How to Mud & Tape Drywall Ceiling

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Applying mud and tape to a drywall ceiling is a difficult and time-consuming chore. However, if done properly, the results last a long time. Ceilings are completely visible, so it is not possible to hide mistakes with furniture or wall hangings. Take your time while sanding so the finished surface is extremely smooth and the ceiling will look great when painted.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic drop coths
  • Ladder (as needed)
  • Joint compound ("mud")
  • Drywall tape
  • 4-inch spackle blade
  • Utility knife
  • 10-inch spackle blade
  • Corner spackle blade
  • 80-grit sandpaper
  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • Disposable dust masks
  • Place sheets of plastic drop cloth on the floor to collect the sanding dust. This reduces cleanup time and protects the flooring.

  • Apply a coating of spackle on each screw hole with a 4-inch spackle blade.

  • Start in a corner where the ceiling meets the wall and apply a 1/8-inch thick layer of joint compound that is three inches wide to the center of the seam with a 4-inch spackle blade.

  • Center the end of drywall tape over the seam in the corner where the ceiling meets the wall. Allow one inch to hang down on the wall.

  • Press a 4-inch spackle blade on the tape where the ceiling meets the wall. Hold the blade on a 45-degree angle and slowly draw it across the drywall tape while holding the tape at an angle between the ceiling and the spackle blade. Press the tape into the joint compound while keeping the tape straight, centered over the seam and the spackle blade at an angle.

  • Apply a thin coat of joint compound over all seams, starting from the first seam that was taped.

  • Repeat Step 3 through Step 6 for each seam on the ceiling.

  • Apply a 1/8-inch layer of joint compound in each corner where the ceiling meets the wall with a corner blade. Extend the joint compound two inches from the corner on each side.

  • Crease the center of the drywall tape and press the end of the drywall tape into a starting corner. Hold the corner blade on a slight angle and press the folded drywall tape into the corner, aligning the crease with the center of the corner. Press firmly with the blade to remove bubbles, and keep the drywall tape straight and centered in the corner. Allow to dry for 24 hours.

  • Sand the joint compound over all seams, corners and screw holes with 80-grit sandpaper.

  • Apply a coating of joint compound on each screw hole and seam, extending the joint compound past the edges of the first application. Use a 4-inch spackle blade for the screw holes, a 10-inch spackle blade for the seams and a corner blade where the ceiling meets the wall. Allow to dry for 24 hours.

  • Sand the joint compound over all seams, corners and screw holes with 80-grit sandpaper.

  • Apply a final thin coat of joint compound on each screw hole and seam, extending the joint compound past the edges of the second application and sanding. Use a 4-inch spackle blade for the screw holes, a 10-inch spackle blade for the seams and a corner blade where the ceiling meets the wall. Allow to dry for 24 hours.

  • Sand the final coat of joint compound over all seams, corners and screw holes with 120-grit sandpaper.

Tips & Warnings

  • Apply a drywall sealant before primer to seal the drywall and joint compound to reduce absorbing the primer for a uniform painting surface.
  • Wide, smooth seams are less visible after painting.
  • Stir the joint compound with the spackle blade to press out air bubbles.
  • Sand each layer until there is no longer a line where the joint compound ends over the drywall. The transition between joint compound and drywall should have a smooth, feathered, blended appearance.
  • Wear a dust mask to prevent inhalation of the dust from sanding joint compound.
  • Use a dry mop followed by water and a mop or rags instead of a vacuum to remove joint compound dust. The dust can clog the motor of a vacuum and cause it to overheat and burn out.

References

  • Photo Credit Chandelier image by RUZANNA ARUTYUNYAN from Fotolia.com
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