Painting Over Wet Drywall Mud: Is It Even Possible?

Drywall is also referred to as wallboard. Drywall is special because its construction does not use any kind of plaster or mortar. And this is what creates the complications of painting over wet drywall.

So now you are wondering, is painting over wet drywall mud even possible?

Well, to be honest, it is a really bad idea to paint over drywall while it is still wet. You’ll have to wait 24 hours or more for the wall to dry. You can accelerate the drying process through different methods. Priming and sanding are also very important before applying each coat. 

Now let us look into the details of the painting process. We did all the research and have gathered the information for you. So let’s jump right into it.

What Happens When You Paint Over Wet Drywall Mud?

As we already said, painting over wet drywall is a very bad idea. But you may wonder how so. Here are some of the main issues it may cause: 

Pulls The Muds Off

If you paint on wet drywall mud, the paint will pull off the mud. The best you may do is fudge the paint a little. That will not harm the mud

The paint itself might come off the mud. The paint seems like a sheet of paper on the wall.


Sagging is usually caused by water pipes leaking water into your walls. But surprisingly, painting over wet drywall mud causes sagging as well. 

Accordingly, sagging between the joists or maybe pillowing is caused by painting over wet drywall.

Dull Look

When you paint a wall, you fill holes and patch cracks with joint compounds or drywall mud. But when you paint over wet or patched areas, the compound ends up sucking the moisture out of the paint. 

This gives the paint a dull look. The spots will stand out from the rest of the wall’s paint.

Although, using a sprayer is different. As sprayers do not work like rollers or paintbrushes. 

When Can You Paint Over Drywall?

When Can You Paint Over Drywall

You can paint over drywall mud, as we have already stated after it has dried. But now the question is, how long does drywall take to dry?

At the far end, drywall mud may take 24 hours to dry properly. But sometimes, due to high humidity or warm temperatures, it may take even longer.  

How To Tell If Your Drywall Mud Is Dry?

Now we know the time it takes to dry your drywall. Naturally, the next question is how to tell if it’s dried or not. The hardness or dryness of drywall is the biggest tell of whether it is dry or not.

As the drywall mud starts to dry, you can see where it is still wet or where it is dry. Usually, it is more noticeable in the inside corners. Because the corners usually take longer to dry.

But just to be sure, there are tests you should do to confirm the dryness. Tapping the drywall is one of them. If you tap on the drywall and it bends it means that the drywall has not dried properly.

Another way is by rubbing your finger across the mud. If the mud is dry then it will be smooth and powdery on the surface. On the other hand, if your finger feels like it is sticking and rubbing the mud, then the mud is still wet. 

How To Dry Drywall Mud Faster?

24 hours is a pretty long time for the drywall to dry. What if you want to accelerate the process? 

There are natural ways to accelerate the process. You can also take help from machines.

Our favorite ways to speed up the drying process are:

Using a Dehumidifier

As we already mentioned, high humidity can cause your drywall to take longer to dry. So one of the easier solutions is to use a dehumidifier. It will decrease the humidity, causing the drywall mud to dry faster.

But not everyone has a dehumidifier. And getting one for just this one job is a huge hassle. So this simple solution is actually not so simple.

Proper Ventilation

Fortunately, there are natural ways to fasten up the drying process as well. One of them is ensuring proper ventilation.

Ventilation is very important for drying drywall mud.  The more airflow you have, the better. Having a fan running in the room helps the drying process quite a bit. If you can add fresh air to the equation, it will speed up the drying even more.

Having an air exchanger going on high or a few windows open, are excellent options that will speed up the process. 

Picking The Right Day

Choosing the right day can have a huge impact on drying speed. As we already said, humidity and airflow are big factors in the drying process. And these two factors vary hugely from day to day.

The best day is a bright, sunny, and warm day. A day like that will help the drywall dry faster. On the other hand, a rainy day has increased humidity. That will hamper the drying process.

Preparing The Drywall Mud For Painting

Now that we have picked the perfect day to paint our drywall, we must take the necessary preparations before we can paint. Preparing to paint the drywall mud might be difficult. But we are here to help you out. Here is a step-by-step process that we recommend you follow:


The walls need to be isolated from getting any external dust before sanding. Sanding needs to be done in the areas where the drywall mud is used. It will help prepare the wall for priming. This will also make the whole surface smoother than before.

You have to sand the wall until every lump and the raised area are removed. Sandpaper should be used to smooth out the wall if the drywall mud is thick.


The wall must be cleaned before priming. Every ounce of dust needs to be cleaned after sanding. This has to be done to ensure that no dust mixes with the paint during priming.

Using a vacuum to clean the floor is a good idea. It will ensure the removal of all the dust. Dusters might leave some dust around so it is recommended to not use dusters.


Priming is the process of blending the drywall and the joint compound. This allows the surface to become uniform. But a primer specifically designed for painted walls should be used.

For the smaller areas or corners, a brush should be used. After the paint has dried, sand the wall lightly with sandpaper. 


How Long Does It Take For Drywall To Dry?

There are many factors impacting the drying time of drywall. Generally, it takes 24 hours to dry. But humidity, temperature, airflow, etc factors can increase or decrease the time needed to dry the drywall mud.

What Happens If You Paint Over Wet Drywall?

Painting over wet drywall mud is a pretty bad idea. The paint does not apply properly over wet drywall. Sagging, the paint coming off, dull look, etc are results of painting over wet drywall mud. 


Well, we can clearly understand that painting over wet drywall mud is a really bad idea. Waiting for the wall to dry is the best way to go. 

Even so, sanding, cleaning, and priming need to be done before painting the wall. Preparing the drywall properly will lead to good looking paint.

Until next time!

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