How to Paint Sheetrock

What You'll Need
Joint compound
Self-adhesive mesh tape
Painting mask
Safety goggles
Putty knife
Drywall sander
Dry vacuum
Drop cloth (or newspaper for painting)
Paint rollerbrush

Painting sheetrock or drywall after it has been installed is not a difficult task to accomplish. Painting sheetrock is no different than painting a finished wall, except that there may be an extra couple of steps involving clean up and preparation after the sheetrock has been installed. These extra steps are needed to remove any remaining film or dust that may be present and will allow you to paint the wall in a dust-free environment. To paint sheetrock, follow these steps and acquire the tools and materials listed below in order to successfully accomplish this task.

Step 1 - Tape and Mud the Sheetrock Joints

Apply self-adhesive mesh tape into the seams between the sheetrock. Apply a thin coat of joint compound to the tape in order to set it into place. Apply a second coat of joint compound to the tape. The tape should show through the joint compound. Allow the joint compound to dry and apply several additional coats of joint compound (mud) to cover the seam and the mesh completely.

Use a drywall sander to sand the seams and make them as smooth as possible. When sanding the drywall or sheetrock, wear a mask and goggles in order to protect your lungs and eyes from the dust that will build up.  

Step 2 - Clean the Area

Take a lightly wet sponge and clean the wall in order to remove the dust build up that occurred as a result of the sanding. This will take some time because you want to make sure that all of the dust and residue is removed before preparing the sheetrock further for painting. The wall should not feel sandy or gritty to the touch.

Take a dry shop vacuum to sweep up all of the dust that has accumulated on the floor below the sheetrock. You should also take the sponge or a wet mop to clean the floor area around the sheetrock to take up any remaining dust.

Step 3 - Prime the Sheetrock

Using a paint roller, apply paint primer to the sheetrock wall. The primer should be applied in the same manner that regular paint is applied. The priming step is done with new drywall but may not be necessary once the wall is painted. Give the primer time to dry before applying the paint.

Step 4 - Paint the Wall

After the primer has dried (and is dry to the touch), use a new roller brush to apply paint to the sheetrock. Use a fanning motion to apply paint to the walls and leave the corners and edging for a specially designed edging brush or hand brush. Allow the paint to dry and apply a second coat, if needed. Touch up any areas that you missed.