Hot Topics: Painting After Drywall Repairs

A ladder next to a paint can and paint roller.

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A question about the process of painting a bathroom after some minor drywall repairs quickly turns into a discussion about high quality paint. The forum agrees that when it comes to paint, as the saying goes, "You get what you pay for."

Original Post

Michael Rivers Member

I'm doing several repairs in my bathroom and will do at least a few patches throughout the house. The bathroom, at the very least, will get all new painting. How should that be done?

First concern: the bathroom walls are horrible and (unless you tell me otherwise) I will be using a lot of joint compound and sanding to smooth out all walls and build up a 2-square-foot section where the sheet rock is sunken about 1/4".

Second: (Again, tell me not to) I plan on painting a semigloss.

1) Should I use Gardz everywhere? Is an oil primer sufficient (if the latter, what brand should I use)?
2) How should the buildup be done? Sand wall, prime, compound, sand, prime, paint? Or sand, compound, prime, paint?
3) Is any acrylic fine after oil primer?

Anything else you think I should know?

marksr Forum Topic Moderator

Gardz is usually only called for when painting over exposed gypsum (where the drywall paper is torn) or to seal leftover wallpaper adhesive. Oil based primer is only needed to seal stains and/or create a bond over oil based enamels (when switching to latex). Latex can be applied over oil based primer. What type of paint and what condition are the bathroom walls in before you apply the joint compound?

Marq1 Member

Lots of thin coats of compound. Minimal sanding. Final step is good PVA primer over the patches. What type of paint is there now?

marksr Forum Topic Moderator

I've always considered PVA primers not to be the best primers, although they are generally adequate when priming raw drywall/joint compound followed by flat wall paint. Not the best primer if the top coat is going to be an enamel. It's usually best to use the primer stated (or similar) on the finish paint's label.

Michael Rivers Member

1) Looks like no reason to use Gardz. Good to know.

2) No idea what paint is on the walls. How can I test?

3) Walls are generally OK. I'm doing a few patches where I removed unused baseboard heater control and wires, repaired around the tub, and replaced a receptacle. There is one 2-sq-ft area that is rather concave ( ¼") that I want to fill in since it would affect the baseboard molding. Finally, there is another area that was obviously (and poorly) patched that I want to sand smooth and fill.

What's your suggestion(s) on paint to use?

marksr Forum Topic Moderator

Most any latex primer works over raw joint compound but the better primers will seal better, making the sheen of any latex enamel you apply hold out better. If this is a bath with a shower, I'd recommend using a bath enamel (has extra mildewcide and is formulated for the harsher environment).

Michael Rivers Member

Bath enamel it is, then. Thanks.

Do you recommend a brand of paint for bath enamel? Home Depot is easiest for me, but I do have a few other options.

Stickshift Group Moderator

I believe I can speak for Mark and say neither he nor I would buy paint at Home Depot. Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore are the two lines which get the most endorsement around here, but keep in mind all manufacturers make multiple lines of paint and I wouldn't use anyone's lowest line. For what it's worth, Zinsser Perma-White is often considered to be the best kitchen and bath paint, but it can't be tinted all that much so it's a good choice if you want white or something soft; bold colors won't work.

marksr Forum Topic Moderator

I don't buy paint at HD, but they might sell some Zinnser primers. Zinnser's 1-2-3 primer would be a good choice. If they also sell the Perma-White and white or light pastel works for you, that would be a good option. Otherwise, go to a local paint store (not Home Depot) and discuss your needs/budget with them.

Michael Rivers Member

Both Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams are available here. I'll speak with someone.

XSleeper Member

In small towns I don't mind using Do it Best paints...says right on the can that it's made by SW. I have always found them to be high quality paints.

marksr Forum Topic Moderator

I don't think I've ever used that brand/line of paint. SWP makes some great paint but they also have some bargain basement coatings that I won't use. Same thing with Glidden. A lot of folks now think that Glidden paint is terrible because of the Glidden line that is sold at a big box store—it's their bottom line coating. I've used it before but will not use it if I have any say about the paint purchase!

Michael Rivers Member

But I'd be fine going with SW's Bath Paint? Should I be using that expensive paint for all the trim as well? This simple "replace the bathroom carpet with LVP" project escalated quickly. I'm very upset that I did the floor before I came up with all these many other issues.

Stickshift Group Moderator

IMO, trying to save a couple bucks on paint is never worth it.

You don't generally want to use wall paint on doors and trim. You would use a paint specifically for trim, like SW ProClassic Waterborne Interior Enamel. Paint trim first, and then you will be able to cut in with your wall color later.

Michael Rivers Member

I would have painted the other way. Thank you for preemptively correcting me.

marksr Forum Topic Moderator

I really like the SWP ProClassic Waterborne Enamel! While trim enamel can be used on walls, wall enamel shouldn't be used on trim. IMO it looks best if the trim has more sheen than the walls. I like satin or eggshell on the bath walls with semi-gloss on the woodwork...but it's not like there is any set rules. As far as I know, SWP's bath paint only comes in their higher grade coatings.

While the trim can be painted first or last, it's easier to paint it first, except the baseboard, which you'd paint last.

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