Painting Garage Walls

Painting Garage Walls – From Drab to Fab

This post may contain affiliate links. We may earn a small commission from purchases made through them, at no additional cost to you.

Painting garage walls can be a great way to refresh the appearance of your workspace without spending too much money. The reality is that garages are often exposed to fluctuating temperatures and are prone to infestations of bugs, rats, and other critters. This results in damage to the walls, as well as there being seams all over the walls themselves. Nevertheless, we will provide you with all the necessary information on how to paint garage walls!




There are a handful of preparation differences when painting garage walls compared to painting the inside of your house. While the process is quite simple, it is very easy to make expensive errors that could lead to you having to redo the entire process.

Below are some of the most important steps to take and some more information if you are wondering how to clean garage walls before painting.


Cleaning the Garage Walls

Before you get started, it is very important that you remove everything from the walls and that you move everything away from them. You will then need to cover any hardware, electrical outlets, as well as floors to ensure that you do not get any paint on them. Essentially, anything that you do not wish to have covered in paint, you should cover. Another important part of the process is to ensure that the area you are painting has decent ventilation. The fumes, also known as volatile organic compounds, are very harmful and can cause a variety of health issues.

It is important to understand why you are cleaning the walls, as this is a large area that is often exposed to moisture, dirt, dust, water, and oil.

If any stains are left behind, they can bleed through the paint and cause nasty stains on the top coat. To remove the bulk of dust and grime off the walls, use a Shop-Vac or a broom. Then, using a solution of water and detergent, wash the walls. Harsh cleaning agents or a pressure washer, which could cause damage to the fragile surface, are unnecessary. If your garage walls are not filthy, you can forgo washing them. You can proceed to the following step once your walls have been thoroughly cleaned and dried.

Safety Gear for Painting Garage Walls


Patching Up Holes or Cracks

Before you can start applying primer, you will need to check for any holes or cracks found in the drywall of your garage. The best way to repair holes and cracks is to use joint compound and this will allow you to completely cover any previous damage while sanding will allow you to get a smooth finish that is perfect for painting.

However, if your drywall has irreparable damage, it will be best to replace the panel.

Some houses will have concrete walls and this is somewhat easier to repair as you will need cement to repair any holes, but cracks are a different story and this could be part of a bigger problem. If you have drywall, you should also check for water damage and then get to the root of the problem. Once the water damage has been fixed, you can start the repair process.


Sanding the Walls

The next step is to sand the walls after conducting any repairs. This will ensure that you get the smooth finish that you need. Without sufficient surface preparation, you risk paint degradation. Sanding the drywall surface before administering the primer can also improve adhesion. If you want to use alternative oil-based paint, you may omit this step.

Sand Garage Walls for Painting


Applying a Primer

Primer is an integral part of the process to ensure that the paint adheres to the surface the way that it is meant to. This will allow the paint job to last much longer and the primer will also act as a sealant for porous surfaces to prevent the paint from being absorbed.

However, different surfaces will require different approaches.



Normal paints are not designed for drywall, due to its porous structure. As a result, if your garage walls consist of unpainted drywall, you will need a decent surface drywall primer, often known as PVA primer (polyvinyl acetate). A PVA primer plugs sheetrock pores and gives an even coat. It will also extend the life of your paint.

Protect Garage Contents by Painting Walls

The majority of the paint will penetrate the sheetrock if you forgo priming and just paint directly onto the drywall. The finished product will be lumpy and uneven, and it will not look very good. Ensure that your effort pays off by not neglecting this crucial step in your preparation.


Painted Surface

Determine whether your garage walls were painted with latex or oil-based paint. Unless you are attempting to replace a dark color with a fresh, lighter color or you have stains that are leaking through the garage wall paint, you do not need to use a primer if the walls are already coated with latex paint.

If you have stains, apply an oil-based primer to the stain area and let it dry. Apply primer across the entire wall if the marks are large.



Choosing the Right Paint

The type of paint that you choose is very important and the first thing to consider is what you will be using your garage for. If you are simply storing your car then a less durable paint will be fine. However, if you are going to use your garage for DIY projects, then it is best to use paint that is more durable.

Paint Types for Painting Garage Walls


Discussing Different Types of Paint Suitable for Garage Walls

The two types of paint that would commonly be used are oil-based paint and latex paint. Latex paint is commonly regarded as one of the best options as it does not have a strong odor while also being quick to dry. However, it should be noted that each type of paint has its respective advantages and disadvantages that we will dive into a bit later.

The type of paint you choose will also determine when you will need to repaint the garage, but you will likely sacrifice another characteristic of the paint itself.

For instance, if you choose an oil-based paint for painting garage walls, you will be able to clean it very easily; however, the paint is not as flexible as latex paint, so it will easily crack. Using exterior paint might also seem like a good idea; however, because the paint itself is not exposed to the elements, it is unnecessary and it also has more volatile organic compounds (VOCs).


Advantages and Disadvantages of Each Type of Paint

Choosing the right type of paint is very important, but between oil-based and latex paint, there is a clear winner. Take a look at the table below which features the advantages and disadvantages of both types of paint to ensure that you make an educated decision.

Type of PaintAdvantagesDisadvantages
Oil-Based Paint●      Very durable

●      High sheen levels

●      Cures very quickly

●      Water-resistant

●      Prone to cracking

●      Will yellow over time as it is not resistant to UV rays

●      Difficult to clean up

Latex Paint●      Low levels of VOCs

●      Easier to apply

●      UV resistant

●      Flexible

●      Will soak up water

●      Does not do well in harsh weather conditions

●      Does not hide stains very well


Selecting the Right Type of Paint for Your Garage Walls

Interior latex paint is the ideal choice for your garage interior paint. We do not advise using exterior paint. Although the interior of your garage may be chilly in the winter, it is not subjected to snow, rain, or sunshine, therefore no outside paint is required. Interior paint will work great as long as it is not exposed to cold conditions when wet.

Use Brush or Roller to Paint Garage Walls

As we have mentioned before, the use of external paint indoors might potentially be hazardous. These paints frequently contain anti-mildew chemicals, which emit hazardous fumes that may lead to respiratory issues. Such products are intended to be utilized outdoors, rather than in an enclosed place such as your garage.



Painting Techniques

You could buy the best products, but if you do not know how to prepare the surface properly, then it will go to waste. Additionally, another important factor to consider is the techniques that are used. Learning how to paint garage walls with the proper technique is an important part of the process. Below we have covered everything that you would need to know about painting techniques.

This includes preparing the surface for paint, applying paint evenly, and the best way to tackle corners and edges of the garage wall.


Preparation Before Starting

We have previously discussed the importance of preparing the surface for paint, be it on painted garage walls or raw drywall. However, there are certain things that you should do that do not involve touching the walls. The first thing you should do is to organize your garage. Clear the vicinity of any dirt, garbage, or spider webs before you begin painting. The most effective technique to clear dirt like this is using a shop vac.

This does not always apply to dirt, but also unnecessary clutter such as the treadmill in the corner that you have not touched in years.

Once the garage has been cleaned, you can start setting up the area for paint. Spread your tarp over the entire floor. This fabric is preferable to a ladder drop cloth since it is not as slippery. Once you have your tarp down and your safety equipment on, you can start repairing holes and cracks before you begin painting. Keep in mind that you should inspect every part of the garage that will be painted for damage that lies beneath the surface.

Keep Painted Garage Clean


Tips for Applying Paint Evenly

While you have asked yourself, “should I paint my garage walls?”, it is a bit more complex than simply slapping on a single coat of paint and calling it a day. Before you start painting, you should cover all electrical outlets and switches with painter’s tape. Once this is done, you can start painting without the fear of clogging the outlet holes.

One of the best techniques is to start by rolling a “W” onto the wall in a 3×3 space.

This will aid in the even application of paint to the surface and create an even layer. Keep rolling from top to bottom, filling in the “W” as you go. Keep repeating the “W” technique until every inch of the wall has been covered. Another very simple, yet important part of the process, is to ensure that you are using high-quality paint rollers and brushes. A high-quality roller will absorb more paint and this will also result in a more even finish compared to its cheaper counterparts.

Tips for Painting Garage Walls

When using a roller, it is also important to be mindful of fat edges. This can be very difficult to get rid of, but it is easy to prevent. All you need to do is not oversaturate the roller with too much paint and you should maintain a moderate and consistent pressure when using the roller.

Additionally, always plan your paint route, so never start in a corner or anywhere that would make it difficult for you to spread the paint.


The Best Practices for Painting Corners and Edges

While rollers are unable to get close to the edges, use a paintbrush to paint around the ceiling, inner corners, and baseboards. The brush marks left by this “cutting in” technique will not match the paint roller’s texture on the remaining area of the wall. For the best outcome, use the roller to paint over as many brush strokes as possible. Roll up lightly near the inner corners, moldings, and ceiling. Ensure that you do not use a roller that is completely coated with paint and face the exposed tip of the roller along the edge.

Paint Garage to Update Home

With enough practice, you will be able to learn how to roll paint vertically within an inch of the ceiling. Cutting in is a crucial technique that you will need to learn to get very good at to ensure that you get the best results when painting garage walls. One important part of this technique to remember is that you will need to take your time, as you do not want to waste any time trying to clean up the paint.



Additional Tips for Painting Garage Walls

There are many more tips that you can use when painting your garage walls for the first time. The tips that we have provided below will make painting much easier and they will allow you to keep your garage in the best state at all times.


Maintaining the Cleanliness of the Garage

It seems that despite how frequently you clean and vacuum the garage, the dust and dirt reappear as quickly as you can get rid of it. However, there are various methods for controlling dust in the garage and keeping it reasonably dust-free between frequent cleanings. Not only are dirt and dust bad for the appearance of your garage, but they can also cause respiratory and sinus issues.

If your garage is dirty, begin with an extensive cleanup.

Cleaning cabinets and workbench areas of all dust and dirt should be done in a systematic manner, commencing at the top and gradually working your way to the bottom. A significant quantity of dust and dirt can drift into a garage beneath doors with broken or missing seals. Check the rubber seals on the main entrance to the garage and any side access doors to ensure they are in excellent shape. Replace any cracked or damaged seals or reattach those that are loose.

Clean Garage Walls for Painting

Most people think that sweeping is enough to clean the floor, but vacuuming is a much better option as you are unlikely to miss any dirt that is scattered around. Furthermore, to keep your possessions that are stored in the garage clean, store them in sealed plastic containers.


Choosing Appropriate Lighting for Painting

Lighting is one of those things that can easily be overlooked, and in most cases, sunlight is perfectly fine. In fact, we would argue that sunlight is the best way to spot any paint irregularities, but if you are painting after sunset, you will need a reliable light source. While you will be tempted to grab a torch or a lamp, this is not enough to accurately spot flaws in your paint job.

So, what would be the best light? We would recommend using a light that mimics natural sunlight.

The best option would be an LED light with a color rendering index (CRI) of at least 90 while being between 5000K and 6500K. K, or Kelvin, is a method of measuring the temperature of color. Keep in mind that you will not need a special light if you are busy sanding or priming a wall. This is where you will be able to use any type of lamp. Certain colors will also reflect various amounts of light. For example, white paint or light colors, in general, will reflect the most light.


Using the Appropriate Safety Gear

Painting is a messy job. Paints as well as paint thinner might come into touch with a variety of chemical and electrical risks, whether the job is done indoors or outside, on a house or commercial structure.  When working with paints and paint thinners as a painter, you must protect yourself from these dangers by wearing suitable safety gear. There are different types of safety gear available, and these depend on the type of paint you will be using as well as where you are working.

In general, it is best to have the following safety equipment on hand.

  • Apron: By keeping clothes covered while painting, an apron may help protect it from spills, smudges, and splatters.
  • Gloves: Both hands are protected by gloves from severe chemicals, splattering, and even injuries. Gloves should fit snugly over your wrists, fingers, and knuckles to prevent anything from getting inside. Many gloves are disposable, but others are reusable if cleaned properly after each usage.
  • Painter’s goggles: While painting, a good pair of goggles can safeguard your eyes from harmful chemicals and paint splatters, and other risks. They may also feature tinted lenses, which help to block harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun and minimize glare whether working inside or outside in strong light.
  • Painter’s respirator: A painter’s respirator is a special mask that is worn over your mouth and nose to block particles from entering your breathing zone. The respirator must fit snugly around your face to prevent dust or particles from entering via holes in the mask.
  • Overalls: To safeguard the skin on your arms and legs against paint splashes, overalls should be worn. Some overalls also come with a hood that is perfect for protecting your hair if you are painting your ceiling.

Install Good Lighting in Painted Garage


Now that you know everything involved with painting your garage walls, you should be prepared to take on the task. While it is a time-consuming project, we can assure you that it is not as challenging as you think once you finish the first wall. This is also a very rewarding DIY project, as you will be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor once you have learned how to clean garage walls before painting. Good luck!




Frequently Asked Questions


Should I Paint My Garage Walls?

Yes, you should. Painting garage walls comes with various benefits, such as providing additional protection to the drywall and the joint tape and an aesthetic overhaul. It is also a much more cost-effective solution compared to redoing the drywall itself.


What Is the Best Garage Interior Paint?

This depends on the climate of your garage; however, we suggest not using exterior paint, even in cold climates as this contains mildewcides that are very harmful. Instead, interior paint will be perfect as it will work better for painted garage walls in colder climates, while being better suited for regular cleaning.


What Is the Best Method How to Clean Garage Walls Before Painting?

One of the best methods how to clean garage walls before painting is to use a broom or a shop vacuum to get rid of loose dirt and dust. You will then need to wash the wall with a mild dish soap and water combination to get through the grease and grime. Luckily, you will not need a pressure washer or any other strong chemicals.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *