painting drywall that you need to be aware of before you start the process. We’ll provide detailed steps that you can easily follow to get the flawless results that you desire. So without further ado, let’s dive right in. 

Step 1: Inspect and Assess 

The first thing that you need to do is inspect and assess the drywall. Find out if there are any gouges or dings. Also, be on the

Dent in Drywall
Dent in Drywall

lookout for gaps and cracks in the sheets. If you notice any, be sure to mark them and fill them up with mud. Inspect every single area of the drywall to ensure you don’t overlook anything that might compromise the results of your painting. This will help ensure that you get the job done right the first time around. 

It’s a good idea to hold a light over the surface, as it will help you to look for and locate imperfections. All you need to do is dim the room lighting and use a utility light to identify cracks, dents, and holes. You can use a pencil to mark them or you can even use painter’s tape to identify them easily. It is important that you rotate the light in order to inspect the wall from multiple angles so that you can find damaged spots if there are any. 

Step 2: Repair the Drywall 

Once you have inspected and assessed the drywall, you can proceed with the necessary repairs. Here’s how you should perform drywall repair

Hole in Drywall
Hole in Drywall

Fix Holes 

Start by fixing the holes using compounds. With just a bit of compound, you can take care of small holes. Then, use a drywall knife to smooth out the surface. However, if the hole is much larger, you will need to get a drywall patch from the nearest hardware store to fill it in. Peel the adhesive backing from the patch and press it over the hole. Then, coat it with some compound and sand with sandpaper.

Fix Cracked Drywall Tape 

If there are any exposed edges, you should sand them down and have them re-taped. If you notice that the drywall tape has peeled off and the seam is visible, you will have to sand the entire seam using grit paper. Keep sanding until you have covered the whole drywall base. Make sure to position the mesh to ensure the sanded line is filled. You will also need to apply joint compound on the tape with the drywall knife. Then leave it for 24 hours to dry, after which you will need to sand it down again until the seam is smooth. 

Fix Dents and Dings 

Next, you will have to fix the dents and dings. It is quite common for there to be dents in drywall, especially if it was installed a long time ago. When you locate the damaged parts, you should first use a taping knife to apply joint compound to the area that is dented. If you notice that the dent is more than an inch deep or wide, you will have to apply some fiberglass joint tape before spackling. This requires up to 24 hours to fully dry. Then, you can use a sanding block to lightly sand the area and look everything over after it has dried. If you notice the compound has shrunk, simply reapply. 

Step 3: Scrape and Sand the Wall 

Now that you have repaired the drywall, you can move towards scraping and sanding to prepare it for painting. You can either

Scrape and Sand Drywall
Scrape and Sand Drywall

shop for a paste or create one on your own as there are countless recipes available online. It is vital that you carefully fill any gaps and holes in the surface. You will need to wear a mask and apply only light pressure when using a pole sander, and be sure to sand in a circular motion, as side to side sanding is likely to result in scratches. 

To clean the wall, you can mix a gallon of water and a cup of white vinegar in a bucket. Then, soak the sponge in the mixture to thoroughly clean the wall. It is a good idea to divide the wall into small sections so that you can work efficiently by going from top to bottom. 

If you notice that the water becomes a lot darker, you will need to create another mixture and clean the drywall again. You can direct a high-speed fan to quickly dry the drywall and help you save time. If the drywall is not completely dry before you start the painting, it may attract mold and lead to a variety of problems down the line. Once everything is dry, go over the area with a work light and sand down rough spots. Only when the wall is perfectly smooth and passes the light test should you paint it. 

Step 4: Prime and Caulk the Area

Lastly, you will need to prime and caulk the area. You can proceed with this step once the drywall has dried. Since the primer ensures that the paint adheres to the wall, it is critical to do this step correctly for best results. And because the drywall is likely to be porous, it is especially important to prime it before painting. To begin, start by using a few coats of paint. 

Make sure that you choose the right primer—this will allow the paint to be applied most easily. If you plan to apply dark paint, you will need to select a tinted primer for the job. Also keep in mind that it’s best to opt for a primer that features a moisture barrier, as you need to protect the walls against mildew. You can even use an odor-blocking primer if you believe that the wall would absorb the smell. 

Prime and Caulk Drywall
Prime and Caulk Drywall

Since most primers come in either white or light colors, you will need a drywall contractor in St. Charles, IL to mix them together to create the right color for the job. To prime the drywall, you first have to prepare it. Even though you are likely to have washed and dried the drywall already, you still need to double-check for dust and use a soft microfiber cloth to clean the surface. This will remove the remaining debris and ensure that the drywall is ready for priming. 

When you properly prime your drywall, you also ensure that the paint lasts as long as possible and does not peel or crack. When it comes to applying the primer, all you need to do is apply the primer similar to how you would apply paint. Make sure to watch out for the ceiling, baseboard, and edges, and use a roller for easy and quick application. The primer must be applied from top to bottom to maintain accuracy and every part of the wall has to be covered. Since the drywall is made of a porous material, it dries very quickly. Therefore, you might need to apply at least two coats of primer before the drywall is ready for painting. 

After the primer has dried, you should inspect the surface of the drywall. If it’s still rough, sand it lightly to provide a smooth surface for the paint job. Then, you just have to run a microfiber rug against the surface before you start painting. By this point, the process of prepping drywall for paint is complete. You will have to use the right paint or leave the job to a drywall contractor in St. Charles, IL to finish it off. Select a color that gives the space a personal feel.    

Keep in mind that you must paint the drywall within 2 days of priming it or the paint may not bond correctly. Otherwise, you might need to apply the primer all over again, which takes around 24 hours to dry.

Hire a Drywall Contractor in St. Charles, IL

Now that you’ve gone over our guide, you know all of the steps involved in prepping drywall for paint. However, hiring a drywall contractor in St. Charles, IL will eliminate stress and prove the most cost-effective as you will not need to spend money on mistakes or extra application of the primer or paint. Happy painting!


About the Author

Alvin Stevenson is an advanced drywall repair and installation expert with over 20 years of experience working in both residential homes and commercial buildings.

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