How to Float Sheetrock


Floating sheetrock is a term used for applying the drywall compound and covering up all the seams, screw heads and corners to create a smooth flat surface. The floating makes the walls appear as if they are one solid smooth wall instead of many panels. The process is not complicated, but getting the surface smooth does take some concentration and a little work.

Things You'll Need

  • Metal corner strips
  • Drywall screws
  • Drill
  • Drywall compound
  • Taping knifes
  • Drywall tape
  • Sandpaper -- medium and fine grit
  • Broom
  • Drop cloth
  • Mask
  • Place metal corner strips on the outside corners to protect the sheetrock from being damaged. Drill drywall screws through the strips and into the wall.

  • Open up the drywall compound and mix it up with a stir stick.

  • Spread the compound over screw heads, seams between sheetrock panels and along in and outside corners with the flat edge of a taping knife. For outside corners, cover the metal strips with the compound. Smear on only a thin layer of compound.

  • Press strips of drywall tape into the compound that is covering seams. Smooth it down with your hand or a flat edge to adhere it to the wet compound. You need to apply the tape as you spread on the first layer of compound before moving on to the next seam. This way it is still wet when you press it in.

  • Smooth on an additional layer of compound over the tape to completely seal it in place. Let the drywall compound dry for 24 hours.

  • Sand the surface of the compound to smooth it and remove any ridges or lines. Use a medium-grit paper and then dust off the wall with a broom.

  • Cover the compound with another layer using a wider knife. Smooth it on to all places on the wall where you already applied the compound. Spread this layer out wider than the previous layers and taper it down to the sheetrock as you work outward. This will make the wall look smooth when it is painted. Let this dry for another 24 hours.

  • Sand the wall with a fine-grit paper to smooth a final time and then brush the dust off the wall. You are now ready to finish the wall as you like.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you didn't already have a drop cloth down from the sheetrock installation, you need to put one down to float the sheetrock. It will get a little dust and the compound might drip on the floor.
  • Wear a mask when sanding the compound smooth. The fine dust does not need to be inhaled.

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