Ten Secret Drywall Finishing Tips

23 responses

  1. paul
    February 22, 2013

    Excellent write up , was most interested in the corners

  2. Owen Russell
    May 10, 2013

    This is interesting. I'm wondering about #8. "You can't second coat both sides of an inside corner at the same time". I use a corner tool to do both sides at the same time, I don't know why I can't do something that I've always done. Good article.

  3. Dragonwolf
    August 18, 2013

    Its also like not eveyone can paint. Its an art also.I like using Zinnser 123 primer on new rock or plaster. It helps create a water vapor barrier especially for outside walls.

    Thanks for your tips on finishing. I'm doing a complete bathroom remodel and at the rock hung. Now to tackle the mudding!

  4. Dragonwolf
    August 18, 2013

    Also not everyone can paint. Its an art that not everyone one can master. I have never come across a one step one coat coverage paint that looked good. I perfer to use Zinnser 123 primer on rock or plaster. It help create a water vapor barrier.

    Thanks for the corner and ceiling line tips. I at the mud stages on a bathroom remodel. It was a total destruction and rebuilt that gave 2 more feet to master bedroom.

    I'm a painter by trade and have always struggled with corners!

    Any sanding grit or type you perfer for the different stages?

    • Tim Carter
      January 14, 2014

      Get the angled 3M sanding sponges. Fantastic. Also, skim coat the walls or edges of all joints BEFORE sanding. Use thinned-down compound.

  5. Dragonwolf
    August 18, 2013

    As you stated not everyone can finish, not everyone can paint. When I prime I like to use Zinnserr 123 primer. It creates a vapor barrier especially good for outside walls.

    Thanks for the corner/ceiling tip when muddin. Doing a bathroom remodel and I get to be the lucky one who does the muddin. I'm using the mesh tape and use it for some areas that need small patch. In those ares I cross the tape.

    Well better get back to the rock. Thanks again!

  6. Glenn Mellott
    December 21, 2014

    Thanks for the tips. I do drywall as a profession and I'm always looking for the best process. A little worried about doing second coat right after tape. I guess any blade marks on inside corners will be covered by 2nd stage of second coat. How about knives? I use a 4" and 6" for most of the process, ( except on butt joints) and they do not have that little flat edge on the side. What do you prefer and why? Also, do you skim coat the whole wall after third coat? Is the Sherwin Williams primer any good? How about Valspar? I water my mud down to set tape because it flows out nicer. Can this back-fire?

    • Tim Carter
      December 22, 2014

      Glenn, lots of questions!

      I use a 10-inch knife for second and third coat work. I like that it gives me plenty of work room applying and removing mud. I don't skim coat. It's a wasted step if you use the high-quality sealer primers. You can paint far faster than you can skim coat and clean up. Be very careful about thinning mud! You THIN the glue at the same time that holds the tape to the wall!

    • Brian
      February 7, 2015

      Benjamin Moore first start latex primer. Its multi purpose. Works great for almost anything. If not everything!
      Experience 2 years in the trade...

      Sherwin is okay... IF your looking for quality BM

      • Tim Carter
        February 8, 2015

        TNX. This sounds like a robust discussion between Ford and Chevy pickup truck owners.

  7. Zach
    December 28, 2014

    Added tip* prefill you're gaps and tape with the heavy mud. And for the rest of the coats use lightweight.
    On third coat, use own judgment but I scrape all the mud off and be sure to cover all edges of second coat.
    When spotting screw's, do not take any shortcuts. Make sure they are all countersunk the first time. And any other blemishes or torn paper on the rock, beat or rub in with knife handle lol and fill with mud while spotting. Don't want any surprises on your primer coat.
    Smile more.

  8. Al Hector
    January 20, 2015

    I'm re-drywalling a bathroom. I've left the ceiling up. Can I make the wall to ceiling joints look good? Little nervous.

    • Tim Carter
      January 21, 2015

      Yes you can. Read all my columns and WATCH ALL MY DRYWALL FINISHING videos!

  9. mark
    March 1, 2015

    I am an expert drywall repairman and finisher All of my seams are done in only two coats with no sanding in between. First coat is applied using 90 or 45 even 20 minute set powder compounds mixed accordingly with water. After first coat is dry enough you will use a six inch putty knife and scrape down lap marks and trowel ridges ( if you had used a 12 inch knife to start you smooth out edges with little or no ridges by tilting the blade to a sharper angle always use a twelve for seams) second and final coat to be applied using standard box or bucket compound thinned accordingly like you stated Tim apply with twelve inch trowel after surface is completely dry then light sand to perfection. EXPERT DRYWALL REPAIR NC.ON MANTA.

  10. Brent gencarella
    April 15, 2015

    Absolutely! Mark, this is my profession as well totally agree with what you say. I use a 12 in curved trowel for my tapers and butt seems first coat. With 90 45 20 dura bond. Finish coat lightweight compound. Tight skim with 14 inch flat trowel. No paper tape at all. All mesh, butts, seems, and inside coners. I do all my inside coner work with just a six inch knife. A lot of people would never know to round the coners of your new taping knifes or trowels, that's a must!!!!!! as Tim stated. Helps with the breaking in process as well. And always keep your tools clean!

  11. Tracey
    August 1, 2015

    This guy is doing dome drywall work for me and he is using a set 45 mixed with joint compound and he put dawn dish soap in it as well, what negative effect will this habe? Never heard of this I'n my life!

    • Joe
      March 9, 2016

      Don't let them mix the mud and the quickset. You will have problems down the road with the mud flaking off. Soap is ok. It is used to keep the pock marks out of the mud on the wall but I have occasionally seen problems with finishers who used too much soap and cause a bad bond with the raw drywall.

  12. Mike b
    August 18, 2015

    Keeps the mud smooth and creamy while eliminating the little bubbles that appear when applying it to the joint

  13. Liz D
    March 1, 2016

    These are some really geeat tips! I wish i had taken the time to see this when I decided to play DIY. You are absolutely right When you say "This is a talent that is acquired".I am just a new home howner that HATES textured walls.I know I definitely bit off more than I can chew when I thought Drywalling was gonna be no big deal, seemed simple enough.....Not! Here I am 4 months later, 4 buckets wasted, and a house full of dust still trying to perfect all the little knicks and crannys, along with trying to sand and not sand to much just to get it just right, UGH, I just want to rip my walls down and throw on all new Sheet rock. I have finally gotten into groove with applying perfecting its just been so long and tiring, i dont want to finish it.

  14. Professional Contractor
    April 11, 2016

    There is so much variance in information you see out there. Everyone has their own special way to do drywall, just as a painter has their own way to paint. The importance is the finished product. Find a way you are comfortable with and go with it. I saw a method when i was a kid, with even caulking seems with just a thin coat of mud and sanded and painted and it lasted for at least 12 years until i moved away with absolutely no cracks and was a perfectly smooth finish.

    The key for me is, embedding your tape correctly. It sets the foundation for a good job. You screw up the tape, it'll show in your final work. Mesh tape does not work that well for non-factory edges that are tapered. You have to go very thick and feather out 12 to 14 inches minimum to hide the mesh. Paper is a breeze in 2 coats. There is also a tape gun available that will mud your tape for you as you pull it through, they usually run around 50 bucks and is worth it on a large job.

    Practice. And just make sure you sand (or wet sponge) the final coat before painting to a very smooth surface.

    Lastly, if you hirea contractor, please DO NOT google it and become google experts overnight and try to tell your contractor how to mix his mud or that he is "doing it wrong". We all hate people like that.

    Good luck.

  15. Lissa
    April 17, 2016

    We're doing some remodeling in an old house. Anything we need to do differently if it's plaster on one side and drywall on the side of the corner?

  16. Aaron
    May 25, 2016

    Just set paper tape is damp tape, damp tape is swollen. That means a direct second coat will shrink more as it looses water and the tape looses water. Dry tape on a seam will get filled over then expand, so on contraction its still mostly filped minus only the mud shrinkage.

    I think any one who has forgot about a spot before hand texture can tell you.. if you apply too many topping/skimming/touchup coats with out adequate dry time, you WILL see a channel where the tape finally shrunk to dry. Some times its under a beautiful skip-trowel with a flawless pre texture skim. Or a spray... Always a bummer to fix. Dont rush your way into free of charge work later.

    This has occured to me in a hotell job on the one private cabin, they friggin moved two light receptacles the morning after I had skimmed all metal and seams for a hand putty-coat. Had to patch/prefill/tape/top/skim and float into other existing seams... Free labor for them to fix it, and they had to repaint.

  17. Marc
    November 13, 2016

    I like to work quickly so I use 20 or 45min for the 1st coat. Then I use a slightly watered down premixed for a top coat. It makes for a quick 1 day mud 2nd day sand. As far as corners go use the right tools so you can get on to the next job more quickly. Tools are cheap your skills are what pay the bills

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