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You'll need to skim-coat if the drywall paper is damaged or removed. Cut out the damaged areas TOTALLY clean so you don't have any paper-hairs showing. (Use a Utility/Box knife w/a new, sharp blade, along w/a straight-edge.) Then, fill the holes and sand appropriately, feathering out each layer. (Plan on at least 3 layers. No one is THAT good that they can do it in 2 layers ...)
I'd apply 2 coats of a HIGH quality Primer/Sealer. You buy 1 product that does BOTH. I say 2 coats because it's safer. Put the 1st coat on heavy, and the 2nd coat on just enough to 'fill in' what the 1st coat missed. The drywall AND the 'mud' will really, REALLY absorbe the primer. THen, plan on 2 coats of top-coat paint.
A word of advise about the paint - DON'T buy the cheap stuff from Home Depot, Lowe's, or the like. Look in the Yellow Pages for Sherwin-Williams, Finneran & Haley, or the like (under PAINT - RETAIL). That will be $$ well spent. IF you skimp on material, it will show. ALso, consider spending a few $$$ on a good, DIY Home Repair/Improvement book that has this stuff in it. It, too, will be $$$ well spent!
My best to ya and hope this helps.
Jay J -Moderator
PS: God Bless America!
Apply only ONE coat of a good sealer (Glidden Ultra-Hide Gripper comes to mind) - Two coats of primer is a waste of time and primer.
Apply TWO coats of finish - two coats is more paint to face the world - better wash, color, sheen, etc.
Also J - how do you explain high quality products like Glidden Ultra-Hide Gripper available at THD AND a "Paint Store" like ICI Paint Stores - or Devoe Paint Dealers?
Get off the big box bash........its old!!
You know I could almost forgive you if you gave good sound paint advice - but you don't do that either!!