How To Apply Garage Wall Paint: Simple Tips That You Should Know

By Jack | Resources

Jan 03
a man improving the wall paint

Painting the walls of your garage can add a finishing touch to a space that doesn't always get the attention that it deserves. A simple coat of primer and garage wall paint on drywall garage walls is an inexpensive way to make the space look finished and more welcoming.

Painting and priming the garage walls may take a day or two, but it's an easy DIY project that almost anyone can do. Many homeowners choose to use white paint for a crisp, clean look but don't be afraid to experiment with color to coordinate the garage walls with your existing house decor.

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Materials

Before you get started on your garage, you'll want to collect all of the supplies you'll need to make the process seamless and easy. Here's what we'd recommend:

  • Broom or shop vac
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Paper towels
  • Caulk or Spackle
  • Putty knife
  • Latex Primer
  • Latex Paint (enough for your walls)
  • Angled Paint Brush
  • Paint Roller and a few rollers covers
  • Painters tape
  • Painters tray
  • The exact materials that you’ll need will largely depend on the state of your garage walls and how much repair they need in order to be ready to accept primer and paint. If you are unconcerned with holes or small dents, then feel free not to patch them and just paint over them.

    For a smooth and finished look though you’ll want to use the right material, either caulk, spackle, or another filler, to fill in any holes or cracks in your walls before priming. Many of these materials will tell you what size gap or crack they are able to fill and you'll be able to choose according to the size of the imperfection.

    You’ll also want to have at least one roller cover for the primer and one for each coat of paint that you plan to apply. Most of the time you’ll need to apply two coats of paint, more if you choose a darker color, so it's best to have more roller covers than needed.

    Preparation

    photo of a clean garage

    Before you get started, you'll want to make sure you have all the materials you need on hand and within easy reach. It's a good idea to put these materials on a table or other surface to decrease the amount of bending you need to do, and you may want to use plastic sheeting to protect surfaces and floors.

    No matter how careful you may be, paint and primer have a tendency to get everywhere and can cause quite a mess. Old bed sheets, canvas drop cloths, and plastic sheeting are excellent methods for preventing paint splashes and spills from getting on floors and other items.

    Use masking tape or painters tape to secure any drop cloths or plastic sheeting on the floor in order to prevent tripping. You’ll also want to use it to line the corners of the floor, edges of windows and trim, and any other fixtures you want to keep paint free. Remove any light switch covers, and heating vent covers as well.

    Cleaning

    Before opening any of your supplies, take the time to clean the garage area and remove any non-essential items. Any items that must remain you may want to consider covering to prevent from getting covered in tiny flecks of paint.

    Use a broom or shop vac to clean the walls and floor and remove any debris that might be present. You can also use a multi-purpose cleaner to spot clean previously painted surfaces that have stains or other debris on them.

    It's not a good idea to moisten un-primed or bare drywall in order to remove stains as this can cause the material to soften and may make holes or cause another surface damage. Stains on the drywall will be handled by the primer and covered in full with paint.

    Repair

    Once the walls and floor are clean, inspect the walls for cracks, holes, and other dents that need filling. For larger cracks, you can fill them with paintable caulk that can be readily purchased at local home improvement stores. Smaller imperfections and holes can easily be covered with spackle and a putty knife.

    When purchasing spackle, keep in mind the size of the imperfection you are trying to cover and remember that a little spackle goes a long way. Buy the smallest container you think you can get away with as spackle can dry out over time and may not adhere as well when you go to use it for another project a year from now.

    If your walls are made from cinder blocks instead of drywall, make sure to get the correct caulk for filling cracks and seams. You may also need to sand these repairs lightly, so be sure also to pick up the right sanding device recommended for the caulk or filler.

    Before caulking, you might want to use the painter's tape to line around windows and other items protruding from the walls that you want to avoid getting caulk or paint on. Caulk can be difficult to remove later once it has dried, but many kinds of caulk can be cleaned up with water and paper towels while still wet.

    Painting

    a woman using a rollers to paint the walls blue

    The best kind of garage wall paint and primer for your walls will largely depend on the material your walls are made from, and the current condition of them. For new drywall or block garage walls, the standard primer and a traditional high-quality latex paint should be sufficient.

    If your walls are older and more stained, you may need to use a primer that includes a stain-blocking feature. This kind of primer can be found at local home improvement stores and can usually be applied as you would any other primer.

    If your surface is particularly porous, you’ll also want to get roller covers that are designed to put more paint on the walls and fill in these small spaces. These rollers are often referred to as "high pile" and typically are labeled based on the type of surface they perform on best.

    Primer

    photo of rollers painting a green straight vertical line next to a yellow and red vertical lines

    Selecting your primer is the first step in getting a professional looking result as it will help create the base for the paint that you plan to put on the wall later. Before applying any primer, inspect the surface and determine if you need a stain-blocking primer, or if just regular primer will do.

    Heavily stained surfaces can transfer stains through primer and paint over time and can ruin the finished looking wall. Stain-blocking primer is designed to prevent this transference of stains, and also works as a sealer of sorts.

    Essentially the primer is a barrier that prevents stains from permeating from the wall while also providing a nice even surface for the paint to adhere. Unless the package instructions indicate otherwise, typically only one coat of primer will be needed to create the optimal surface for the paint.

    If you plan to paint a darker color on your walls, you may want to inquire about getting tinted primer when you go to get your paint. Frequently, the store where you purchase your paint will be able to advise you on whether tinted primer would be useful, and they can mix up a shade to coordinate with your choice of paint color.

    What Paint to Use?

    a man on the ladder thinking what color to paint use for the wall as he holds the color swatches on his right and rollers on his left hand

    You’ll want to use a high-quality paint on your walls to ensure that you get the best coverage and lasting appearance. Cheap garage wall paint won’t last as long as higher quality paint and may also mean that you end up needing to apply more coats which increases costs.

    High-Quality latex paint should be somewhat thicker, almost like a syrup, and hold quite a bit of pigment if you are using a color. For white paint, even the higher quality paints may require two coats in order to get the most even coverage.

    You may want to measure your wall space before heading to the paint store in order to avoid overbuying paint. Most stores won't allow you to return unused paint in custom colors, so it's worth doing a little math to figure out what you need.

    Using the proper roller, and the angled brush, apply paint in the corners and work your way outward in V-shaped vertical strokes that overlap. You'll want to make sure that you have excellent lighting for this process in order to spot any lines or paint drips that might pop up as you work.

    Allow each coat of paint to dry thoroughly before applying another layer. The package instructions will tell you how many hours to wait, but keep in mind that other conditions such as temperature and humidity might affect this time.

    Once you have applied two or more coats of paint, you can then remove the masking tape or painters tape, and carefully clean up any drop cloths you were using. Some individuals prefer to wait until the paint has dried before completing this step, and that is fine. Painters tape will be easy to remove even a few hours after the paint has dried.