How to Finish Drywall the Easy Way

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Finishing drywall is a simple process, but it is very labor intensive. It is important to cover all furniture and carpets before beginning. There will be a lot of dust when you start sanding, so, at that point, you should cover all doorways and openings with plastic sheeting. The type of joint compound you use will affect the drying time. Premixed joint compound is the easiest for beginners because it takes the longest time to dry, giving you plenty of time to work with it. Finally, you should prime the finished drywall to ensure even paint coverage.

Things You'll Need

  • Drywall tape Joint compound 6-inch drywall knife 12-inch drywall knife 100-grit sandpaper 150-grit sandpaper

First coat

  • Scrape away any loose or broken pieces of drywall.

  • Spread a thick coat of joint compound over one joint. Apply it as evenly as possible. Make sure there are no bare areas.

  • Lay a section of tape over the entire length of the joint, taking care to keep it centered.

  • Press out the joint compound by pushing your 6-inch drywall knife along the length of the tape, removing as much of the joint compound as possible. Repeat for every other joint. Interior (acute) angle joints will require the tape to be folded.

  • Fill all fastener heads with a thin coat of joint compound. If the fastener head protrudes above the surface, it must be pushed in deeper.

  • Cover all outside angles that have corner bead with a thick coat of joint compound. Corner bead is a metal or plastic cover that is placed over an outside (obtuse) angle.

  • Allow to dry for at least 24 hours.

Second Coat

  • Scrape down any tool marks or ridges from the first coat with your 6-inch knife.

  • Cover all taped joints with a thick coat of joint compound using a 12-inch drywall knife. Try to leave the joints as smooth as possible.

  • Cover all interior angle joints with a thick coat of joint compound using a 6-inch drywall knife.

  • Cover all fastener heads with a thin coat of joint compound.

  • Cover all corner bead with a thick coat of joint compound.

  • Allow to dry completely. When it turns white, the compound is dry.

Third Coat

  • Sand away any tool marks or ridges with 100-grit sandpaper. If you start to see the drywall tape being uncovered, stop sanding.

  • Coat all joints, interior angles, fasteners and corner beads with a thin coat of joint compound. Try to leave the surfaces as polished and smooth as possible.

  • Allow to dry completely.

  • Sand away all tool marks and ridges with 150-grit sandpaper. Leave the entire surface as smooth as possible for priming and painting.

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