Drywall Mudding Over Paint in 7 Steps

A worker drywall mudding with a trowel.
  • 2-5 hours
  • Beginner
  • 30-70
What You'll Need
Trisodium phosphate
Safety goggles
Safety gloves
Face mask
Paint scraper
Clean, dry rag, or paintbrush
Paintbrush or roller
Drywall primer
Drywall mud
Drywall blade
Sandpaper
Spackling-compound gun (optional)
Trowel
Paint
What You'll Need
Trisodium phosphate
Safety goggles
Safety gloves
Face mask
Paint scraper
Clean, dry rag, or paintbrush
Paintbrush or roller
Drywall primer
Drywall mud
Drywall blade
Sandpaper
Spackling-compound gun (optional)
Trowel
Paint

If you have uneven walls, often due to over-scraping to remove old paint, you might be wondering if you can use drywall mud right over the paint to smooth it out. The answer? Yes—as long as you follow the proper steps. Get started with the guide below.

Step 1 - Wash the Walls

Pick up some TSP on Amazon.

First, wash the walls with trisodium phosphate, or TSP, to remove any dirt, grease, or other debris. Cleaning the walls with a strong product such as TSP also etches the wall’s surface to improve mud adhesion.

Warning: Trisodium phosphate is dangerous if not handled correctly. Use caution with TSP and follow all safety instructions as provided on the product. This may include wearing gloves, safety goggles, a face mask, and long sleeves to protect your skin.

Step 2 - Scrape Off Any Loose Drywall

Before continuing, gently scrape off any loose drywall with a paint scraper. With a clean, dry rag or paintbrush, dust off any remaining loose pieces from the wall.

Step 3 - Apply Drywall Primer

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Brush or roll on drywall primer to the wall thoroughly. Then, let it dry.

Step 4 - Use Drywall Mud

Shop Drywall Mud

Use the drywall mud and a drywall blade to fill in any of the “low” areas or divots that were damaged previously, like by earlier paint removal. Smooth the mud and let dry completely.

Step 5 - Sand and Dust Wall

Now, sand the drywall flush to the wall. Then, wash and wipe the walls down again to remove any dust that’s collected.

Step 6 - Apply Final Mud Coat

While you can achieve a smooth look with some patience, it can be difficult to do. To bypass any imperfections, it’s better to rent a spackling-compound gun and shoot the walls with an orange-peel pattern. This pattern will apply small bumps all over the wall, and it will hide any abnormalities.

After you’ve using the spackling-compound gun, let the mud dry and then go over it lightly with a trowel to remove any sharp points. Then, let the mud dry the rest of the way.

Step 7 - Paint Wall

Now, you’re ready to paint your wall any color you’d like.

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