What to Do Before You Paint Drywall

basement-drywall-renovationsYou might want to paint after drywall installation or simply to refresh your walls. In either case, you need to learn the secrets of the trade to ensure the job is done correctly. When it comes to painting, the color you choose is the least of your concerns. Not that it’s not important to find the right hue from the coloring palette! But if the surface is not smooth, the coating won’t be applied right and the results will be disappointing if not disastrous.

So, first things first.

Check the drywall

When drywall is first installed, it is screwed to the framing and the panelsDrywall installation are supported together with joints. Everything is nailed and a tape goes over the joints. A mud known as joint compound covers all the nails, screws, imperfections etc. Now, if any of these steps is not done correctly, a nail might protrude or a tape might not stick right. In such cases, the coating won’t sit right.

And this is not only a problem of a fresh residential drywall installation. Such problems might happen after years and when the paper tape for example falls off and creates a small bubble on the wall. So you need to check well the drywall surface and make sure it is smooth enough for the painting.

Sand drywall but don’t oversand

What a drywall company would do before painting is sanding. This is the last step of the installation process and before drywall is painted. Sanding leaves the surface smooth for the perfect drywall finishing. What you need to know is:

  • Drywall sanding must be done with the right equipment.
  • After sanding drywall, you need to vacuum again and again till the dust has been completely removed. If not, the dust will sit on your freshly painted walls.
  • While sanding, you might see some imperfections which must be sealed.
  • Oversanding is bad for drywall. If you overdo it, you will end up destroying the paper surface of the drywall. Such jobs require patience and gentle movements. If you scratch the surface, use joint compound to cover it.
  • Don’t forget that if you lack the time, experience, patience, and equipment, you can’t sand. It’s better to hire a painting contractor.

Do you need drywall primer before you paint?

There is not a fixed answer here. It depends on the product, your intentions,drywall-installation and whether this is a new residential or commercial drywall installation or not. The job of the primer is to seal any imperfections and prep the surface to accept the paint. The primer adheres great on unfinished drywall while paints adhere better on primers than if you would use them directly on drywall. Why? Because paper drywall is porous. What to do?

Prime drywall before commercial or residential painting when:

  • This is a new and unfinished drywall
  • The surface of the drywall is skim-coated
  • The paint of the existing drywall is glossy
  • You want to paint drywall a lighter color than the existing hue
  • When you are not sure. Using a primer never hurts

You can avoid the primer when the drywall is perfectly clean, you use the same color, get a combo primer/paint product, or constantly put off painting drywall due to priming.

Don’t forget that such good preparation – from drywall repair to sanding and priming – will create dust and a mess in the room. So prep your room by covering walls, furniture and lighting fixtures. Then you will be all set.

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