What Tools Do I Need to Mud & Tape Drywall?


The tools needed to mud and tape drywall are relatively cheap to purchase and can be found at most any hardware store. Depending on the level of experience you have with mudding and taping drywall, variations of the common drywall tools exist so that if you are more experienced, you can complete the jobs efficiently. However, most DIY users will find that the basic mudding tools are suitable for many of their home improvement projects.

The Mud Pan

  • The primary tools of drywall mudding are the mud box, the taping knife and a utility blade. Mud box come in plastic, galvanized and stainless steel varieties. Common size mud boxes are four inches wide and 12 to 14 inches long. Although the plastic varieties are suitable, the stainless steel products are more durable and much easier to clean after drywall mud application.

Drywall Knives and Trowels

  • The mudding knife is essential to mudding, and the varieties vary much more than that of the mud box. Typically sold in sizes from four inches in length to 12 inches, other sizes are often available but these are the most common. A trowel can also be used for the application drywall mud rather than a mudding knife, but a stainless steel drywall knife is preferable for long-lasting durability and trouble-free clean up.

Drywall Joint Compound

  • Drywall joint compound comes in several varieties with all-purpose joint compound being the most common. All-purpose joint compound comes premixed, but joint compound also comes in differing powdered varieties that dry at differing rates. The powdered varieties dry anywhere between 20 minutes to several hours, and are good for patching drywall and may be painted the same day. For most DIY users, all-purpose joint compound is sufficient.

Utility Knives, Drywall Tape, and Mixing Paddles

  • To round out the tools needed for mudding and taping drywall, obtain a utility knife, drywall tape, variable speed drill and a mixing paddle. Mixing paddles come in many varieties, but the eight-and-one-half-inch by four-and-one-half-inch speed mixer is best when used with a variable speed drill running at a high RPM. Drywall tape also comes in two different varieties, the self-adhesive mesh tape and a paper tape variety. The mesh tape is useful for long runs and flat joints, allowing the tape application before joint compound is applied, thereby eliminating the need for the mud bed needed to hold the paper tape in place. Paper tape is best in corners.

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