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how to finish drywallHow To Finish Drywall

Even if you are hiring a drywall company, you still need to know how to finish drywall.

Learn all of the steps and techniques in the finishing process, so you understand what is going on with your project.

Before you start the "how to finish drywall" process, you must inspect the framing. Why the framing?

Without a quality framing job, you drywall job is not going to look good.

"Drywall is just skin over the bones"

My father and instructor used to say that all the time. It is completely true. A poor or low quality framing job will show thru the drywall finish and make the entire project look bad. What should you look for when inspecting the framing?

Framing Inspection

Get a 4ft level or straight edge, and walk all the walls and ceilings. Place the level across the wall to see if there are any bowed studs. Mark any studs that are either bow in/out more than 1/8 of an inch. Fix or replace any of the studs that you marked. After you fix the framing, proceed with the drywall installation.

How To Finish Drywall

When a professional company comes in, they are going to make sure that all the masking is in place before they start to make a mess. When it comes to finishing drywall, it is extremely messy. There are multiple coats of mud and sanding. The first thing they are going to do, is mask and cover up all finished products. Mask windows, fireplaces, contents, floors, anything that is finished! After they finish the masking, they are ready to start the next step in "how to finish drywall".


Pre-Fill using hot mud. During the nailing phase, the installers can leave gaps or cut holes to big. The tapers will mix up some "hot mud" or chemically setting joint compound, and fill the gaps. The hot mud will set up in 20, 45 or 90 minutes, depending on which type they purchased. It does not shrink very much, and can be coated right away. After the pre-fill is finished, the next step in how to finish drywall, is to spot nails and run the tape.

Screws, Nails, Outside Corners, Flat Joints And Angles

The drywall company will start with either the nails and screws or run the tape on all the flat joints, butt joints and angles. After they finish these two items, they will move onto the metal or outside corners. With the outside corners, the crew will apply a coat of mud to them. Usually with a 8 inch or 10 inch knife. All of the mud will need to dry before you can apply the next coat.

First Coat Of Mud Over The Flat And Butt Joints

The next step in how to finish drywall, is to coat all the flat joints and butt joints. This can be achieved by hand using a 8 inch or 10 inch taping knife. The key is to fill the joint but not to over crown it. You will want to look for this when you inspect the drywall work. A great way to check and see if the joint is over crowned or hallow is to put a 10 inch or 12 inch knife on the joint and see if it rocks or if you can "see daylight" between the knife and joint.

Second Coat Of Mud On The Screws,
Nails, And Outside Corner Metal

After the joints have a coat on them, the portland drywall company will put another coat on the screws and nails. Also, they will apply another coat of mud on the outside corner metal. At this point they will check and see if they have any patches on the electrical outlets or plumbing pipes. They will tape and mud any gaps.

Second Coat Of Mud On The Flat And Butt Joints

After the last coat of mud dries, it will be ready for the next coat. So far we have taped all the joints, and ran a coat of mud on them. The angles have only been taped. The nails and screws have two coats of mud on them. So do the outside corner metal. The next step in how to finish drywall, will be to apply a second coat of mud to the flat and butt joints. Depending on what type of tools that were used in the last coat, the company will use the next size up. If the first coat was applied with a 8 inch knife or a 8 in box, you will use the next size up. 10 inch knife or 10 inch box. Before you apply the coat, you will want to sand or scrape down any lap lines or edges.

First Coat Of Mud In The Angles

After the application of the 2nd coat of mud on the flat and butt joints, the portland drywall company will apply a coat of mud over the angles. If they are applying this coat by hand, they will use a inside corner tool. If they are using a automatic taping tool, they will do this with a angle box. Before they apply this coat, they will lightly sand the angles to remove any edges or lap lines.

Third Coat Of Mud On The Screws And Nails

For most finishes, the last step in "how to finish drywall", will be the final coat for the screws and nails. It will need to be applied by hand. The first and second coat can be applied with a nail spotter tool, but the last coat should be applied by hand to ensure a quality finish.

Sand And Touch Up

After the final coat dries, the next step in how to finish drywall or taping mudding drywall is to sand and touch up. For textured finishes, most portland drywall companies sand all the joints and angles. They will also lightly sand the screws and nails. The key is not to over sand the edges. This will cause the edge paper to fuzz or stand up. This could show through the textured finish.

Now that we understand how to finish drywall, you are ready for texture. What texture should you apply? How do you apply the texture?
drywall texture

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