Using a Drywall Sander

Installing drywall without a drywall sander can add unnecessary work to your construction project. Some novice drywall installers hesitate to use these sanders because they are unsure how to use them. If this applies to you, refer to the information below.

Things you'll need

  • Drywall sander
  • Dust mask
  • Goggles
  • Precut 150 grit sandpaper
  • Sanding sponge
  • Marker

Step 1 – Preparing to Sand

The fine dust created by sanding drywall can not only be uncomfortable to the installer, but it can be a health hazard. Be sure that before you begin sanding you wear a 2-strap dust mask, a pair of goggles, and a hat. Check the sandpaper you'll be using on your sander to be sure it’s the right grit and the right size. 

Step 2 - Loading Your Sander

Load your sander with 150 grit sandpaper. You may think your sanding will go faster if you use 80 grit sandpaper, but keep in mind that this coarse grit is sure to leave scratches on your wall surface. Attach the edge of the sandpaper under the sander's top paper clamp. When you are sure the sandpaper edges are aligned evenly with the edges of the sander, close the clamp to secure the sandpaper. Pull the sandpaper downward, using enough pressure so that the sandpaper is tight. Insert the bottom edge of the paper into the lower clamp of the sander, then, close the clamp.

Step 3 - Sanding Edges

Avoid sanding edges with your sander, especially those on electrical boxes. Edges can not only damage your sander's sandpaper, but some of the drywall paper facing can become lodged under the sander. Also, the sander could tear the paper loose from the drywall, which would necessitate the wall having to be re-installed and re-sanded.

Step 4– Sanding Grooves and Ridges

When coming to grooves and gouges, avoid trying to remove them by sanding. Instead, fill these voids by using a trowel to add another drywall mud coat. At joint edges, especially, too much sanding is likely to tear or wear down your sandpaper. Simply apply a thin mud boat to the seam edge.

Step 5 – Locating and Fixing Depressions

After sanding your total surface, check for depressions such as grooves, pits, and other depressions by running your hand over the wall surface. Make a final and more complete check by holding a light near the surface. Any depressions will show up as dark, shadowy spots. Mark these places, then go back to them with your trowel and mud and fill them. When they are dry, sand them with your sander.

Step 6 – Sanding After Applying Primer

Sanding your walls after your primer has dried is a step that many novices overlook. But if you want a professional looking surface, free of lumps and fuzz that will show up after the walls are painted, use your sander to lightly sand the primed surfaces before they are painted. Once these spots receive a touch up with paint and have dried, they may need another light sanding.