What Kind of Sander Do You Use for Drywall?

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Sanding after installing, taping and mudding drywall is a tedious, dusty job that can be made easier in two ways: First, by smoothing walls as much as possible before sanding, and second, by having the right tools at hand when you begin.

Preparation

  • Before you begin sanding your mudded drywall joints, use the drywall knife to knock down ridges as much as possible. This will reduce the amount of sanding you need to do. A damp cellulose sponge can also be used where little smoothing is required; it works by slightly dissolving some of the joint compound.

Sanding Screens

  • Avoid using ordinary sand paper for sanding mudded drywall; it clogs too quickly. Instead, use drywall sanding screens, available in various grits depending on whether you are using conventional or lightweight joint compounds. The labels of the sanding screens should advise you on what grit to use. Die-cut strips of screens are convenient to use instead of full sheets; the strips fit neatly into pole and hand sanders.

Sanders

  • The basic sanding tool is a hand sander, to which you attach a sanding screen. You will likely want this basic tool for touch-ups even if you decide to invest in a dust-control sanding system for most of the work. A swivel-joint pole sander improves your reach and increases your leverage beyond the basic hand sander.

Dust Control

  • If you have a great deal of sanding to do, you may want to consider purchasing a sanding system that attaches to a shop vacuum. Some of them have a water filter to trap the dust so it never gets into the air. You may also want to consider hanging plastic sheets on spring-loaded poles to contain the dust to one area.

Checking

  • Occasionally shine a work light at an angle near your work to find spots that still need sanding; you may also find spots that need more joint compound. Don't hesitate to fix those mistakes now, as they will show up more clearly and be harder to fix once you've painted the wall.

References

  • Stanley Complete Drywall; Sidey, Ken, ed.; 2005
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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