Steps for finishing drywall

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Old 12-09-16, 09:04 PM
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Steps for finishing drywall

Hi all! I have drywall that is up and taped. I did the taping myself but tomorrow my handyman is coming to mud everything. So my questions are:

1. Is mudding a one step process? Or do two layers of mud need to go up (and if two, does it require drying overnight between layers?) I've heard mixed things on things and trying to set expectations with how much the handyman will be needed.
2. After mudding (either 1 or 2 layers), is sanding the next step? And is the goal of this just to make sure everything is perfectly flat/even? I'm wondering if I can do this step on my own as my handyman isn't available to come back for a few days after tomorrow and I'd like to make progress. Is this a step that a newbie who has zero drywall experience can handle?
3. Once sanded, can it be primed right away? Will there be a lot of dust that should be vacuumed/wiped off the drywall before priming?
4. Does new drywall require prime? and if so, is 1 coat enough?

Thank you!!
 
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Old 12-10-16, 02:26 AM
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1. Mudding is a multiple step process that could take days. Yes overnight drying is required. One way to tell is to hold the back of your hand to the drywall mud. If it is cold it is wet.
2. Your initial mudding step was to put on the tape with a narrow knife keeping the mud withing the confines of the factory taper. Subsequent mudding will be with wider knives each time. I use a 6" knife initiallly, then a 9" knife, and finally a 12" knife. If you put the layers on thinly enough there will be minimal (if any) sanding between coats. You can also thin your mud slightly for your final coats. Sanding the edges of your mud application is probably the most important step. It must blend in with the drywall well.
3. You should wipe down the drywall with a damp sponge or cloth to remove mud dust before priming.
4. Drywall will absolutely require priming. Not priming it will leave dry looking swaths that will never paint well.
 
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Old 12-10-16, 03:08 AM
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Did you use paper tape [embedded in j/c] or the mesh 'sticky' tape? The latter requires a setting compound to be used over it to 'lock' it down.

Regular joint compound often takes overnight to dry although that is dependent on temps/humidity. It dries by evaporation. Setting compounds dry chemically and have different set times [shown on the label] Using a setting compound [like Durabond or EasySand] can allow you to apply multiple coats in one day. Generally only the final coat of mud needs sanding but you need to pay attention so you don't sand into the tape or fuzz up the drywall that doesn't have mud on it.

1 coat of primer is sufficient, as long as it's all coated it doesn't matter if some of the coverage is see through.
 
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Old 12-10-16, 09:24 AM
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Thank you, that's very helpful!

The tape I used is just paper tape - no adhesive on it (and it's not mesh).

One more question on the drying time...is overnight enough between mudding layers or does it need to be 24 hours? (i.e. if I finish the first layer tonight around 6 or 7, is it ok to start the 2nd layer tomorrow morning?). I will try the cold to the touch test! Will putting fans in the room help speed up the drying process?
 
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Old 12-10-16, 12:34 PM
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Assuming you are using the premixed joint compound you can tell by looking at it. It will be dark or grey in color while it's wet or drying, once dry it will be white. Usually overnight is fine but low temps, high humidity and even lack of air circulation can slow down the drying time.

Just to be clear - the tape you use was embedded in a thin layer of joint compound, correct?
 
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Old 12-10-16, 06:56 PM
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Right! I used a banjo to apply the tape so it had a thin layer of mud applied to the tape when I put it on. Then the handyman came today and applied additional mud on top of the tape.

I noticed today that there are a couple small spots where the tape is bubbling - spots that appear to not have consistent mud behind them. Will these cause a problem? And if so, how do I address it before adding more mud?
 
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Old 12-10-16, 07:21 PM
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Tape bubbles wherever there was a dry void behind the tape. It bubbles when it is wetted by the next layer. Those areas need to be cut out with a utility knife. Just cut out the bubble.

Yes, heat and fans will help it dry faster.
 
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Old 12-11-16, 02:08 AM
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Tthe mesh 'sticky' tape? The latter requires a setting compound to be used over it to 'lock' it down.

I've heard that quick dry compounds should be used with mesh tape but have used any and all compounds based on the application at hand, the type of compound used is irrelevant.

You should wipe down the drywall with a damp sponge or cloth to remove mud dust before priming.

Unless you have LARGE piles of dust nothing is needed, it will embed in the primer.

Drywall will absolutely require priming. Not priming it will leave dry looking swaths that will never paint well.

Quality paint finishes require 2 coats, you will use significantly less paint (which is more expensive) plus the surface finish will have a better texture.

Don't use the cheap no brand PVA primers, like paint, you get what you pay for!
 
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Old 12-11-16, 03:31 AM
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I've seen too many failures when regular ready mix j/c is applied over sticky tape! Setting compounds help but I still prefer the paper tape!

While you don't need to remove all the sanding dust it is not a good idea to just prime over it. While I think using a damp sponge or vacuum is overkill, I always take a broom and just brush off the dust. If you spray the primer over the dust - the primer may not adhere to the wall! While brush and roller will somewhat mix the dust into the primer it often results in a rougher finish.

As X stated, any bubbles in the tape need to be cut out. Just adding mud over top of the bubble will just compound the issue [pun intended ] Depending on how much tape gets cut out you may or may not need to add a little piece of tape.
 
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Old 12-11-16, 04:44 PM
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So we have differing advice from Marq and Mark. I have to tell you, based on the years I've been watching what he posts, I will take Mark every time.

The compound doesn't matter with mesh tape? Cleaning the dust off the wall isn't important? Wow, I'm sorry, but these both sound like the wrong way to get a good job to me.
 

Last edited by stickshift; 12-11-16 at 07:00 PM.
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Old 12-11-16, 06:38 PM
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Marq has only been with us since Sep so I am sure you meant Marksr.
 
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Old 12-11-16, 07:00 PM
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Thanks for pointing out my typo, Larry, my post makes a lot more sense when it actually says what I mean.
 
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Old 12-15-16, 03:31 PM
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Thanks for all the advice everyone! I had a bit of a delay but I cut out all the tape bubbles - they were small and not a ton of them so I didn't add any more tape. I added more compound where they were. And I did a bit of sanding in the rough areas but there wasn't a lot to do. Overall things look good so my question now is how do you tell when you're done with the drywall mud process? To me it looks decent...no bumps or dents that I can see of any sort but are there tips to knowing what to look for? It seems hard to tell until the primer/paint is on and I don't want to be surprised ...
 
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Old 12-15-16, 03:35 PM
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How many coats of mud did you apply? 3 coats, each coat wider than the previous is the norm. Viewing the wall from an angle with good lighting often reveals problem areas. You could also take a straightedge and put it over the joint to see how it fares, a 4' level works well for that.
 
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Old 12-15-16, 03:36 PM
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Get a good flashlight and shine it parallel to the wall against it. It will show most of the boogers. Just don't be dismayed as it will show more than you want. As long as it is smooth and the edges are non existent, you will be good. Now, on to priming and painting.
 
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Old 12-15-16, 03:57 PM
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I use a clip on "poultry brood" type of light with a 300 watt bulb. Believe me, you won't miss anything when you shine that baby on the wall.

If you have a 12" knife, hold it over your joint so the handle is perpendicular to the wall. If it appears that the joint has a crown on it, you added too much mud, and should either sand it down, or feather mud on each side of the crown with a 10" knife. The same goes for your butt joints, but you usually want to feather each side of the butt joints with a 12" knife. I finish outside corners with an 8" knife and inside corners with a 6" knife. (everybody is probably different in the knife they choose) Hold your knife perpendicular to the wall and if you can see light between the wall and the blade, you probably need to add more mud. Joint compound shrinks slightly as it dries, so you need to make sure you have all the joints full.
 
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