Can I Paint Plasterboard?

Plasterboard or drywall is a material used to make interior walls and ceilings. After installing plasterboard, you may be wondering if you can paint onto it.

Certain surfaces require extra prep work before you can apply paint. Otherwise, it could damage the surface below. So, can you paint plasterboard?

Luckily, you can paint onto plasterboard without damaging the plasterboard or affecting the paint. However, you should prepare the surface beforehand for the best results.

How to Paint onto Plasterboard

Before painting plasterboard, here are a few things you should consider.

Mist Coat

A mist coat is a coat of watered-down emulsion paint. The purpose of a mist coat is to seal the plaster to prevent chips and peeling.

To make a mist coat, get a bucket of affordable emulsion paint. It doesn’t have to be an expensive variety since you will be watering it down anyway. You can play around with the ratios, but the most effective mist coats are usually 2:1 (two parts paint to one part water).

Apply a thin layer to your plasterboard once you have mixed your mist coat. You may notice that the paint is soaking into the plasterboard. This is normal and helps seal the plasterboard against peeling and damage. Once the mist coat is completely dry, you can then paint over it.

Joint Filler

Applying joint filler is also an important piece of prep work when painting directly on plasterboard. When painting anything, you want to have a perfectly smooth surface to avoid any imperfections in the paint layer.

To fill the plasterboard joints, start by sanding down any protruding areas.

Then, mix up some joint filler, which you can get in most hardware stores. Using a jointing knife, apply the filler at an angle to the plasterboard joints. Be sure to wipe off any excess filler to avoid bubbles and raised areas later on.

Filling the plasterboard joints will take several coats and extra work. For extra stability, you may want to apply jointing tape between layers of filler to smooth out the gap. After applying two layers of filler, sand down the joints to make the surface as smooth as possible.

What Type of Plasterboard Should You Use?

While you can paint most types of plasterboard, you should use tapered-edge plasterboard.

Most plasterboard has square edges, which form corners when two pieces meet. In contrast, tapered-edge plasterboard has edges that taper off to a smooth finish when they meet.

Using tapered-edge plasterboard will make it easier to fill in the joints, keeping sanding to a minimum.


You can paint onto plasterboard without needing to add a skim coat. However, you will still need to do some preparation, as you would for any surface. Covering the plasterboard with a thin layer of mist coat, using watered-down emulsion paint, and filling in the joints will give you the smooth surface that you can paint.

While you can paint any type of plasterboard, most contractors prefer tapered-edge plasterboard. The smooth edges make it easier to fill in the joints.

Leave a Comment