How to Cover Plasterboard

Written by angela roe
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How to Cover Plasterboard
Priming plasterboard gives better results than painting directly on the plasterboard. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Plasterboard is gypsum plaster covered by layers of paper. This plasterboard is frequently used in home construction and is applied over the studs of the room. Painting directly over plasterboard often results in a blotchy appearance because of the uneven way the paint is absorbed by the paper. Wallpapering directly onto untreated plasterboard can cause the wallpaper to fail or it often results in severe damage when you remove the wallpaper. Knowing how to properly cover plasterboard gives you better results and saves you time, frustration and money.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Tack cloth
  • Primer
  • Paint pan
  • Paint brush
  • Paint roller
  • Paint
  • Wallpaper primer
  • Level
  • Pencil
  • Wallpaper
  • Utility knife
  • Water box
  • Water
  • Smoothing brush
  • Trimming guide

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  1. 1

    Wipe down your new plasterboard with tack cloths to remove any dust from the surface. Any dust or particles on the surface of the plasterboard may show in your finished covering.

  2. 2

    Prime your new plasterboard with a high quality primer. Paint the primer onto the wall in the same way you paint with a traditional paint. Prime around the edges and corners with a trimmer or a small paint brush. Roll the primer on with a paint roller and allow the primer to dry overnight.

  3. 3

    Paint the primed plasterboard with latex paint. Paint around the edges with a trimmer or a small paint brush and roll on the latex paint with a paint roller. Some colours may require two coats of paint for full saturation.


  1. 1

    Prime your walls with a high quality primer that's water-based. Select a primer designed for use under wallpaper so it sizes the wall, meaning it wets the wall and prepares it for wallpaper.

  2. 2

    Draw a vertical line where the first wallpaper strip is to be applied. Use a level to make sure the line is perfectly straight so the wallpaper strips are hung perfectly straight.

  3. 3

    Cut the first strip of wallpaper four inches longer on both ends than you need it. Cut it with a sharp utility knife to create a clean cut.

  4. 4

    Pull the first strip through the water box with the back of the wallpaper facing up. Pull the wallpaper slowly through the water so the water can activate the paste on the back of the wallpaper.

  5. 5

    Position your wallpaper strip on the wall, leaving the excess wallpaper riding up the wall and extending below the wall. Make sure the wallpaper strips lines up with your vertical line.

  6. 6

    Brush the wallpaper strip with your smoothing brush to remove air from behind the wallpaper and to make sure it's pressed fully against the wall. Hold the trimming guide firmly in the juncture of the wall and ceiling and trim away the excess wallpaper. Do the same at the bottom of the wall.

  7. 7

    Hold the roll of wallpaper up to the strip on the wall and find the match, which is the point where the pattern repeats. Cut the wallpaper strip so you can match the patterns with extra wallpaper above and below the wall. Apply this strip of wallpaper, making sure it's butted tightly up against the first. Continue wallpapering until you're wall or your room is completed.

Tips and warnings

  • Have your primer tinted so it's closer to your finished paint colour. This cuts down on the coats of paint you'll need to achieve full coverage.
  • Choose wallpaper with a large pattern when first wallpapering a room or wall. It's easier to match large prints than small ones.

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