painting a shop

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Forum topic by HokieMojo posted 04-06-2010 06:43 PM 2304 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2104 posts in 3965 days

04-06-2010 06:43 PM

I’m just wondering what people do when it is time to paint in their shops. I definitely want to go with plain white paint to try and make the room as light as possible. I’m also thinking flatter paints are better because they will have the least glare and will cover up blemishes better.

The bigger question i have is whether primer is enough or if I’ll need to prime then paint. Painting my 2 car garage will be a huge undertaking (1 person, no help) and I really just want to get it done and start hanging things back on the walls.

The drywallers already did a pretty low quality job in there with their taping and mudding. This would be expected though because 1/2 the garage wasn’t even sheetrocked and what was was sheetrocked was left unpainted. The space was meant to be purely utilitarian.

Now, my definition of utilitarian has changed. I want more light and I want a neater appearance to make my time in their more pleasant. I’m just wondering if a thick coat of primer will be enough? I know primers main purpose is to help paint bind to the substrate and to cover underlying color variations, but that it sometiems isn’t as durable.

No matter what, I don’t expect my walls to stay pretty. I’ll drill holes, bump them with rolling carts, lean stuff against them, etc. My question is, if I can deal with minor wear, is it worth it to do a whole extra coat (or two) of paint over the primer? I’m pretty sure I need primer no matter what because no matter how hard I try to clean the walls, I’m sure there will be some dust left behind.

25 replies so far

View JimNEB's profile


239 posts in 3305 days

#1 posted 04-06-2010 07:15 PM

I read a post about someone who used Kilz to paint the walls of the shop. I’m thinking about doing that also when I get to that point. I’m planning on putting wafer board up instead of dry wall. I figured that would be more durable and I could hang things on it easier. I’d paint it a light color, I’m going white. I think that helps with the lighting.

-- Jim, Nebraska

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51457 posts in 3717 days

#2 posted 04-06-2010 09:00 PM

I know that gloss paint cleans up a lot easier than flat, but it is glossy. I used white gloss in my daughters room a few years ago and it was pretty shiny

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

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1591 posts in 3998 days

#3 posted 04-06-2010 09:14 PM

The walls and ceiling of my “Workshop in the Woods” are paneled with OSB, which is more durable than sheet rock,. I primed the surfaces using a sprayer, and then rolled on two coats of semi-gloss white. This really inhances the lighting, and has been said, cleans up easier than flat paint.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View dbhost's profile


5767 posts in 3469 days

#4 posted 04-06-2010 09:29 PM

If I had, say a warehouse to move my shop into while I finished the garage as a dedicated shop space I would do the following…

#!. Yank every single bit of sheet rock off of the exterior walls. #2. Insulate #3. Run a sub panel and power circuits where they need to go. #4. Strip the floor dead bare, and do an epoxy coating on it. In all likelyhood something neutral like Beige. Not my preference, but certainly would make the house easier to sell in the long run. #5. Rip down the drywall around the attic ladder, pull out current attic ladder and install a 30” HEAVY DUTY insulated ladder / framing. #6. Re rock the whole thing. #7. Finish mounting my ceiling lighting so that the anchors are there. #8. Pull the ceiling lighting, and outlet covers. #9. Prime, prime, prime. #10. Paint. Preferrably an interior semi gloss pure white. At least 2 coats to insure even color. #11. Reinstall lighting, outlet covers etc… #12. Install “tool stacker” rack. #13. Install lumber rack #14. Install dust collection ductwork, cord winders, and hose reels. #15. Install peg boards, clamp racks, etc… #16. Move tools, lumber etc… back in. #17. Insulate the garage doors. #18. Get it disasterously messy again with projects.

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View MrWoody's profile


328 posts in 4011 days

#5 posted 04-06-2010 09:32 PM

I just painted mine last fall after 20 years of unpainted dry walland no windows. I primed it to deal with the yellow sheet rock and still relatively white mud. Then I purchased an acrylic high gloss white with new fluorescent lighting I was afriad it would be too much. Once you start hanging stuff on the walls it is not nearly as stark as you would expect. It is nice going in there now that it isn’t so dingy.

-- If we learn from our mistakes, I'm getting a fantastic education.

View Alexander's profile


194 posts in 3348 days

#6 posted 04-07-2010 02:11 AM

Kills and Z prime are a primer and sealer. You can even cover the smell of smoke with Kills or z prime.
Satin finish will allow good clean up but not glare from lights. Light can not go around or over lump or high spots in your surface. A statin finish breaks the light up to not show the bad finish.

-- John at Sugarloft Mountain........Don't argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell the difference.

View Wintersedge's profile


83 posts in 3211 days

#7 posted 04-07-2010 03:02 AM

I think a lot depends on what you are doing, how much natural like you have, and what type of lighting you have.

If you have HO(high output) bulbs in either t5 or t8, I would stay away from a high gloss, the same is also true if you have yellow spectrum fluorescent bulbs. I might be jaded because I wear glass with goggles so I tend to see reflections and a bit of glare. No harm to your eyes, I just find it irritating after a while.

You 100% do not want to go flat.

Eggshell, satin, and semi-gloss all clean up nicely.
Eggshell you can clean with a good bit of scrubbing.
Satin can be cleaned, but you can not scrub too hard or you will pull the paint off
semi-gloss cleans easier, but is also the most expensive.

I just reread your post and it seems you have bare drywall. I would absolutely suggest you go with a primer coat first and tint it the shade/hue you want. That will give you a great idea of what your light reflection will look like, you always want to prime before you paint, and bare drywall is gonna absorb more paint why not through cheaper primer at it first. In the end you may like the primer coat.

If you want to burn 20 bucks, you could always get the pint size cans, paint different walls with each can and go with the one that you like best.

-- Motivation alone is not enough. If you have an idiot and you motivate him, now you have a motivated idiot.

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Rick Dennington

6348 posts in 3431 days

#8 posted 04-07-2010 03:15 AM

Greetings: Sheetrock for walls and ceiling?....... bad idea…. You’ll never be able to hang anything heavy like cabinets, shelves, ceiling lights, etc. without the screws pulling out over time. Walls need something like OSB or something more suitable for shop needs. As for painting…. 2 coats of Kilz, and 2 coats of a flat latex white…that’ll do it. Don’t worry, you ain’t gonna be vacumning the walls, so it really don’t matter what you go with…. do what you want to….. it’s your shop…... keep on keeping on…...... later.

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....!!

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2104 posts in 3965 days

#9 posted 04-07-2010 08:45 PM

All good ideas, but I’m definitely going with sheetrock. I like the flame resistant properties, plus it is an attached garage so the building code may even require drywall instead of osb. If I need to hang heavy stuff, I’ll just use a wall stud. I plan to leave the indentations caused by drywall screws (I won’t put mud over them) so that the studs will remain easy to find.

As for paint, I guess I’m going to prime it white. If I’m happy with the looks, I’ll leave it at that. If not, I’ll throw on some white paint afterward. I just REALLY dislike the tan look of the 20 year old sheetrock that I do have and seeing the back of the exterior sheathing in the uncovered areas. I think anything will be an improvement.

View Abbott's profile


2570 posts in 3540 days

#10 posted 04-07-2010 09:54 PM

Flat white paint reflects more light then semi-gloss or gloss paint. But semi-gloss and gloss wear a lot better and clean up is much easier. I also plan to paint my shop this summer. The walls are sheeted with oxboard and the lid is Sheetrock. I don’t plan to paint the ceiling so there will be no need mask or remove air and electrical lines.

I will move all my equipment and everything else I can to the center of the shop. Then clear the walls and stack what I can on top of the stuff in the center of the shop. Everything else will be moved outside or into the garage.

To make masking the ceiling easier there are folded plastic sheets available in small rolls about 6” wide and 25” or better long with masking tape already attached. You can mask along an edge with this then fold out the plastic to 3’ or 8’ in width depending on what width you feel you need. I plan to use 3’ rolls all around the top of my ceiling (where the walls meet it) then pin it to the ceiling with small pieces of blue tape. Blue masking tape has less glue on it and will not pull other paint or drywall paper off as bad as regular masking tape will. This will give me a 3’ shield (masked area) all around the ceilings perimeter. The built in work benches will be masked next except the legs which I also want primed. I will then mask the exposed concrete slab with plastic sheets and toss a couple of wide sheets over the large pile of gear in the center of the shop.

I plan to spray all of the walls and cabinets with two coats (probably three) of Kilz brand primer/sealer, stain blocker. Wal-mart also has a brand that used to be a lot cheaper then Kilz but now costs almost as much. It’s probably the same stuff with a different label. Oil base covers the best and is much more durable then water base latex. Latex works ok and is a lot easier to use then oil base. It’s always a trade off. I won’t decide what I am going to use until I purchase it. I often go with oil base because of the much superior durability but you also have to use thinner to clean up after which adds time and expense to the job. Drying time between oil base coats is also longer.

After several coats of the flat off-white is applied and dry I will may or may not spray a coat of semi-gloss paint over it. I will then go back in pull the masking and paint a couple of coats of trim paint on whatever it is I want to detail out. This is where gloss or semi-gloss helps a bunch. Door and window casing, window sills and doors themselves all get a coat or two of paint with gloss. Wherever extra wear and finger prints will be.

The amount of reflected light off of the painted surfaces will triple (or better) after you paint.

-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

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2570 posts in 3540 days

#11 posted 04-07-2010 10:04 PM

All good ideas, but I’m definitely going with sheetrock. —Hokie

It has to be 5/8” type X Sheetrock for a one hour fire rating. Only ceilings and party walls (the wall between the garage and the house) are required by code to have a fire rating in most areas. Sometimes party walls are required to have a two hour fire rating which is two layers of 5/8”.

My shop is a stand alone building with a 5/8” lid because the ceiling joists (trusses) are on 24” centers. Half-inch rock on a ceiling with 24” centers will sag to much.

-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

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5575 posts in 3900 days

#12 posted 04-07-2010 10:47 PM

My garage was insulated and sheet-rocked, but never painted. When I bought the place, I painted it with Kilz, followed by two coats of white semi-gloss interior paint.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3255 days

#13 posted 04-08-2010 06:51 AM

I used OSB in my workshop, caulked all corners and seams then used Kilz primer that was tinted sort of light yellow(I’m partial to that color) and rolled 2 coats on the walls. then put tiles(not ceramic kind) on the floor to make it easy to clean. I’m happy, that’s what counts!

Erwin Jacksonville, Fl

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

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17614 posts in 3426 days

#14 posted 04-08-2010 10:35 AM

I painted my shop tan with semi-gloss. ( saw dust color) Flat is too hard to wipe down, or keep clean. I use white on the table tops to brighten it up plus I have 3 windows. Good luck in what ever you choose.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Edziu's profile


151 posts in 3288 days

#15 posted 04-09-2010 02:48 AM

Hello. For fresh drywall: I would definitely prime with a drywall sealer. I believe Behr makes one in either a purple or orange can. Make sure you get the one for fresh drywall. Finish coat sheens are really personal preference, but cleaning an eggshell is the easiest.

What’s all this noise about OSB on garage walls? It’s a gross texture and soaks up paint like a SOB. As for hanging things…Are houses being built without studs now; can’t you just find a stud to put a screw in? I’ve got three courses of brick to contend with on the four walls of my shop, so hanging anything is a nightmare.

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