How to Paint Walls: Prepare Interior Walls for Painting

Learn fixes for the 8 most common drywall flaws.

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Introduction

Quick fixes for the 8 most common drywall flaws, including nail pops, cracks at corners, bubbled or loose tape and holes. Fix them right before you paint for a longer lasting paint job.

Tools Required

  • Caulk gun
  • Hammer
  • Knockdown knife
  • Mud pan
  • Utility knife

Materials Required

  • Acrylic caulk
  • Drywall compound
  • Mesh tape
  • Metal patching fabric
  • Paper tape

Video: How to Paint New Drywall, Prep and Paint a Room

We’ll show you how to prep and how to paint new drywall in any room in just one morning – including all that messy clean-up. Your results will rival any painting job done by a pro.

Let’s face it—no wall is perfect. And if you want to rejuvenate a room with fresh paint, it’ll look a whole lot better if you repair and smooth out those beat-up walls first. Some flaws, such as shoddy taping work, have been around since day one. Others, like cracks and nail pops, start showing up months or years later as the house ages. And still, others are just insults from day-to-day living: dents from doorknobs, dents from furniture, holes from shelving and picture hangers. The good news is that you can fix all these problems. You only need a few inexpensive tools and a bit of finesse. With our tips, some patience and a keen eye, even beginners can get good results.

In this article, we’ll show you how to repair and cover the most common drywall flaws so that they’ll be all but invisible after that new coat of paint. The fixes are ordered from the most common and easiest to ones that are less common but more challenging.

We’ve hung and patched and primed and finished our fair share of drywall. Check out this compilation of 20 tips for working with drywall to make your next build or repair easier.

Project step-by-step (20)

Step 1

Let’s face it—no wall is perfect. And if you want to rejuvenate a room with fresh paint, it’ll look a whole lot better if you repair and smooth out those beat-up walls first. Some flaws, such as shoddy taping work, have been around since day one. Others, like cracks and nail pops, start showing up months or years later as the house ages. And still, others are just insults from day-to-day living: dents from doorknobs, dents from furniture, holes from shelving and picture hangers. The good news is that you can fix all these problems. You only need a few inexpensive tools and a bit of finesse. With our tips, some patience and a keen eye, even beginners can get good results.

In this article, we’ll show you how to repair and cover the most common drywall flaws so that they’ll be all but invisible after that new coat of paint. The fixes are ordered from the most common and easiest to ones that are less common but more challenging.

We’ve hung and patched and primed and finished our fair share of drywall. Check out this compilation of 20 tips for working with drywall to make your next build or repair easier.

First, Find the Flaws with a Utility Light

find flaws in wall with utility light nail pop how to paint new drywallFamily Handyman

To find the problems, inspect the entire wall surface by holding a utility light close to the wall and “raking” across the surface. The light will highlight wall flaws that aren’t obvious to the unaided eye. Circle each problem area with a pencil (not a pen or marker, which may bleed through paint later) to mark it for repair.

Step 2

Fill Nail Pops and Small Holes

Drive the popped nail drywallFamily Handyman

Nail pops are usually caused by fasteners that are driven through the drywall paper during installation, or by a gap between the drywall and the stud. Then vibration and seasonal wood swelling and shrinkage cause the overlying filler to pop out from the wall. Drive in another 1-1/4-in. drywall screw near the nail pop so the head penetrates just below but not through the drywall paper. Then remove the old screw by pushing the screw gun tip through the middle of the nail pop and backing out the screw. If it’s a drywall nail, drive it into the stud with a nail set and leave a concave dimple.