Tips for finishing drywall: Use the drywall knife for more than compound.

Lots of people make the same mistakes—me included—finishing drywall. Typically, we:

– Use too much joint compound. Joint compound (sometimes called ‘spackle’ or ‘mud’ in the trades) is the paste applied to the wall and it’s easy to use too much of it.
– Try to get it too perfect too soon. Less is more. The first two coats are supposed to be rough and not cover the entire surface well.
– Go over and over the same spot too many times. There’s a fine line between spreading just the right amount of compound and just moving it around on the wall.
– Sand too much. The 2nd and 3rd coats of compound should be sanded when finishing drywall. This is a direct result of using too much mud.
– Make a huge mess. This is a direct result of everything above.

After a LOT of trial and error, I’ve found a few things that help reduce mess, reduce effort, reduce sanding, and enable me to user the same tool—a drywall knife—for several different things while finishing drywall. This won’t change your life, but it might help you on your next time you finish drywall.

This reduces the time I spend going back and forth to the tool box, which I also like.

Day-to-day drywall and painting contractors might have a nervous breakdown watching how I do this, but as a carpenter I don’t finish drywall every day, so my finishing drywall process probably isn’t as refined.

Finishing drywall

Getting a good drywall finish takes a lot of little steps and adjustments.

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