How To Prep New Drywall For Paint

How To Prep New Drywall For Paint

You’ve installed new drywall, and now it’s time for paint. But before you whip out the paintbrush, you need to prep. 

To prepare new drywall for paint, your walls need to be sanded, cleaned, free of dust, and ready for a coat of primer. Failing to prepare properly will lead to paint that won’t stick to the wall.

Here’s how to prep new drywall for paint.

How To Prep Your New Drywall For Paint: Step-by-Step

For paint to stick to your new drywall, it must be sanded, cleaned, completely dust-free, and will need a coat of primer.

Step 1: Inspect and Sand

If you installed your own drywall and applied the joint compound, inspect the wall for any divots. If there are divots, fill them in with drywall mud .

Once that’s dry, give the wall a final sanding using a drywall or pole sander and fine sandpaper of about 120-150 grit.

Step 2: Vacuum or Sweep The Drywall

Once sanding is complete, you need to remove all drywall dust from the wall. You can do this with a ShopVac hose or knock the dust to the floor with a broom.

Avoid using a regular vacuum. The fine dust from the joint compound will clog a traditional household sweeper and ruin the motor.

Once you’ve vacuumed, run a black rag over the wall to check for dust. If your black rag is covered in dust, vacuum the wall again.

Step 3: Lightly Wash The Walls

Now take a sponge or rag and dampen it with water. (Do not soak it, your rag or sponge should be slightly damp.) 

Run the damp sponge along the wall, rinsing as you go. Do this until you’ve wiped down the entire wall. 

Optional: Go back and dry it with a towel or put a fan on it to speed up the drying process.

Step 4: Prime Your Walls and Lightly Sand

Now that your walls are dust-free, it’s time to prime. Since drywall is porous, you need to use a drywall primer.

A drywall primer will seal the wall and make it ready for paint.

After your primer is fully dry, lightly sand your walls with 150 grit sandpaper. While it’s tempting to skip sanding, it will remove fuzz and create a much smoother surface for paint. 

After sanding, go over the wall with a slightly damp sponge and dry with a towel.

You’ll now be ready for paint.

Do You Need To Use Primer On New Drywall?

Do You Need To Use Primer On New Drywall

Yes, you need to use primer on new drywall. Drywall is porous, which means it can absorb liquids.

Priming your drywall seals it and creates the ideal surface for paint.

What Happens If You Don’t Prime Drywall Before Painting?

If you don’t prime your drywall, your paint may eventually peel, especially if your home is humid. Plus, since drywall is so porous, you’ll likely find that it takes several coats of paint to cover bare drywall that doesn’t have primer on it.

Do You Need Special Primer For New Drywall?

Yes, you need to use a drywall primer, also known as a PVA (polyvinyl acetate) primer. This primer seals the wall and leaves a smooth surface for painting new drywall.

Can I Use A Paint and Primer In One?

While paint and primer in one product are a great option to cover an existing paint job, they aren’t ideal for bare drywall. Instead, use a drywall primer and then latex paint.

If you only use a paint and primer in one, you’ll need to apply far more coats than if you start with a PVA primer.


Preparing your drywall for paint color is just as important as doing a good DIY job of installing it. Before you paint, make sure your walls are smooth, dust-free and have a coat of primer on them.

Be sure to skip the regular primer and use a product made for bare drywall like PVA. This will seal the drywall and give you the best surface possible for your paint to adhere to.

Following these steps will help your home improvement project last.