Drywall Finishing Tips
Realistically considered, some level of skill is needed to finish out drywall.
Having done work along similar lines is of benefit. Watching experienced drywall
finishers in action can give an accurate concept of what is needed. Mechanics that
are certified normally provide a worthy demonstration. As many do-it-yourselfer's
could attest, after the fact.
Some of the tools you will need are drywall knives, ladders or a form of scaffold,
and a mixing tray. Some of the needed materials are fiberglass or paper tape,
corner bead material and nails, plenty of water and a sanding pole with paper to
finalize the job.
Before beginning take a close look at the installed sheets all around.
Inspect to see if any cuts or tears exist
, and if so they should be cut out
for removal and/or countersunk just below surface-level.
A drywall compound pre-mix is popular
although make sure it is to
the right consistency. By adding water and stirring, to a smooth batter-like substance,
take care not to overthin.
: while hot mud is in popular use (also known as 15 or 20 minute quick or speed dry)
verify that the powder mix will have the right flexural properties for your application. If applying hot mud,
tend toward a leaner application since you will find sanding a bit harder than for normal compound -- the main
tradeoff between them.
: a stir paddle on a 1/2" drill can cut down on much
of the grunt work in stirring. But do not spin too rapidly. This can
beat air into the mix, turning later into air bubbles dried in the form of many
little concaves on your wall.
: while many finishers now prefer lightweight compound even for bedding,
the manufacturer may recommend a drywall compound that is more suitable for bedding, and a
seperate topping compound. Whether this appeals to the marketing of a product or not, the topping
is easier to sand and makes for easier cleanup.
You will then want to nail the outer corner beads in place (if metal). Making sure they are adequately
snug to the wall surface to prevent lifting of the applied mud. See
how to install drywall corner beads
for more detail.
Next, ready your tape for applying
- either paper or fiberglass mesh tape.
If you have many boards to finish, a drywall banjo can come in handy and help automate the process.
If you have a smaller area for taping, handheld strips may suffice. Choose the right broad knife - 3" or 4" for
taping, and scaling wider for finishing (older knives have a tendency to collect fine grain rust,
that is notably quick to bleed out onto the mud - remove this with a very fine grain sandpaper with a gentle buff and rinse).
Dampen your mud trough with water, to later add for ease of cleanup, before filling the tray with your compound mix.
Many finishers seperate out the finishing of corners with flat surfaces.
But don't worry, you will come to realize which is the natural sequence most suited for you.
But most screwhead sinks should be done all at once.
Next, you will want to apply the mud onto the seams at a rate at least a several foot lead,
ahead of your taping. Feeding the tape onto the mudded seam by way of contact with the flat knife
edge alone and pressing with a firm and continuous motion, stopping only for cleaning excess
from the edges as you go, and taking no new debris of any form
back into the tray.
It is recommended that the fist layer with tape be dry before applying the second coat.
But the more experienced you become, a second layer may be done in the same step
but pay heed with this technique! Seasoned drywallers at times dip their blades
in water to maintain a moist edge that can go toward a smooth layer.
The pre-taped inside corners must be cut with metal snips. There can be no outward
burrs from cuts.
Lightly sand to smooth. Float a top layer at least once. Each application layer must exceed
the underlying widths applied. The topping mixture last.
Lastly, sand the ceiling and walls, concentrating on areas of high visibility. If the ceilings
are to be stomped, they can normally pass with less sanding. But when sanding more vigorously with
coarser papers (80 grit or 100 grit sandpapers or screens) be attentive and do spot checks to prevent
a roughening of the paper. Frayed paper is accentuated by a paint finish, increasingly with the higher the gloss.