Painting Over Drywall Mud – Priming + Painting Guide

Painting over drywall mud can be a challenging task requiring some skill and understanding of handling the project. When painting drywall, flashing is a significant challenge, as you can tell if a section of the wall has recently undergone repair (because its color is different from the rest of the wall).

There are several problems you can resolve once you are knowledgeable about how to paint over drywall mud. For example, if you’re trying to make wood paneling look like drywall, at some point, you’ll need to prime and paint joint compound to make the entire wall look smooth and finished.

Can you paint directly over drywall mud?

Yes, you can paint over drywall mud, but you must prepare and prime the mud to make the paint adhere to it. It is best to apply one coat of paint on top of drywall mud after priming instead of applying two coats of paint without priming.

You can try matching the sheen with the rest of the wall to reduce the effect of light reflection on your wall surface. If your wall surface is near lots of light, you might have to repaint the entire wall surface to maintain consistency.

It’s always a good idea to mix some paint with the joint compound before you apply your drywall mud on the affected surface before painting over the area. The paint blends much better with the rest of the drywall when it dries.

Do you need to prime joint compound before painting?

Yes, it is important to prime joint compound before applying paint. Priming helps the paint adhere to the surface better. Also, drywall primer will even out the surface, improve the texture, and make painting much easier.

In essence, the primer acts as a base color that blots out prior colorings to give you a high-quality finish and a true reflection of your paint color. However, you don’t necessarily need to apply a primer to your joint compound before painting.

Most joint compounds have a smooth texture that easily bonds with different paints, making it easy to paint over the surface without first applying a primer beforehand. It’s always better to prep your drywall surface before using the drywall compound at least 24 hours before you begin working on the paint job.

The common downside of applying joint compound and finishing surfaces with paint is the amount of time it takes. It takes at least 24 hours to dry. However, you can make drywall compound dry faster with a drier or a dehumidifier if you want to save on time.

How to prepare drywall mud for painting

Painting drywall mud requires some preparation. The amount of time it takes can vary depending on the task’s size, scope, and urgency.  You might need to prime uneven surfaces, drywall edges, and other areas before you start working on your paint project.

What you Might Need

A drywall paint job should always be well-planned, especially if you are doing it yourself (rather than hiring someone). You can start by researching the best paint, painting procedures, and preparation methods.

You might need tools such as:

  •  A jab saw
  • 4,6 and 12-inch drywall knives
  • Primer
  • Joint compound
  • Framing Square
  • A sander

After you have your equipment ready, you can begin working on an adequate preparation plan. Before you start painting, you might want to consider the following steps:

Inspect and Assess

A critical step involves making an adequate assessment of your drywall. You can start by looking into potential areas of weakness as cracks, joints, and uneven surfaces.

If you are not sure exactly how to go about the process, you can always talk to a consultant to help you out. If you are confident in your skills, try and conduct an assessment about a week prior (and give yourself adequate time to figure out the state of your drywall).

Repair Damaged wall

Always ensure that your drywall is in top-notch condition before you begin painting. Use a framing square to mark the extent of the damage before you use a drywall knife to cut off the affected area. However, if the damage is not too extensive, you can repair the affected surface using a primer.

Ideal painting preparations that you should consider are:


You might have noticed that paint rarely sticks on your surfaces or quickly flakes off after some time.

Sanding helps you roughen up your drywall’s surface, allowing for the paint to stick on the surface. You can also use a sander to remove odd bits of old paint (and other unwanted materials) on your drywall before you can start working on it.

You can use a pole sander to work quicker and reach complicated segments with ease.


Make sure to clean your drywall after sanding. Cleaning your drywall helps to remove dust and other particles from the wall surface before painting. An added benefit includes the ability to identify uneven surfaces and potential areas of repair to produce a quality job.

You can use a soft brush, damp cloth, or a broom to help you clean out unwanted material from your drywall. Remember to put on protective clothing such as eye goggles, gloves, and a nose mask to prevent damage to your body while handling the task.


 If your drywall has repair issues, you might need to use a primer. You can use a primer to fill up gaps in spacing, joints, holes, etc.

To properly use a primer, start by cleaning the drywall surface and removing any loose material before applying the compound on the affected surface. Primers are ideal for filling small cracks, drywall joints, and small holes on your drywall surface.

After applying the primer, it’s best to give it enough time to dry before you start painting.


Once you are sure everything is ready, you can start painting. It’s best to consult with a painting expert to help you figure out the best painting technique, color options, and combinations that fit your desired needs and interest.

(How to Mix Paint with Drywall Mud)

Drywall mud helps to thicken paint and creates an elaborate texture to hide flaws on your drywall surface. Not all paint types are ideal for mixing with drywall mud. Some paint varieties might become rubbery, create a foul odor after a while (making them a poor choice for drywall painting).

Mixing your paint with drywall mud might have some downsides, such as lightening the paint color, and might cause you to use more paint than you would have originally intended.

You can try using the all-purpose premixed joint compound for the best results. (Other varieties might not mix correctly with the drywall mud and may negatively affect the paint job).

 Here are a few steps to consider when mixing your paint with drywall mud.

Step 1- Scrap some paint on cardboard, add a small amount of drywall mud, mix, and observe the mixture for a few minutes to figure out if the two complement each other.

Step 2- Put a generous amount of paint in a bucket, and mix thoroughly to give a consistent texture.

Step 3- Add an adequate amount of drywall mud to your paint, and stir until you get the desired texture. You can start with small amounts and work your way until you receive the ideal feel.

Step 4- Add a small amount of white glue to the mixture (about ⅙ of the paint you use).

Step 5- Using your hands (with gloves), mix the three ingredients. Pay close attention to deal with lumps and other inconsistencies that could ruin the quality of your work.

Step 6- Once your mixture is ready, you can start painting your drywall. It’s better to use a roller to create an even finish on your drywall surface. Use long strokes to work faster and to achieve a smooth touch. You might need to apply more than one coating to create a high-quality finish.

Can you paint wet drywall mud?

It’s not a good idea to paint over wet drywall mud. The joint compound needs about 24 hours to dry up before you paint a new coat. Painting over wet drywall mud can have potentially detrimental consequences and might ruin the overall quality of your work.

After the joint compound dries, apply a new coat carefully and give it enough time to dry before proceeding.

Best drywall mud primer

1.Rust-Oleum 2004 Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer

The Rust Oleum2004 Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Drywall Primer is a water-based product suitable for a wide array of wall applications. You can use the product on your bathroom walls, interior, and external surfaces.

The product gives you a clean sheen, has anti-blistering properties, and can resist mildew growth. Additional benefits include its longevity, ease of application, and that it doesn’t yellow over time.

2. KILZ L211101 Adhesion High-Bonding Interior Latex Primer

Kilz offers some of the best quality primers available. With its high adhesion and bonding performance, Kilz L211101 adheres to the tradition and is especially useful in covering up drywall imperfections.

The Kilz L211101 latex primer is a white water-based product that is ideal for use on your drywall. The product dries quickly, has high adhesive properties, and is relatively easy to use.

Best paint for drywall mud

Kilz  Color-Change Stain Blocking Interior Ceiling Paint

The Kilz color-change stain-blocking interior ceiling paint is an ideal product for painting over your drywall. The product combines stain blocking technology with a dry time indicator to guarantee a quality finish on each coat.

You can purchase the product on Amazon, other online stores, and recommended dealerships.

Rust-Oleum 1966730 Painters Touch Latex

The Rust-Oleum Painters 1966730 Touch Latex is an acrylic blend ideal for drywall application. The product uses water-based technology to provide a lasting effect and is ideal for interior and exterior use.

Besides, it takes less time to dry and gives a gleaming, clean finish to the room.

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