I suspect I may not be able to prime and paint these walls as is. I have a few sections that still have the original sheetrock paper and some where I had to remove everything up to the brown/torn/rough paper when I was scraping the old paint off.

I did a lot of reading and I am of the opinion that I must apply a thin layer of joint compound to these brown/torn/rough paper spots and then sand them down to a smooth surface. The rest of the walls I should be able to prime and paint after wards.

I would like to ask if I am on the right track or should I be doing something else.

Drywall with brown/torn/rough paper

Drywall with surface I believe to be good to paint

Close up of the rough/brown/torn areas on the Drywall

  • 1
    Sure if you don’t care about the surface condition
    – Kris
    Sep 1, 2018 at 22:37
  • I've seen it painted just like this... not pretty. I sanded it all off, mudded, and refinished the whole area. Mudding and sanding will be messy and some work, but you'll be much happier with the result.
    – rdtsc
    Sep 2, 2018 at 1:31

1 Answer 1


Can I prime/paint these walls?

YES, if you do not care very much about how flat and smooth the wall looks when you are done.

The primer will help knock down those rough paper spots a little, and using a thick nap roller to apply your finish coat will hide a bit of the rough areas. But your picture shows some unsanded (or poorly sanded) patches of mud, and nothing will make that look better except for more sanding and more mud and more sanding... ad nauseum.

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