7 Drywall Sanding Tips

Drywall sanding can be messy, frustrating, and time consuming. But it is one of the most important steps in making your walls look their best. These tips will help you to tackle the job with confidence.

Choose the Right Tool for the Job

The main tool used is a hand sander. Attach precut sandpaper cut to fit your sander. A finer grit sandpaper will produce a smoother finish. You can also use drywall screen which allows the drywall dust to fall down instead of collecting on the sandpaper, but using a screen does it make it more difficult to get smooth finish.

Use a Pole Sander

A pole sander can be helpful for high walls and large areas. You can use the pole sander in long, lengthwise strokes or short sideways strokes. Keep the sanding head angled slightly. Avoid getting the sanding head at a right angle to the pole because it can flip over and mar the surface.

Try a Sanding Sponge for Corners

A sanding sponge does a better job than a hand sander in corners. It is less likely to gouge the opposite wall as sometimes happens with the edge of a hand sander. You can also use a folded piece of drywall sanding paper.

Practice Good Techniques

Be sure the mud is thoroughly dry before you start to sand. Sand lightly, using moderate to light pressure. Move the sander around as you sand. Avoid sanding in a straight line that can show up as a depression when you paint. Rather than trying to sand out gouges and big ridges, apply another layer of joint compound with your trowel. It's easier and you can damage the face paper of the drywall by excessive sanding, especially at the edge of the joints.

Don’t Skip the Final Inspection

When you think you are finished be sure to check all walls, joints and corners. Use a flash light at different angles to catch any areas that need touch ups. Mark these with a pencil. Use a sanding sponge to correct any small imperfections. If you find deep gouges or scratches then it is best to recoat them, let the compound dry and resand them.

Minimize the Dust   

  • Place plastic drop cloths over all door and ventilation ducts to keep the dust contained so it doesn’t spread to the rest of the house. Protect yourself from drywall dust by using eye protection and a mask with a ventilation.
  • Try wet-sanding with a sponge. Rub over the joints to smooth them out in areas that don’t need a lot of sanding. This will eliminate some of the mess you get with dry sanding. A sponge is also good around electrical boxes and other openings.
  • Consider renting a dust-catching sanding system. You can also purchase a sanding system that attaches to a shop vacuum.
  • Once you are finished sanding vacuum the whole area being sure not to miss wall openings and ledges..

Make It Safe

Drywall dust is easily breathed into your lungs. Protect yourself by wearing a mask with ventilation. Also wear eye protection.