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Using an electric sander to smooth drywall mud - good or bad idea??


Weez's Avatar
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04-03-06, 08:18 PM   #1  
Using an electric sander to smooth drywall mud - good or bad idea??

I have this 5" random orbit sander.

Good idea or bad to use this when sanding down the drywall mud in my garage. I'm not worried much about making a mess; I just want to get a good finish in the least amount of time possible.

It's a 800sqft garage, and I have to do the walls and ceilings.

 
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marksr's Avatar
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04-04-06, 05:57 AM   #2  
BAD IDEA Besides making a mess an electric sander is apt to sand away too much material, all that dust isn't good for the sander motor either.

It is easiest to use a sanding pole - takes 1/2 sheet of sand paper or you can get pre cut paper or sanding screen. You can also get a hand held version that uses the same paper. Using a sanding pole you will have a larger flatter sanding surface with less likelyhood of removing too much mud. Joint compound sands easily, no need for a power tool.


retired painter/contractor avid DIYer

 
Wayne Mitchell's Avatar
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04-04-06, 07:40 AM   #3  
I agree with Mark. I value my orbital sander too much to stuff it with joint compound dust. Besides, using a sander might rough up the DW paper if you're not careful.
I'm not a pro, but I've hung quite a bit of drywall and I learned long ago that patience and attention when mudding can eliminate a lot of sanding. I use a sand screen on a pole and a sand sponge for corners.
If you really have a lot of sanding to do, you might consider renting a drywall sander at a big box store.

 
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04-04-06, 08:43 AM   #4  
How do you keep from sanding the drywall paper too much when your mud isn't in a straight line? Esp where my brother worked on it, the mud is splotched all over the place.

 
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04-04-06, 09:34 AM   #5  
As Wayne said carefull application is the best route. The mud is very sandable but the paper is not. Sometimes it is difficult to sand just the mud and not the paper. The paper will fuzz up if over sanded requiring more mud. You may need to sand the bulk of it with a sanding pole and use a sanding sponge along the edges.


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04-04-06, 10:09 AM   #6  
Posted By: marksr As Wayne said carefull application is the best route. The mud is very sandable but the paper is not. Sometimes it is difficult to sand just the mud and not the paper. The paper will fuzz up if over sanded requiring more mud. You may need to sand the bulk of it with a sanding pole and use a sanding sponge along the edges.
probably the best way not to be sloppy with your mud the next time is having to deal with it the first lol. Some people would disagree and think it's the easiest thing in the world but I think finishing is fairly challenging to get at a professional level. Best thing is to just take your time. You will probably have to "point up" here and there till you get it right and you will be that much better for the next time. Stay away from power tools as nice as the idea may sound. Even the machine designed for the task does more harm than good until you know what your doing. I like to concentrate on the line where the joint meets bare wall first to get it to "ghost" in before going over the center or the corner where the tape is. As soon as you see tape you know you have to mud again.

 
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04-04-06, 11:30 AM   #7  
"probably the best way not to be sloppy with your mud the next time is having to deal with it the first lol"

I still remember the first big drywall job I did. I swore I would never do one again. The next time I had to do drywall I hired a guy to do a room. I wanted a pro because it was a big room with a smooth ceiling and I didn't want ceiling joints to show. The guy was great. He did it all with a 6" knife. Not only did he do a super job, he took the time to show me some tips on getting a pro job when mudding. Now, I'll match my finish any time with the guys that do it for a living - it just takes me about 10 times as long.

 
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04-04-06, 11:45 AM   #8  
Got to hand it to those guys. I used to work with one who was so good he could block out an entire basement in less than a day. Got it perfect everytime with only 2 coats (tape and block) a little light sanding and it was done. I am still not that good or fast but a lot better then when I started out. I would be nuts if I had to do it everyday. I'd rather be cutting wood anytime.

 
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04-07-06, 08:01 PM   #9  
While we are on the subject of technique (sort of). I touch my thumb to ring finger, and put the handle of the knife through the "hole". Then I put my forefinger and middle finger on the blade (spread out like a piece sign) so I can apply left or right pressure on the blade as needed.

I never "grip" the handle at all, as that would be a real pain in the back side to feather edges.

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04-08-06, 03:50 PM   #10  
Need the answer as well

If you get an answer let me know. I am doing a bathroom as well. Sounds like an approach that may work.

If this works I may buy a sander. Trying another option at this point. Look forward to your reply. Thx

 
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