Drywall Finishing Tips

Applying Joint Compound

While hanging the drywall at your project site will require strength, readying it for finishing requires a well-developed skill. Here, we will delve into a few tips used by experienced professionals to achieve a smooth, professional drywall finish every time.

Tip #1: Use The Right Tools

As with all projects (from cooking to construction and beyond), having the proper tools on hand makes the entire project much easier. For drywall, you will need to start with sanding paper (with medium grit). Broad, stainless steel knives are also necessary for when you reach the finishing phase. You'll also need paper tape and a flexible steel blade which will come in handy while you're taping.

Tip #2: Carefully Prepare Before You Begin Drywall Finishing

The drywall compound is available in two ways. One will have water sitting atop the compound as you open the bucket. This type of compound will require you to stir it slowly (using a paddle attachment with your drill is a great and convenient way to mix the compound. When no water is visible and the compound looks completely smooth to the naked eye, it's ready. The other type of compound is pre-mixed, and no effort is required on your part to begin using it.

Before you begin, take a quick assessment of the wall's surface. If you see the heads of any screws sticking out from the wall, be sure to drive those screw heads into the wall (until they appear to be very slightly recessed into the wall).

Tip #3: Use The Compound To Cover Any Screws And Joints

Porter Cable 7800 Drywall SanderUsing the flexible steel blade, begin to spread the compound into the wall at the joints (and between the sheets). When the joints are filled, hold the blade at a 25 degree angle, smoothing the compound completely. Be certain you fill in any holes left behind by screws, and be sure that all the recessed screw heads are also covered. (The compound should be smoothed over these sections also.

Tip #4: Apply Paper Tape To Joints

Take out the paper tape, centering it. Then, and apply it to the seam, using just your fingers to adhere the tape to the fresh compound you've just applied to the joints. Remember to be gentle as you press the tape into the compound. Continue unrolling the tape, continuing this action until the paper tape is applied to the entire length of the seam.

Here, you'll want to switch to the sharper knife, using it to cut the tape (at a 90 degree angle).

Tip #5: Smooth Out The Tape (Using Your Knife)

Although you began by using your fingers to hold the tape in place, over the seams, it is now time to use the flexible blade you've used earlier to create that super smooth, super professional surface.

A note here -- this process takes a great deal of skill. Be sure to take your time and really focus on creating an exceptional end result.

You will begin at the midway point, with your flexible blade positioned at a 25 degree angle against the wall. Then, you'll run that flexible blade across the tape in one long, smooth stroke, from one end to the other. You'll begin to see those coveted smooth lines, but again, be sure to go slow, take your time and use one long single stroke across the joint. Scrape away any excess compound, then repeat this action, starting at the middle of the joint and doing the exact same thing for the opposite side of the joint.

Repeat this action, again and again, until each joint is completely smooth.

Tip #6: Tape Down Those Inside Corners

Cut a piece of tape which is about the length of one of the corners in the room. Then, using the flexible blade and a similar motion, smooth the paper tape into the corners of each wall. (Again, start from the midway point and smooth down one end, then the other.

Once these steps are complete, you're ready to apply paint or wallpaper to finish.

Drywall Finishing Product Guide

Photo credit: Georgia National Guard / Foter / CC BY

Sources: Popular Mechanics

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Wallboard Supply Company is a third generation, family run business that has been serving New England's building needs since 1970. Bob Filion started the company with a commitment to provide quality drywall and finishing products with unmatched customer service. The company has grown over the years, expanding its' product range, but never wavering from its' core values.