Painting Drywall

It's time to paint your new Drywall! Here are some tips on how do a nice paint job. This page will help you to be well informed so that you can do top quality paint work. If you want to know what to use for the specific job I did for you, please feel free to ask.

Upon first inspection of your finished drywall you may note some dust on the walls. Do not use water to even lightly sponge this off as you will ruin the sanded finish. The dust will blend in when you prime with no issues. If there happens to be a concentrated area of dust you can use a soft feather duster to lightly brush it off. But for the most part it wont be an issue. The newly sanded drywall surface is soft and easy to scratch until you prime the surface.


Use a high quality "drywall primer". Drywall primer is designed to even out the surface difference between the raw sheetrock and joint compound and helps make for a much better finish. Sheetrock quality has gone downhill in quality over the last decade. The surfaces are just not as smooth nor the paper surface as good a quality as they once were. Better primers and paints help to compensate for these manufacturing issues. Do not try to save money in this area. Why spends thousands of dollars on a top quality drywall finish then not spend the few extra dollars on top quality primers and paints or skimp on coats? There are no savings here-you get what you pay for and what you put into it. I highly recommend Sherwin Williams ProMar 200 Wall Primer if you are going to topcoat with a flat finish, but if you plan to paint with anything with a sheen be sure to use Sherwin Williams Premium Wall & Wood Primer. If you decided on darker colors your supplier can tint the primer accordingly. This will improve results and possible lessen the paint coats needed. Darker color often require more them two coats for proper coverage. Call around to check the prices, as some stores will carry it cheaper than others.

Consider this short "Ask the Builder" Youtube video regarding primers

Choosing the Proper Paint Brush

A paint brush consists of three parts - bristles, handle and a metal band called a ferrule that holds the two together. The bristles are set in a block of solid resin to keep them together, and are either natural bristles (hog is best) or synthetic fibres.

Look for bristles that taper from a thick base where they are attached firmly, down to the narrower tips, giving the brush flexibility. Well-tapered bristles are a sign of a quality brush. Avoid brushes with bristles that are all the same. Cheap brushes have fairly short bristles that are often packed out with a wedge in the center to make them appear thicker. This means they don't hold paint particularly well and the short bristles can tend to leave brush marks. Quality brushes have longer bristles and more of them so they hold more paint and give a smooth finish, free from brush marks as the bristles are 'laid off' - drawn lightly over the finished paint. They are ideal if you want a fine finish, especially with gloss paints and varnishes.

The handle may be wood with a lacquer or varnish finish, or plastic. Unfinished wood handles are a professionals choice as they do not slip and turn in your hand providing a much better grip.

As a general rule, use bristle brushes with oil-based paint. Natural China (hog-hair) brushes are the best. Never use natural-bristle brushes with water or water-based (latex) paints, the bristles absorb water, swell up and become unruly.

Nylon and polyester brushes are best for use with water-based paints and other products, as the fibres don't absorb water and will therefore not flare out.

Brushes come in many sizes and shapes. In general, brushes 3” to 5” in width are used for walls and large surfaces. Use smaller sash/angular brushes for furniture, windows and trimwork and for smaller wall spaces near corners, windows and doors.

If you invest in a quality brush, clean it carefully after each use. A good brush improves with age. If you prefer, you can buy cheap brushes and throw them away when you've finished if you're happy with their slightly inferior performance.


When covering large areas, such as walls or ceilings, rollers are the best tool to use. Choosing the best roller cover for the job is important. Cheap roller covers ( polyester) tend to spatter more and drop pieces of fuzz and lint into your paint. Lambswool is the best you can get, they hold a large amount of paint, rarely leave "track marks" and do not splatter as much. For enamel work such as painting doors, kitchen walls etc, use mohair covers. Match the roller cover nap size to your job, the thickness depends on the surface being painted, the paint being used and the desired effect. Use a thin roller cover (with less than 1/4” nap) for gloss and semi-gloss finishes on smooth surfaces, such as plaster, floors and some walls. Use roller covers approximately 3/8” to 1” thick when applying flat paints on medium-smooth surfaces such as most interior walls, concrete block, stucco and sandy-textured surfaces.

Special types of rollers:

Compression-type roller handles work best offering improved rolling and durability. These are the ones with 3-5 heavy wires between the ends. As you slide the cover on, the wires are compressed securing the cover firmly in place. Avoid inexpensive roller handles that feature a wing-nut for holding the roller on its cage.

Paint Sprayers

If you are going use a paint sprayer, especially on newly finished drywall, always spray the paint onto the wall and then backroll. I can't tell you how many jobs I have seen ruined by homeowners thinking they are going to save time and money or painters who don't care by not backrolling after applying the paint with a sprayer. Unless you are a professional painter and know what your doing with a paint sprayer for best results use a roller alone.


The most important technique is to simply use good painting practices. Clean your brushes and rollers well. When using a pan use a pan liner. They cost about $1.00 each-well worth it. Use quality rollers and take your time. Don't dump paint poured into a pan back into the original paint pail or dip out of the pail with a brush. Pour some paint into a separate plastic container for the brush when cutting in the angles and do not return the extra to the paint pail. This will prevent contamination of your paint supply with dust, roller lint, paintbrush bristles, dry paint, and other debris.

Roll the paint on with a nice good coat, but covering no bigger area then will start showing signs of drying. Then after an area is covered and still wet make some very nice light vertical passes over it to take out any roller lines. On the final passes avoid rolling and then angling over to the next 12" area as that tends to make the roller release paint on the edge and makes roller lines. Again, make some nice clean passes with little paint as a final over your main application while the area is wet. You dont want to get too far ahead of yourself before a nice final roll after getting the paint on.

Watch the corners with the roller. After using a paint brush in the corners and while the paint is still wet, get close to the corner with the roller without touching the other side. The stipple of roller is different then the brush marks so you want to carefully get close to so that the brush marks are minimized for a good result.

Between Coats

An optional step you can take for better results is to pole sand or use a sanding sponge (both available at the big home centers) and lightly sand over the dried primer coat. For the perfectionist, lightly sand the first paint coat(s) before the final coat. This does not take much time and you dont have sand over much but is well worth the little extra effort. Just pass over all the surfaces with a pole sander and 120 grit paper and it will knock off the lint, particles and debris that shows up. Be sure the primer and paint are totally dry before you do this step.

Wallpaper Issues

When wallpaper has been removed make sure ALL the glue has been removed. Test this after washing well with TSP (use protective rubber gloves) or a wallpaper paste remover like DIF (available at the big home stores) by wetting a small area with water. Rub your finger on this area and if it is still slippery then there is still glue on it and needs further washing. If the glue is not removed before a skim coating, priming or painting is done, problems can occur that are very difficult to fix permanently later.


You get what you pay for. Generally buy well known brands. I have used some paints by a certain fashion designer and had problems. Paint stores can give you the best recommendations and products over most home stores.

If you are painting trim and you want that clean smooth white look there is only one paint I recommend - Benjamin Moore Satin Impervo Enamel 235 alkyd low-luster (Red/silver can). No other paint comes close. I've tried many others. Its expensive, about $60.00 a gallon, but then whats a few bucks for that look over many years. Its' oil base so make sure you ventilate well. You will smell a paint thinner smell for several days too. Benjamin Moore also makes a water based satin enamel in the green/silver can. Not as good and there is a learning curve to painting with it.