How to Finish Drywall
When you're putting up a new wall, it's the last step that's the most important
Hanging drywall takes a little muscle, but the next step, getting the drywall ready for paint or wallpaper, requires finesse. The goal here is simple: Make the joints between drywall panels disappear so that walls and ceilings are perfectly smooth. The process isn't complicated, either. It takes just a few tools—a small and a large drywall knife and a swivel-head pole sander—to finish drywall. Here, Paul Landry, of P.L. Drywall in Waltham, Massachusetts, shows how to tape and mud drywall, using premixed joint compound (a.k.a. "mud") and drywall tape. Here, Paul Landry, of P.L. Drywall in Waltham, Massachusetts, shows how it's done, using premixed joint compound (a.k.a. "mud") and drywall tape.
The tricky part is learning how to properly bed the tape and feather out the compound to an imperceptible edge. "First time out, you'll probably get more 'mud' on the floor and on your clothes than you do on the wall," says Landry, who finished the walls at This Old House's recent TV project in Manchester, Massachusetts.
Sanding is the other key skill. Joint compound is soft, so the challenge is to avoid removing so much that you risk fraying or tearing the paper tape. "Be patient," Landry advises. "Even beginners can do a fine job if they take their time."