How to Paint Drywall

Understanding how to paint drywall is not difficult but to get a truly quality result it is important to start with a quality wall or ceiling. Or to quote a wise old painter who has seen it all and done it all, “If you want to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, you have to start with a silk sow”. It was true then and it is true now.

Start with the Right Surface

First, is this a new wall or ceiling? If so, you must make sure that all the drywall joints, corners, and nail or screw indentations have been taped, floated, and sanded properly. Look at the surface closely from all angles, first just an overview and then with a flashlight at an angle.

Whether the drywall surface to be painted is textured or not, any problem spots will show up in the final product and the shinier the paint you choose, the more prominent they will be. Finally, remove all cover plates and spackle all nail holes.

Choosing Your Brushes and Rollers

When you shop for tools, don’t skimp on brushes and rollers. Low quality brushes will not give you a good flow and that makes your sheetrock painting harder and frustrating.

Note that there may be a difference between brushes for latex work and brushes for oil-based work. On all quality brushes the bristles should taper from the base to the tips.

For cutting in work (inside corners, drywall/baseboard intersection, etc.), look for a brush where the bristle tips are also tapered fro left to right at about a thirty degree angle. A 2 ½ to 3 inch wide brush is ideal for this.

You might want a 4 or 5 inch brush for areas that are too big for your cut in brush but too narrow for your roller.

For painting large, open surfaces, you will need a roller handle, disposable rollers, and a roller pole. For very high walls or ceilings you will need a telescoping pole instead of the fixed length one. The rollers themselves come in various naps for the different texture heights.

Assembling Your Other Tools

You will also need painter’s tape. This is used to mask off intersection points with door jambs, window casings, etc. The narrow tape is easier on your budget. Get a pan and some cheap plastic throw-away liners. Finally, you will need drop cloths.

Paint and Primer

It is always a great idea to use primer but it’s mandatory if you are painting new sheetrock or painting over a glossy finish. Sure, it’s more work, but if you don’t take this step, it will come back to haunt you.

There are more shades of paint on the market than you can count. What you will want to focus on is paint quality. There is cheaper paint but you’ll spend more in the long run because of the extra coats you’ll have to apply.

Do the Work!

Before you get down to the joy of painting, start at one end of the room and apply your painter’s tape to the edges of any trim, casings, or baseboard. I know it’s a monotonous process but it’s a time saver. Trust me.

Begin cutting in with your small brush everywhere you have applied tape plus all the inside corners. You can do one section of your project at a time depending on the scope of your project. Next, lay down your drop cloths, covering everything.

Roll the paint over the open areas. First roll a “letter W” and then roll over it vertically until it’s all filled in. Repeat this process until you’re done.

And in Conclusion…

Allow the paint sufficient time to dry before removing the painter’s tape and re-installing cover plates.