Drywall finishing is the process of covering and smoothing the drywall joints and screw holes, make the walls ready to paint. The process is also known in the building trades as taping and mudding.
Drywall finishing levels
There are six levels of drywall finishing:
Level 0. Drywall is only fastened to studs or beams. No finishing at all.
Level 1. Drywall tape has been embedded in Joint compound on the joints and smoothed.
Level 2. A skim of taping mud over tape.
Level 3. First coat of finishing compound.
Level 4. Second coat of finishing compound is done and sanded. Ready to paint. It’s the classic drywall finish Level.
Level 5. A skim coat of finishing compound over the entire walls. It’s the highest level of drywall finishing.
Tools and materials
For DIYers, hand tools like putty knives and a plastering hawk can do the job. Professionals are using automatic taper, banjo box, mesh tape applicator, to apply the tapes, finishing boxes to coat the joints, tubes and corner applicators to do the inside corners.
materials: drywall tape, Joint compound , corner beads.
Drywall taping is the process of applying drywall tape to the joints between two pieces of installed drywall. There are mainly two types of drywall tape, paper tape and self-adhesive fibreglass mesh tape.
Applying paper tape by hand.
- apply taping mud (Joint compound for Drywall taping ) to the joint with a 6” putty knife. This is also called bedding coat.
- apply paper tape to the mudded joint, push the tape to the joint.
- smooth the tape with a 8” or 10” putty knife.
Applying paper tape with automatic taper or banjo box. Automatic taper is also known as bazooka. It simultaneously applies paper tape and the correct amount of Joint compound to all flat and internal angle joints on walls and ceilings. And then smooth the tape with putty knife. Applying paper tape by bazooka or banjo box is a lot faster than do it by hands.
Applying fibreglass mesh tape. The Fiberglass mesh tape is made of fiberglass and has an adhesive backing that allows it to stick to the seams without applying a layer of Joint compound. This can speed up the Drywall taping process by eliminating a step of bedding coat. After the mesh tape have been applied to the flat joints and inside corners, the Joint compound can be applied over the mesh tape by putty knives. Professionals use finishing box to apply mud on flat joints, tube and angle applicators to apply joint compound to inside corners. Drywall taping with fibreglass mesh tape is faster than using paper tape even by automatic taper.
Taping is the most time consuming process of drywall finishing. Some engineers and contractors around the world are working on faster drywall finishing solutions.
Mudding is the process of applying Joint compound to drywall joints. It is also called coating. When the taping coat is dried, the joints usually shrink a little bit and need more coats of finishing compound to fill it up. Mudding can be done by putty knives, trowels or finishing boxes.
Sanding is part of taping and mudding process. 150 grid sandpaper is used for sanding between coats. 220 grid for final sanding. Pole sander for big areas and sanding sponges for small details
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- joint compound