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How to Use a Paint Roller With Joint Compound

Updated February 21, 2017

Joint compound helps hide wall flaws and create texture when applied as part of your home's paint treatment. Only apply joint compound with a paint roller for paint texture purposes. If you are simply patching your walls, apply the joint compound with a putty knife, rather than a paint roller, for the best finish. Select all-purpose joint compound rather than any fast-drying or lightweight varieties for use with a paint roller. This will reduce shrinking and cracking on the wall surface so you get a smooth, even texture. If you are painting over fresh drywall, apply a coat of primer before you apply the joint compound.

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  1. Stir all of your latex paint for the project in a large mixing tub.

  2. Add approximately one part joint compound for every two parts paint. For example, use 2.5 gallons of joint compound for 5 gallons of paint. This will give you a thick texture that is still easy to spread with a roller. For a lighter texture, try one part joint compound to four parts paint.

  3. Add approximately a quarter as much white glue to your mixture as joint compound. For example, if you used 2.5 gallons of joint compound, add a little over 2.5 quarts of glue.

  4. Put on eye protection and long rubber gloves. Place a paint beater attachment inside your drill chuck and tighten it in place. These beaters look like wide paddles with holes in them.

  5. Place the paddle into the paint and turn on your drill to its lowest setting. Continue mixing the paint with the paddle until the joint compound, glue and paint are thoroughly blended. Feel around inside the paint container with your gloved hands and manually break up any lumps.

  6. Pour your mixture into a roller tray and place a roller pad on your paint roller frame. Roll the pad into the mixture, just as you would with normal paint, but only roll off a small amount of the excess mixture before applying the paint to the wall -- just enough to keep it from dripping as you move from the tray to the wall.

  7. Roll a downward-angled horizontal stripe starting about 1 foot away from the upper corner of your wall.

  8. Spread the paint away from your stripe by rolling over it with light pressure in constantly changing random directions. The joint compound helps the paint hold the roller's texture. The thicker the roller pad nap, the more texture you will have.

  9. Roll the paint as close to the corners as possible with your roller, then continue spreading it all the way into the corners by dabbing paint into the corners with a cellulose sponge, such as a standard kitchen sponge. This will simulate the roller texture in areas the rollers can't reach.

  10. Roll a new horizontal strip and repeat the random-direction spread each time you need more paint. Overlap the areas to ensure even texture, and do not allow one area to fully dry before you start the next.

  11. Tip

    Joint compound reduces the coverage of your paint, so plan on 1 gallon of paint for approximately every 200 to 250 square feet of wall surface, depending on how thick your texture is. Joint compound will lighten your paint colour, so choose a shade darker than you want for the finished colour, unless you plan on adding a top coat of coloured paint.


    Test your paint with a small amount of joint compound and glue before you mix the full batch. In rare cases, the paint will react badly with these substances, creating a foul odour and giving the paint a rubbery texture. In this case, try omitting the glue to see if you get the same result. If so, you will need different paint. If omitting the glue solves the problem, use the same formula without the glue, but beware of applying the paint too thickly since you do not have the glue to bind it to the wall.

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Things You'll Need

  • Latex paint
  • Large mixing bucket
  • Joint compound
  • White glue
  • Rubber gloves
  • Eye protection
  • Paint beater drill attachment
  • Drill
  • Paint roller tray
  • Paint roller frame
  • Roller pad with 3/4-inch or thicker nap
  • Cellulose sponge

About the Author

Anne Hirsh

Anne Hirsh has been writing and editing for over 10 years. She has hands-on experience in cooking, visual arts and theater as well as writing experience covering wellness and animal-related topics. She also has extensive research experience in marketing, small business, Web development and SEO. Hirsh has a bachelor's degree in technical theater and English and post-baccalaureate training in writing and computer software.

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