Can I Paint Over Wet Wall Texture?

painting wall texture

Have you just finished a textured wall and now wonder if you can paint over it? Texturing a wall takes a lot of work. Understandably, you’d want to get it painted as soon as possible. Let’s figure this out.

Typically, you should wait until your wall texture is completely dry before painting over it. If you paint over wet wall texture, you risk harming the texture, smudging the paint, or damaging the finished project.

There are some people and professionals who choose to paint over wall texture before it’s fully dry. In the sections below, I will share several reasons why I think this isn’t the best idea. 

Getting a project done smoothly and efficiently is our goal. Speed shouldn’t be our goal – especially with painting. The paint can be touchy. Some people have rushed a paint job, only to spend hours scraping off paint and starting again. 

In DIY and home improvement, haste does make waste. 

Let’s jump into more specifics. 

Reasons You Shouldn’t Paint Wet Wall Texture 

If you’re rushing a project, mistakes are more likely to stack up. While some people know some shortcuts and do what works for them, it’s important to understand the principles behind why you should only paint over dry wall texture. 

Here are several reasons: 

  1. You need to know the outcome of the texture compound 
  2. Imbalanced moisture content 
  3. You might need touch-ups on the textured wall 
  4. You probably need to prime first 
  5. You could damage the texture pattern  
  6. The only time to paint wet texture 

Alright, let’s go over the seven reasons to avoid painting over wet wall texture. By the end of these sections, you’ll have a better understanding of why it’s so important to wait until the wall is dry. 

Let’s jump in! 

You Don’t Know the Outcome of the Texture Compound 

If you don’t know the outcome of your wall texture, how can you be sure of the outcome of your paint job? Sometimes, you might not like the outcome of your wall texture. In these cases, you may choose to remove the wall texture and try again or go with a different finish. 

Regardless, if you paint over the wall texture and then decide that you don’t like the look, now you have to scrap the texture and the paint job. And, in doing so, you waste good paint and a lot of time. 

Instead, wait until the wall texture is fully dry. Ensure that you’re happy with the finish, and then go ahead and paint. 

Altered Moisture Level in Texture 

Wall texture is almost always a random pattern. While this randomness is what we’re going for (as it hides any imperfections in the drywall below and gives your wall an interesting look), it can also leave an uneven moisture level in the texture. 

Some areas of the texture may be semi-dry, and some may not be dry at all. If you go ahead and paint, one area might survive, but the next area might not adhere. The result? Peeling and bubbling paint. Not ideal! 

Wait until the whole wall is equally dry. Then, when you apply the paint, it will dry correctly. 

Touch Ups 

Have you ever finished a paint job, stepped back, and realized you missed a spot? The same thing can happen when texturing a wall. 

As we mentioned in the previous section, texturing patterns are often quite random. As a result, there’s a high likelihood that you miss a spot and need to go back over it. However, you probably won’t know which spots need extra texture until the wall is fully dry. 

So, I recommend that you wait until you have a chance to view the whole textured wall, completely dry. Then, if needed, you can make changes without messing up your paint job. 

Now, let’s talk about primer.

Priming is Usually Needed for Good Paint Adherence 

Even if you could paint directly over wet wall texture, you’re skipping an important step. Just like any wall, a textured wall should be properly primed before you begin painting. If you skip the priming step, you could end up with an uneven, spotty finished paint job. 

Priming a textured wall does several important things. First, it allows you to look extra close at your textured wall. If you notice any imperfections, you can correct them with mud or sand them out. 

Second, textured walls are known to be difficult to paint. In fact, some types of texture compounds will soak up some of the paint, as the compound can be very porous. However, primer help fill these pores, giving you the best chance at good coverage with your paint. 

You Could Alter the Texture Pattern

Some texture patterns are pretty dramatic. If you’re going for an aggressive, heavy texture on your wall, then you don’t want to disrupt these patterns by painting over them while they’re still wet. 

Instead, allow the texture to dry fully. This will give you a chance to see if you really like the deep texture. If you do, you can begin painting. However, keep in mind, the larger the texture, the more paint you’ll need to cover the wall, and the more important it is that you use primer! 

The Only Time to Paint Over Wet Texture

There are two main ways people create texture on a wall. First, many people use joint compound – the same stuff used for cleaning up the joint between drywall sheets. When used for textured walls, the joint compound is watered down slightly for easy application. 

However, sometimes, people will use the paint itself to create the texture on the wall. In this case, there’s no need to worry about using paint over the wet texture because the paint is the wet texture!

Now that we’ve explained reasons to hold off on painting wet wall texture, let’s figure when you should paint over wet wall texture. 

How Long Before You Can Paint over Textured Walls? 

So, if you should avoid painting over wet wall texture, when should you paint over wall texture? And, how do you know the wall texture is ready to paint? 

Often, people will say to wait at least 24 hours before painting over wet wall texture. However, in the sections below, you’ll learn several other methods for determining if the wall texture is ready for paint. 

Just like when you work with wood, seasons, textures, and moisture all play a role in how wall texture will accept paint. 

Let’s go over some ways to tell if the wall texture is ready for painting. 

Ways to tell if the Texture is Ready for Paint

Below, you’ll find three ways to determine if your wall texture is ready for paint and primer. These tips are simply guidelines. It’s always important to follow the advice of the manufacturers. 

Effects on drying texture: 

  1. Weather conditions 
  2. Look at the color 
  3. Compound thickness 

Now, let’s look at these in more depth. 

Weather Conditions 

If you live in an especially humid region, or the room you’re texturing has a high moisture content, it could take a bit longer before your wall texture is ready for paint. 

Here are a few remedies. First, you could consider texturing your wall during the dry season in your area. However, if waiting isn’t an option, you can use fans, heaters, or dehumidifiers to reduce the moisture content in the room. 

However, be cautious with these methods, as you don’t want to place heaters directly against a drying wall. You’re simply trying to reduce the humidity to a reasonable level. 

Just know that weather could play a factor in wall texture dry time. 

Look at the Color 

If you used a joint compound to create your wall texture, the wall usually has a slight grey color when it’s still wet. In these cases, just look at your wall from a distance. If you can still see dark areas, your texture wall probably isn’t ready for paint. 

Note: Sometimes, light can be deceiving. So, try to look at the wall in different lights, as this will give you the best representation of where your textured wall is in the dry cycle. 

Consider Compound Thickness 

Just like paint, the thicker the texture compound, the longer it will take to dry. If you’re making a serious texture design, like popcorn or swirls, your might need to wait longer for the texture to dry. 

However, if you’re just applying a light texture, you don’t need especially thick mud. In this case, the texture will likely dry much faster. 

Final Thoughts on Painting Over Wet Wall Texture 

The wet wall texture should be dry before you paint over it. If you paint over the wall texture too soon, you risk ruining the texture, the paint, or both. 

If you’re unsure about when to paint over your texture, look at the color; the dry texture is uniform in color. 

It takes a long time to achieve a good textured wall. You don’t want to mess it up by rushing. Slow and steady wins the texture race.