Get our tips for painting drywall. Including: thoughts on rolling versus spraying new drywall, drywall primer – including what high build drywall primer is – and more!
We were so excited when our drywall finishers got done with the drywall installation in our basement. Because I wanted a smooth finish on all the walls and the ceilings, the process did drag out a bit due to drying times.
During the drywall installation, Luke and I went back and forth about hiring out painting the drywall in the basement because we knew that painting new drywall was definitely a process.
In the end, we decided to go for it and just do it ourselves. We lived to tell the tale but let me be completely honest and say that we regretted not hiring out the drywall painting.
Honestly, it was just too large of a space for us to handle over the course of two weekends. The walls totaled about 900 square feet and then we had the ceilings to do as well. It was SUCH A JOB.
But, you didn’t come here for me to complain, you came here to let me tell you about some tips that we learned about painting drywall and that starts with prepping drywall for paint!
Tips for Painting Drywall
How do you prepare new drywall for painting?
Even with a great drywall installation and finishing, it is likely that you will need to give your new drywall a fast and gentle sanding. After standing, we found it easiest to use a shop vac to vacuum the drywall.
The key is to get all the drywall dust picked up so that you don’t have flecks in your paint when you start painting.
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Another tip for the shop vac is to make sure you are using bags meant for fine dust. We don’t often use bags in our shop vac but they were definitely beneficial for containing all the drywall dust.
Preparing the new drywall by getting rid of all the drywall dust took a few hours. As Luke was using the shop vac, I used a cloth and wiped down walls and corners as well.
After we got the fresh drywall prepped, we started getting our drywall primer and paint colors nailed down.
Our drywall contractor also contracts out painting drywall, so we peppered him with lots of questions so that we could get the smoothest finish on our walls and ceilings. We then double-checked at Spectrum (a paint speciality store near us) when we were buying primer and paint to make sure we knew exactly what we were doing.
I’ll answer some specific questions at the end of the post, but I wanted to walk you through the process of how we painted all the drywall in the basement first.
How to Paint Drywall
We didn’t have trim installed so we started with the ceiling. We painted two coats of high build primer on the ceiling and then walls.
After that dried, we put two coats of Benjamin Moore Ceiling Paint on the ceiling. On the walls, we rolled two coats of Benjamin Moore Ultra Spec 500.
We honestly couldn’t believe how much the drywall just soaked it all in.
We used Simply White by Benjamin Moore on the walls, ceiling and trim and really like how it looks.
In a nutshell, our biggest drywall tips are making sure you are using the shop vac on the rolling chair to prep the drywall, use a high build drywall primer to make sure to get the smoothest wall finish and know that painting a lot of square footage is going to take forever. =)
Now, for all the drywall painting questions!
Do you need to prime new drywall?
Yes, you definitely do. New drywall is very porous and soaks up paint. Not only do you need to prime it, you should be using a new drywall primer and will need two coats.
As we were doing the primer coats, I shared on IG that we were doing two coats of the high build primer and someone wrote to me and said they made a mistake at their house and only used one. Because of that, she was noticing the sheen differences on the walls after the paint was applied.
What kind of paint do you use on new drywall?
For your primer coats, it’s best to use a high build primer. For the regular topcoats, it’s up to you but we bought Benjamin Moore’s Waterborne Ceiling Paint in flat.
What about painting new drywall with a sprayer versus a roller?
You can do either. A sprayer will go faster but takes a lot more to prep. A roller is slower but uses less paint.
We chose to paint the drywall ourselves with a roller but I know a lot of people choose to paint new drywall with a sprayer. We did upgrade our roller to an 18″ roller and tray setup, which definitely helped us speed up our walls which are (20ft+ in length).
The bigger rollers are definitely heavy and I felt like they used more paint, but they were faster and, for bigger areas, I’d definitely choose to use them again.
Any other drywall painting questions? Drop ’em below and I’ll do my best to answer.