How to Finish Drywall like a Pro

Whether you’re patching, repairing or installing new drywall, you can bet that it’s going to be a tough job without the right tools and knowledge. Use these simple tools and tips for finishing drywall and you’ll be at pro status in no time fast.

Taping the Seams

Drywall seams, large holes and other gaps between pieces of drywall are typically covered with drywall tape. This allows the materials to expand and contract without destroying the finished product. There are two types of drywall tape-paper and fiberglass. Paper drywall tape needs to be applied with the center seam facing up while fiberglass tape must be applied with the sticky side against the drywall.

Apply wet joint compound directly to the drywall, then add the paper tape. Coat the paper tape with another layer of wet joint compound using a spackling knife.

Adding Layers

After the first coat of joint compound has dried overnight, you can begin to sand any rough or high spots. Never use wood sandpaper to sand drywall. Specialized drywall sandpaper must be used or else you’ll have huge gashes and pits that can affect the final finish.

Be sure to sand just enough to knock down any edges. Too much sanding and you may end up sanding away the drywall paper.

Once you’ve sanded away any rough spots on your first coat, a thinner mix of joint compound should be applied. Mix a little bit of water to your joint compound to thin it out more. You’ll also need to use a larger and wider drywall taping knife to ensure the final finish is flat. Allow the second coat to dry overnight before sanding and applying the final coat.

Applying a Finish

Most walls have a texture coat that covers any rough spots or uneven areas in the overall drywall finish. Typical wall finishes are usually a light spray finish called orange peel. The texture for ceilings is typically what’s called a knock down lace. Older ceilings that have a popcorn texture are much harder to finish. A spray can of texture can be purchased at most hardware stores that make finishing small sections of drywall a breeze.

For larger finishes, a spray hopper can be used to texture drywall. It’s super important to cover everything in the area with painter’s plastic because it can get really messy really fast. Carpet, tile, furniture and appliances should all be double protected against overspray from the flying joint compound spray. Use a large drywall taping knife to knock down lace textures on the ceiling. Allow the final texture to dry overnight before painting.

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