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In our last post we taught you how to hang drywall. Now, Nick is walking us through how to finish drywall like a pro! You’re going to want to check out the hanging post if you haven’t already. We talk all about nail pops, butt joints, and tough-to-cut-around outlets.
But, in case you already did and you’ve got unfinished drywall hanging I won’t stall any longer.
Shop For Everything You’ll Need to Finish Your Drywall at Lowes. Links to What You’ll Need are Listed Below:
- Step Stool
- Marshalltown Ball Mixing Arm
- Ajax Dish Soap
- Marshalltown 6″ Taping Knife
- Warner 10″ Taping Knife
- Blue Hawk 12″ Taping Knife
- Stanley Screwdriver
- Sheetrock Brand All-Purpose Drywall Joint Compound
- Sheetrock Plus 3 Lightweight Drywall Mud
- ProForm Paper Tape
- Marshalltown Drywall Mud Pan
- 10-amp Corded 1/2-in Keyed Corded Drill
- Utilitech Extension Cord
- Gator Pole Sander
- Gator Drywall Sanding Screen
- 3M Sanding Sponge
Finishing Is An Art
Ok, to be honest, if you really want to improve your finishing skills you gotta check out this video. We outline the steps to finishing in the notes for the video -that way you can jump right to the stuff you need. Nick walks you through a ton of tips and tricks to make your walls perfect. Reading this blog post will help -watching the video will get you closer to being a pro!
Prep Your Mud
If you want a beautiful finishing job you need to start with beautiful mud.
That’s right. Mud can be beautiful.
Nick’s first of many tips for you when it comes to prepping your mud is to add a bit of soap to the bucket. This smooths out any air bubbles and makes your mud peanut butter perfect. It’ll be easier to work with and look great on the wall.
Step 1: Taping
Nick prefers working with a metal drywall pan. Hey, when you’ve been doing something for 18 years you like what you like!
Using a 6” taping knife, grab as much mud as you’re comfortable working with. You’ll start by mudding the entire length of a wall. You don’t want to stop and start in random places. Apply mud to the factory seams first. Run your 6” knife sideways all the way down the wall. This gets the mud into the ravine of the seam. Using the mud as your “adhesive” simply apply the tape to your run of mud along the seams.
Apply a decent amount of pressure using your knife to clear out the excess mud from under the tape. This will also fill the seam. Do your best not to crease the tape.
Then attack the butt joints.
Finally, apply tape to your corners. With corners, there is one extra step. You have to go on both sides of the corner. So, positioning your knife sideways, go all the way down on one side of the corner with mud and then repeat on the other side.
Then crease the tape down the center and apply it to your corner. Clear out the excess mud from under the tape. Do a second or third pass and make sure your tape doesn’t have any creases. Corners are a bit more fragile than the flat seams and joints so be extra gentle.
Last process in this first step is to hit the screws in the field of your drywall with mud. You’ll eventually give the screws three coats, going wider with each coat. This prevents unnecessary sanding. For the first coat, put your 6” knife at an angle and do one thin run of mud. Remove all excess mud.
Now, wait for this first coat to dry before you continue to step 2!
Step 2: Second Coat
For this step, Nick uses lightweight mud instead of the all-purpose compound. It’s a heck of a lot easier to work with and goes on quicker. Still add dish soap and this time also a little water. Check for a peanut butter consistency. You don’t want it too runny.
Nick uses his 10” knife for this step. You want to cover more than you did in your previous layer. Apply the mud to both the seams and the butt joints. If you’re using a 10” knife too you can just center the knife over the seams. This should give you the coverage you need. For the butt joints, you need to create a wider coat. Nick goes 10” to each side of the joint to create a smooth finish and minimize sanding.
Ok- now for the fancy part. Once your second coat is on the wall you need to create a nice smooth edge. Using your index finger apply pressure to your knife on the side that you’re cutting. This means there is pressure to the outside of your knife and therefore the outermost edge of your coat. The inside of the knife has less pressure leaving the right amount of mud over both joints.
Yeah, I know. Might be a little confusing so I’d definitely watch the video for this part. Check out 10:17 in the video if you want to see Nick demonstrate.
After you cut both edges on your coat go down the center lightly. Just to smooth out the top.
Continue this step for your corners. Also, hit up the row of screws in the field of your drywall panel. Remember to go wider than your previous coat and to just add a super thin second coat.
Step 3: Skim Coat
Whoo hoo! We’re at the final coat! Grab that 12” knife and let’s get to it!
Start by gently removing any lips in the mud. Remember, the mud from step 2 should be completely dry at this point.
This is your final coat and also the thinnest coat. You want to go wider than your second coat and cover any air bubbles that popped up previously. This goal of this coat is not to build up the mud more but instead to perfect the second coat. Don’t apply too much pressure to your knife and don’t use too much mud. Wipe on and wipe off.
Apply this final coat to the seams, butt joints, corners, and screws. Also, hit up any small repairs that you might find around outlets and switches too.
Step 4: Sand Your Walls to Perfection!
Start sanding at the top and work your way down. When you’re sanding corners you’ve gotta be super gentle. Nick recommends keeping the sanding screen away from the corners and use your sanding block in those tight spaces. You’ll have more control.
Work the sand block around outlets and switches too! Everything should be as smooth as a baby’s bottom!
Then make sure to end your project by giving your partner a solid high five!
You’re now ready to prime and paint!