Painting Interior Drywall and Plaster



  1. New drywall is a very porous substrate and can vary in porosity between the drywall's heavy paper surface and the joint compound that is applied between the drywall sheets. Because it is smooth, drywall creates a very sound surface for painting —but it must be done correctly. If not, the result could be a more costly and time-consuming job and a less-than-desired finished appearance. Before you begin to paint, check the surface of the drywall. If the installer didn't sand the drywall and joint compound to create a smooth surface, you may want to lightly sand any areas that are rough or uneven. Wipe away any sanding dust with a damp cloth. Let dry completely. You're ready to begin priming.
  2. Cutting In is a technique that helps you achieve clean lines at the corners and edges. Beginning with your first wall, cut in at all borders and then roll the bare drywall surface with a primer such as a Valspar Drywall Primer or PVA primer. Repeat this process until all the walls have been primed. In addition to producing a better result on the walls, primer can save you money by reducing the quantity of top coat paint required for the project.
  3. After the primer has dried, apply one or two coats of premium quality, 100% acrylic paint in a sheen appropriate to the room being painted.



  1. New plaster should be allowed to dry thoroughly before you apply a primer and top coat. Applying a primer first, aids in the adhesion of the top coat paint.
  2. Make sure you choose a top-quality, latex stain blocking primer for use on plaster.
  3. Apply your primer using the cutting in technique mentioned in the above drywall section. After it dries, you can begin to apply the top coat. Choose a 100% acrylic latex paint for best results.

A Note on Paint Sheens
  • Flat finishes are great for achieving good hide of underlying colors or substrates; in addition, they help disguise surface defects —like wall repairs —and deliver an elegant, low-sheen result. They are not as effective in terms of being stain resistant. Flat or matte finish paints are ideal for use in formal rooms that do not receive a lot of wear and tear.
  • Flat enamel paints are special formulations that are essentially the same sheen level as conventional flat paints, but they also offer a degree of stain resistance not associated with regular flat paints. Flat enamel paints are best used in low-traffic areas.
  • Eggshell finishes have slightly more sheen than flat paints and offer a level of stain resistance without sacrificing hide. Eggshell paints can be used in low-traffic areas, such as bedrooms and dining rooms.
  • Satin finishes typically offer slightly more sheen than eggshell paints and, therefore, provide better stain resistance. Satin paints are a good choice for the widest variety of needs because they deliver greater capabilities, such as good hide and durability. Satin paints can be used in most rooms of the house but may not be the best choice in rooms that experience a lot of wear and tear.
  • Semi-gloss paints excel at stain and scrub resistance and therefore are good candidates for use in hallways, bathrooms, kitchens and children's rooms, as well as for use as a trim paint on woodwork, windows and doors.
  • Gloss or high-gloss paints are very shiny and are extremely durable in terms of stain and scrub resistance, but they do sacrifice a degree of hide. Gloss paints are generally used where stain and scrub resistance are the primary concerns and where high levels of sheen are desired.

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