New home owner, my garage has a basic drywall finish - ie nominally sanded joints. There are also water stains all over the dry wall - I'm going to guess they washed their cars inside the garage with a house or otherwise had a hurricane with the garage door open :)

I want to improve the look and brighten up the garage. MY plan:

  • Remove loose drywall paper and crumbs
  • Use joint compound to fill holes and cover nails (nothing big)
  • Do a very basic sanding job on fills and anywhere there is a large bump (ie like the joint tape in the photo)
  • Roll on some while latex primer (garage open during painting and overnight thereafter)
  • Declare victory

Is this reasonable approach? The drywall is all totally dry and feels firm everywhere I've pressed.

typical finish

  • I would get some cheap wall paneling and cover the wall with that. Dec 5, 2023 at 18:43
  • @SteveWellens thanks for the suggestion, expensive no? I might be looking at the wrong product..
    – Ram
    Dec 6, 2023 at 16:39

2 Answers 2


That's a perfectly reasonable approach. What you have here is a basic firewall, with rudimentary taping to seal the joints. I had the same thing with untaped joints and simply caulked them before painting.

I would just take a little more comprehensive approach to the drywall finish in your case, though. What you describe would leave you with highly visible joints and a lot of roughness. Why not take the time to skim it properly? Get yourself a good 12-14" knife and feather those joints out with thin applications under firm pressure.

Note that sanding should be a very minor last step. You don't shape drywall mud--you just knock off very fine crumbs and edges. The real work happens with the knife. Use long, light strokes and light pressure with a sanding screen.


Other than declaring victory too soon, sure.

Primer is not a finish coat. It's designed to do the job it's designed to do, and is not great at the job a topcoat is designed to do.

You'll get better (even for the Quick & Dirty approach) results from primer and a topcoat.

  • What is the downside to just using the primer without a proper paint coat on top?
    – Ram
    Dec 5, 2023 at 17:32
  • 1
    Primer tends to be very thin and watery. It seals the porous paper and joint compound but doesn't leave much on the surface. Therefore it's not as durable or washable.
    – isherwood
    Dec 5, 2023 at 17:33
  • 1
    I've had to address 40-50 year old unfinished drywall like yours, and other places where a coat of primer was slapped on and they stopped. Neither aged well.
    – Ecnerwal
    Dec 5, 2023 at 18:38

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.