How to Sand and Prime Drywall for Painting or Wallpapering

If you’ve gotten your drywall ready for sanding and priming, you’ve already discovered that working with drywall is a messy job! But, sanding it is where it gets even messier!

It is also one part of the drywall process that you will definitely want to wear safety goggles and a mask! The fine powder will be flying everywhere and you don’t want to get an eye full or breathe it into your lungs!

If your drywall project is a remodeling job that was done in an existing home, you’ll need to protect the other rooms from the dust. You can hang plastic over any doors to keep the mess contained to the room that you’re working on.

Doing any ceiling work can be a back and neck breaking job! If you’re working on the ceiling you really should invest in a pole sander. With a pole sander you can stand on the floor and do all of the over head work!

Most pole sanders also come with swivel heads that make it much easier to maneuver. They also help the job go much quicker since you’re not having to climb up and down a ladder to reposition it each time you finish an area.

If you’re going to use sandpaper to finish the drywall you should choose one that has between 120 to 150 grit. Open screen can also be used and is probably the best choice as the dust will fall through instead of building up like it will on sandpaper.

If you’ve taken your time and gotten all of the joint compound really smooth, you might want to just use the wet sanding method! Using a sponge that’s just damp, you can easily smooth all of the joints.

The wet method is great because it won’t create all of the messy dust that using sandpaper will cause. Just make sure that you keep the sponge clean by rinsing it out frequently, the moistened joint compound will quickly build up.

Whether using regular sand paper or a wet sponge you have to be very careful not to remove too much of the joint compound. Patience is definitely the key word, if you remove too much you’ll undo all of the hard work you did in preparing the drywall joints and will end up having to redo them!

Priming the walls is a step that many people want to skip, but it’s not advisable! There will be a visible difference between the paper covered drywall and the joint compound on the seams.

Although the difference isn’t just in the way it looks. The different textures can cause paint to soak in more in some areas than others. Just as the bare joint compound becomes soft when water is applied, the paint will also soften it and it will soak it up.

Using a good primer will help to hide any imperfections and texture differences on your walls. It will also provide a smooth, even finish when applying paint.

There are several types of primers available and the type you need will depend a lot on what you plan to do to your walls. If you’ve decided to paint your walls use a primer that is made specifically for paint.

If you’re going to be applying wallpaper to the walls, you should choose a primer that contains sizing. Sizing will help the wallpaper adhere better and also make it easier to remove later if you need to.

You will need to apply the primer according to the manufacturers instructions for the type you purchase. After the recommended drying time you’ll finally be ready to either apply paint or wallpaper!

How To Properly Tape and Fill Drywall Joints

Finishing your drywall project is probably going to be more time consuming than hanging the drywall! Joints that aren’t taped and finished properly will be very noticeable even after the walls are painted!

Before you start to do any taping, you should check all of the joints for protruding nails or screws. All of the nails and screws should be sunk just below the drywall surface.

Your first instinct may be to run your hand over the joints, but you should use a wide putty knife or other wide flat tool. Hold it as flat against the wall as you can and run it down the length of each joint watching for snags!

Before applying the drywall compound make sure that you mix it. If you’re using a pre-mixed compound just mix it slightly, over mixing can create air bubbles that will leave sink holes after it dries!

For the first coat of compound you should use a putty or taping knife that is at least 5″ wide. Holding the knife at a vertical angle, spread a generous amount over the seam making sure it fills the crack.

Once you’ve gotten the seam covered with joint compound, apply the joint tape to the center making sure that you cover the seam. Just press it lightly into the joint compound to hold it into place.

After you’ve completely covered the joint with tape, you’re ready to flatten it against the wall. Start working at the center of the joint and flatten the tape to the floor, then start at the center again and flatten it up to the ceiling.

You will need to apply a firm, even pressure when flattening the tape. This will scrape off some of the excess joint compound you applied to the joint and also help fill any cracks you might have missed.

Just make sure that you leave a layer of compound under the tape or it will eventually come loose after it dries. Never use a small knife to flatten the tape. A wide knife will flatten the tape, remove the excess compound and leave the compound under the tape in place!

While you’re flattening the tape onto the joint, clean your knife often. The thin compound on the knife will dry quickly and become hard leaving grooves in the wet joint compound!

After you’ve gotten the tape flattened, gently go back over the joint with a thin layer of compound. You want to cover the tape, but you want to be able to still see it through the layer of compound.

To tape the inside corners apply thin coats of joint compound to the seam and both sides. Cut a piece of joint tape to fit the area and then fold it in half. Using your hand just lightly press the tape into place in the corner.

Use the knife to smooth it out and remove any excess compound. Then apply a thin top coat of compound to each side, make sure that the tape is still visible through the compound.

It is best to apply thin metal covers to all of the outside corners of the drywall at doorways or windows. These will help protect the drywall from getting chipped and gouged if something bumps against them.

If you have used metal covers, you will need to fill the small ridges at the edges as you cover the corners with compound. The wide knife will extend beyond this ridge and ensure that it’s filled with the compound.

Go back over all of the nail or screw heads with another thin layer of joint compound. The joint compound covering them will shrink some after drying, so this process will need to be repeated.

After you’ve gotten all of the joints and corners taped, let the joint compound dry over night. Taping levels off all of the drywall surface, the next steps will help you get all of the surfaces smooth and ready for painting!

The fill coat takes a little more patience and you’ll be using less pressure on the joint compound. For this step you’ll need a wider knife, a blade that is from 7 - 12″ is recommended, but the wider the better.

You will need to smooth the joint compound out in three different strokes this time! Apply compound to the joint, then go down each side with the knife and then down the middle.

For the side strokes you’ll need to apply a little more pressure with the outside of the knife. You want a nice even edge while letting the inside of the knife just glide slightly over the joint.

Smooth over the center with a even pressure, this time you don’t want to be able to see the tape through the compound! This step will also help to cover up and of the holes that may have occurred when the compound shrunk over the nails and screws.

The corners and edges will need to have a second coat of joint compound in the same way. To make it much easier you can purchase a corner knife at most local hardware stores!

How To Easily Repair Holes in Drywall

If you’ve got little ones running around, chances are there’s a few unsightly holes here and there in your drywall! But, kids aren’t the only ones that can add yet another hole to your wall!

I have been known to bump the wall when moving a chest or other piece of furniture! No matter how careful you are things can and usually do happen!

Another major cause of holes or dents in drywall is door knobs! But, there’s no need to call a professional, you can do these repairs yourself and save lots of money!

Some times for one reason or another a nail may just start to ease out of the drywall. This is a easy fix, just place a nails a few inches above and below the loose nail.

Dimple the nail into the wall, dimpling is when the nails head is slightly below the surface of the drywall. Use a flat tool or wide putty knife to fill the dents with joint compound.

Once it has dried completely, apply another thin coat. This time smooth the compound out past the edges of the dimple. After it has dried, you just lightly sand it until it’s flush with the walls surface.

Small holes are considered anywhere from one inch in diameter up to five inches. When repairing any hole, you should always make sure to clean the area of any loose drywall or paper.

You can use screen wire or purchase a special mesh material that is made specifically for patching holes. You’ll need to cut the screen or mesh at least 2″ larger than the hole.

Tie a small piece of string around a pencil or dowel and insert the other end into the screen and tie it as well. The screen can be easily bent to be inserted into the hole. Once the screen is inside the hole pull on the pencil to pull the screen flush with the inside wall.

While your still holding the string, fill in the hole with joint compound. Start working at the edges of the hole and make your way to the center.

Use a piece of tape to secure the string to the wall. The joint compound will actually adhere to the screen and help hold it in place. Once you’ve allowed enough time for it to completely dry, use a knife to cut the string off.

You must always remember that joint compound will shrink as it dries. Any, repair will require you to at least apply two coats. After the compound has dried and you’ve removed the string, apply another thin coat to even out the finish. Let it dry and then sand it for a finished look.

Larger holes up to around 8″ in size, require a little more work! Joint compound will work well on smaller holes, but it won’t repair large ones. You’re going to need a scrap piece of drywall for this project!

Measure the size of the hole and cut a piece of drywall at least one inch larger than the holes width or height. You are going to want to cut it in a square or rectangular shape.

Hole the cut piece up over the hole, straighten it and use a pencil to mark around the edge. Use a utility knife to cut the drawn shape out of the the wall around the hole.

Cut carefully, you’re going to be putting the piece you cut into the square that you’re cutting out. You can always make the square hole larger, but if you cut it too large you’ll have to prepare another piece of scrap drywall to use for the repair.

After you’ve cut the square, just keep checking your scrap piece to see if it fits until you get it the right size. Depending on the size of the hole, you may need to attach strings in the same way as you did to repair the small hole.

You can use an awl or a thin nail to make a whole in the center of the piece. But, this time you will need more than just one string, especially if you’re repairing a hole that is in the center of the wall studs.

Attaching two strings will be enough for some holes, but you can use as many as you think you need. Knot the ends of the strings together on the back side of the piece of drywall to hold them in place.

To make sure the strings won’t slip out of the hole, either make a large knot or you can also tie the ends to a small object such as a nut or washer.

Apply a liberal amount of joint compound to all the edges of the replacement piece of drywall. When placing it into the hole, you’ll need to apply some pressure. But, don’t push it to hard or it will end up inside the wall!

You just need it to be flush with the rest of the wall. Once it’s in place tape the strings taut to the wall. Depending on how many you chose to use, you may have strings tapped on all four side of the patch!

Again, once it’s completely dried, you’ll need to apply another coat around the edges. Smoothing out the joint compound as much as you can as you apply it will prevent a lot of unneccessary sanding! Sand the area after it dries and it’s ready to paint!

The drying time will vary, smaller holes patched early in the day may be ready for painting by late in the evening. But, it is recommended to wait at least 24 hours between coats and after your last coat to sand and finish your project.

When purchasing joint compound, you may want to try to find one that already contains a primer. There are many available that don’t need extra preparation for painting.

Joint compound with primer will save you the extra expense of buying a separate primer. But, it will also save you quite a bit of time. Applying primer is just another step to complete and something else that will have you waiting while it dries!

How to Remove Drywall in Your Home

In all the remodeling shows on TV you see people slam a sledgehammer into the drywall in order to remove it. But this is something that you should not do in your home. The reason is that besides making a mess you could be damaging pipes and electrical wire. There are much easier, and definitely cleaner, ways to remove drywall. (more…)

How to Cut Drywall

When you cut drywall it does not matter if you are cutting a straight piece or taking out a piece to replace or make a fixture you have to have the right measurements and have a steady hand. Cutting a straight edge on drywall is important for the cut piece to have the exact fit. (more…)