Hiding drywall seams with paint truly depends on your preparation work. A bad drywall finishing job will show through every type of paint. So, it’s essential to tape and mud your walls carefully, applying several coats of joint compound before finishing with a topping compound. Then, sand your drywall seams with the right grit sandpaper to blend the patched areas with the rest of the drywall. Before applying a final paint, prime the walls so that imperfections are smoothed out. Finally, use matte or flat paint to help mask drywall seams.
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Will Paint Hide Drywall Imperfections?
Paint will not hide faults in your drywall. In fact, the opposite is true. Small seams, cracks, or variances in texture will suddenly be highlighted once you apply your first coat of paint. For this reason, it’s best to go above and beyond when finishing drywall, to ensure the wall looks excellent once it’s painted.
- Paint accentuates wall imperfections.
- To avoid poor results or future peeling paint, finish your drywall carefully before painting.
- Some paints highlight imperfections less than others, but no paint will hide problem areas.
While all paint types highlight drywall imperfections, some are more egregious than others. High gloss paint draws increased attention to imperfections and can be very hard to work with. Flat and matte finishes are great for walls because they call less attention to drywall imperfections than other paint types.
7 Tips to Hide Drywall Seams When Painting
You can prevent unsightly drywall seams and bulges from showing through your final paint job. Although finishing drywall is often seen as a daunting or frustrating task, there are several tips that will make the job easier and cleaner. Below, we’ll cover the tools and techniques to ensure your paint covers drywall joints seamlessly.
Tape and Mud the Walls in Stages
Properly finishing drywall is a multi-step process. You won’t be able to accomplish a finished look after taping the walls and applying one coat of joint compound (also known as drywall mud). Plan to apply at least 3 coats of joint compound, and follow these steps for success:
- Use paper tape and all-purpose joint compound to initially seal drywall seams. Paper tape is less likely to show through paint than mesh tape.
- Apply 2–3 coats of joint compound to smooth seams and hide the edges of the tape.
- Wait 24 hours between coats of joint compound.
It’s essential to perform this initial joint-sealing process over multiple steps. Rather than try to hide every imperfection at once, add joint compound a little bit at a time to build up a seamless, level drywall joint. Wait 24 hours for your latest coat of joint compound to harden before going back for another coat.
Sand Between Coats of Joint Compound
While you are applying multiple coats of joint compound, it’s essential to sand the dried joint compound before each new coat. This allows you to smooth out the ridges left behind by your putty knife on previous coats. If you don’t sand, subsequent coats of joint compound will build up on these ridges, leaving you with a messy finished product.
- Sand the existing joint compound just before applying the follow-up coat.
- Use 120 or 150 grit sandpaper to smooth imperfections between coats.
- Do not attempt to sand soft or wet joint compound.
Waiting for your joint compound to dry is essential. Dried joint compound sands smoothly and produces a clean finish. If you attempt to sand too soon, soft joint compound will be scored and marred, leaving a rough texture. Not only that, but wet joint compound will clog and ruin your sandpaper.
Use a Bigger Putty Knife Each Coat
As you build up your drywall seams, it’s a good idea to use progressively bigger taping knives each coat. This will help ensure a smoother finish with less ridges, since you can apply more joint compound per stroke with a larger knife. To use this technique:
- Use this taping set with several different putty knife sizes.
- When applying the first coat, use a 3–4 inch putty knife to smoothly apply tape and joint compound.
- Use a 6-inch putty knife for the second coat of joint compound.
- Move up to the 8-inch taping knife for the third coat of joint compound.
This tactic, along with sanding between coats, leads to a progressively smoother finish that fills in pits and cracks. This makes it easy for paint to hide drywall seams on the entire wall.
Add a Skim Coat
After applying your third and final coat of joint compound, it’s time to finish off your drywall seams with a skim coat of topping compound. Topping compound is finer and easier to sand than all-purpose joint compound. Using it for a final coat will help make your drywall seams invisible after painting.
- Use this topping compound to provide a smooth coat to finish off your joint compound.
- Apply the topping compound to drywall seams using a 12-inch taping knife.
The 12-inch taping knife from the set recommended in the previous step comes in handy here. This tool is great for applying a skim coat and feathering in the edges of your drywall seams so they blend with the wall.
Sand Your Seams
Properly sanding your patched drywall makes all the difference in the world. This step can take a rough finish to a seamless one. To sand your drywall seams, first, begin with 120 grit sandpaper. Use it to smooth out ridges and particularly rough areas. Once this is complete, move to 150 grit sandpaper. Make a smooth finish over the drywall and blend the edges where joint compound meets drywall paper. Finally, use 220 grit sandpaper to give the seams a smooth final finish.
- First, use 120 grit sandpaper to smooth rough areas and ridges.
- Second, use 150 grit sandpaper to smooth the seams and blend the edges.
- Third, go over the seams with 220 grit sandpaper for the best finish possible.
- Always move from coarse sandpaper to finer sandpaper.
It’s important to use these 3 different types of sandpaper in order. If you go back to 120 grit after you’ve used 150, you will roughen up the smooth finish you made with your 150. This means you’ll have to start the process over. By gradually moving from coarse to fine, each subsequent sandpaper makes improvements that lead to a pristine finish.
Prime Your Drywall
If you don’t want your drywall seams to show through your paint, it’s essential to prime your walls. Primer adheres to the drywall and joint compound, providing a uniform texture throughout. If you paint without priming, the difference in texture between drywall and patched areas will stand out.
- Paint the walls with this primer before applying your final paint.
- Primer helps to hide the difference in texture between drywall and patched seams.
- Inspect your wall after priming. If you see imperfections in your seams, patch and sand them, then prime again.
Priming also gives you a preview of how your painted walls will look. Imperfect areas in your drywall seams may show more prominently once you’ve primed. If this is the case, take the time to patch these areas with topping compound, sand carefully, and then apply a second coat of primer.
Use Matte Paint
In order to make sure no seams show through your patched and primed drywall, use a matte or flat finish paint. High gloss paints will pick up imperfections and texture differences, making them stand out. Matte paint mutes these imperfections.
- Use matte paint to help hide drywall seams.
- High gloss and satin finishes highlight flaws in drywall.
- Apply at least 2 coats of paint.
To make sure you hide drywall seams and achieve a uniform finish with your paint, apply at least 2 coats of paint. Make sure to wait 24 hours between coats of paint to allow it to fully cure. Painting over uncured paint can lead to peeling paint on drywall.
Will Drywall Tape Show Through Paint?
If drywall tape isn’t properly covered with several coats of joint compound, the edges of the tape will show through paint. In order to prevent this, apply 2–3 coats of all-purpose joint compound over paper tape, followed by a final coat of topping compound. Then, sand the joint carefully, smoothing it. If the edges of the tape show through the joint compound, it will show through the paint, so do not oversand the joints.
How Do You Hide Drywall Seams After Painting?
Paint reveals all the flaws in your drywall finishing job, and no paint on earth will hide those flaws. In order to make sure you achieve the best finish so your drywall seams do not show through your paint, follow these tips:
- Use paper tape to cover drywall joints.
- Apply 2–3 coats of joint compound over your tape, using progressively bigger taping knives.
- Sand between coats of joint compound to smooth seams.
- Apply a final coat of topping compound over the joints.
- Sand the joints in stages, working from coarse to fine sandpaper.
- Prime the walls before painting.
- Paint the walls with a flat or matte finish paint.
The best way to hide drywall seams with paint is to put time and attention into making a smooth drywall finish. If preparation is done correctly, it’ll be almost impossible to find drywall seams after painting.